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Academic Task 1
Let’s take a close look at Academic Task 1. This is only for students taking the Academic IELTS exam. Okay, so a quick reminder about what to expect for Task 1 on the Academic IELTS. So you’re going to write a response in 20 minutes. It’s gotta be 20 minutes or less. You really need to save the rest of your time for Task 2.
Your response should be at least 150 words. As you’re practicing, try to get more than 150, 175, 200, maybe 225. You don’t want to be close to the minimum every time, because your score’s going to drop if you happen to go below that 150. What you’re going to do in Task 1 is, you’re going to describe the most important features of a visual that they give you.
Usually the visual is a chart or a graph. It could be a map or some type of diagram as well. They use many different kinds of visuals, but what you will do is to write a report about what you see. Sometimes they give you two visuals to compare or comment on. Your job in this section is to follow the directions closely and summarize the contents of the visual exam.
You just need to report the most important features of the visual and that’s it. You don’t need to comment on it or provide an opinion about it, in fact, you should not do that. You just write a report about the information you see. Okay, so Task 1 is very, very predictable. You should use the same strategy and structure every time you write a Task 1 response.
Because it will have the same outline, no matter what your visual is that you’re looking at. Paragraph 1 of your report will just simply introduce the visual every single time. Paragraph 2 will describe the most important features of the visual. This section is really the most important part of your Task 1 response.
Paragraph 3 and Paragraph 4, you analyze a single important feature, okay? So each paragraph has an analysis of one feature of the visual that you have. In this lesson, we’re going to go through each of these 4 paragraphs and I’ll provide examples and tips about how to write each one. And we’re going to use this sample question in order to practice writing a Task 1 response.
What I want you to do right now is pause the video and read over the directions and look at the chart for this question. Go ahead and pause your video. Okay, so you’ve read over the directions and the chart. Notice how, in the box, we have information about the chart, okay? It tells us what’s happening on the chart, that we’re looking at average sales between two companies over a 5 week period.
Very important information letting us know what this chart is about. Then it gives us, below that, what we’re supposed to do and this will be basically the same directions on every Task 1. You just need to summarize the information. Select and report the main features, and if relevant, make comparisons. Okay, it will be relevant to make comparisons between these two companies, so we will do that.
All right, so lets talk about each of these sections and how to do well. So for your first paragraph where you introduce the visual, you’ll need to write 1 to 3 sentences. Usually 2 or 3 sentences is about the right length. What you need to try to do is describe the purpose of the visual. You just need to say what this visual is trying to show.
You also need to describe how the visual presents information. And I’ll show you an example of that in a moment. What you should avoid doing is using the same language as the prompt. So even though you’re going to get most of your information that you will use from the directions. And from language on the chart for this first paragraph in your report.
You need to put it all in your own words. Okay, so the key thing, and this is true basically everywhere on the IELTS exam, is that you need to paraphrase. All right, so let’s take a look at our sample question. Here is the key information that we have about this chart, okay? We also have key information here.
And even though it describes it up above, this is important information as well. The days of the week, that we’re talking about Australian dollars. And that what this chart is trying to do is show us average sales over a 5 week period, between these two companies on each day, okay. This gives us all we need to say for part Paragraph 1 of your report. So let’s look at an example.
Here I’ve written sample Paragraph 1 for you to look at. It says, the chart presents the average revenue collected by the Australian corporations, A Corp and B Corp, on each weekday. The average sales numbers, represented in Australian dollars, have been calculated using 5 weeks of earnings data. Okay, now what I want you to notice is that these words in blue are my attempts to paraphrase the language from the chart and from the directions.
Notice that not 100% of the language is different, right. It’s hard to find a different word for average, right, so we use that here below. But instead of saying sales, we say revenue. Instead of saying companies, we say corporations, okay. Averaged sales numbers is a different way, okay, of saying average sales. Earnings data, another way of describing what these companies earned.
Okay, all of these things are new ways of saying the information that was presented in the directions. Notice, also, that the sentence structures are different in the example paragraph and in the directions. So your goal is to take the information provided to you in the directions and on the chart that just represents the information about what this visual is trying to show.
And you put it in your own words in two or three sentences. Then, after you have just provided that basic information about what the chart shows, then you need to describe some of its important features. For this second paragraph, you’re supposed to write 2 to 4 sentences. And you just want to focus on the main features of the visual. So now you’re not using anything from the directions and the description from the directions.
You’re looking at the visual and trying to describe what are some of the main features on this visual? You have to make choices in this part, too, what’s important, what’s interesting? Okay, so you ask yourself, what information stands out to me most? Is there a trend that I’m looking at? Is there something that happens over time?
Is there a process that goes from beginning to end? Are there themes in the information? These are questions you should ask yourself as you’re looking at the visual. In this paragraph, you’re not going to report specific detailed information numbers, figures or percentages, things like that. You can save those for the next paragraphs.
In this, you’re just trying to report some of the most important features of the visual that you’re looking at. So let’s look at our visual again. So as we focus on the visual itself, what stands out to you? What do you notice right away and what would be the most important feature you would want to report about?
Well to me, I would want to take a look at this earnings data. And just very quickly try to figure out which company did better than the other company over this period? And I think you could really quickly, you wouldn’t have to add up the exact numbers. You would see pretty quickly that A Corp did a little better than B Corp over this 5 week period, right?
Another main feature is that I notice during the middle of the week, A Corp does much better than B Corp. Interestingly, B Corp does better than A Corp on Mondays and Fridays only, okay? Another thing that really jumps out to me is that for some reason B Corp, on Tuesdays, does very, very poorly. Okay, now remember, we don’t need to report very specific information here.
What we need to do in Paragraph 2 is just discuss these general features that seem to be the most important part of this visual. So here is one attempt to report on those features we just discussed. Go ahead and pause your video and read through this paragraph. Okay, so you’ve read the paragraph. You notice that we did not mention specific numbers.
We just reported, in our own words, the most important features of that visual. Then, at the end of your report, this is where you can mention some interesting specifics that you notice in the visual. So what you should do for each of these paragraphs, so each Paragraph 3 and 4, should have one important feature that you’re focusing on. And that you describe that feature in detail.
So you use specific data to tell that story. My advice is to find an angle. An angle is a perspective on the data that is interesting to you. I think for our example visual that we have in this lesson, one way you could get an angle would be to look at the most successful days for each company. And the least successful days for each company, and that could be my angle.
And what I would do is go back to the report and find some detailed specific numbers to report about for those angles that I am taking in each paragraph. For each of these paragraphs, you should write 3 or 4 sentences, as much as you can to get enough information in there. All right, so looking back at our chart, we can see easily the least successful days and the most successful days for both companies, right?
We just have to go back and get those specific numbers, so we have to really focus on the numbers here, the dollar amounts. And make sure that we’re collecting the correct information about the dollar amounts that each company earned. For my third paragraph, where I’m focusing on the most successful days, this could be an example paragraph.
Again, go ahead and pause your video and read through this paragraph. Okay, you notice that we have detailed specific numbers that we pull off the chart to report these most successful days. And that’s what we will do for the least successful days. Obviously, B Corp’s least successful days are here, but we’ll also have to report about A Corp’s least successful days.
As we see Friday was fairly unsuccessful for both companies, compared to what they did on the other days of the week. Okay, so we could write our least successful days paragraph here, and go ahead and read through that and pause your video one last time. Okay, so you’ve read through, again, we use specific numbers to support our angle that we take for this paragraph.
I’ve included this full essay in the comment section below for you to look at. You can copy and paste and print it, if you’d helps you to look at it on paper. But this is a good example of a Task 1 report for the academic writing section.
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