Did you know that Writing is the most challenging part for most IELTS test-takers?

Without proper strategies and basic knowledge, it is quite difficult to achieve your desired band score in the IELTS writing section. Throughout the following posts, we will explore everything about IELTS writing, from what is required for each writing task, question type, and paragraph to how to write your responses properly.

IELTS Academic Writing Tasks

There are two sections in the writing part, Task 1 and Task 2.

The whole writing test is exactly one hour long. Although there is no time limit for each individual task, you must complete both of them within the given time. However, it is strongly recommended that you spend less than 20 minutes on Task 1 as Task 2 is more important; it is worth two thirds of your total writing band score.

In Task 2, candidates must write an essay using a well-established structure —  an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. On the other hand, the structure used in Task 1 responses could be quite unfamiliar to you. That is why a vast majority of candidates end up writing something completely unrelated to the question and receiving a lower band than they may deserve. Just by understanding what is expected of you in each writing question type and paragraph of Task 1, your writing band score will improve dramatically.

Before we dive into details, there are three things you MUST NOT DO while writing a Task 1 response.


Academic Writing Task 1 tests your ability to analyze charts and report the given statistics. If you provide any irrelevant information, you will be marked down.

Overall structure of a Task 1 response

In fact, there are no concrete structures for IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 because this type of essay is not commonly found in regular academic writing. Yet, it is always good to provide your answer using a clear structure so that the examiner can identify essential features easily. The ideal structure for a chart description contains 1) an introduction, 2) an overview, and 3) two body paragraphs with  detailed information.

The Introduction

The introduction is the first paragraph, which introduces the chart or charts in Task 1. Here, you need to paraphrase the chart description given in the question. However, what you should never do is copy the exact phrase from the question.

Let’s take a look at the question below:

IELTS Writing Task 1 Example

You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

The chart below shows the time needed (in years) to close the following global gender gaps based on the trends in 2020 and 2021.

Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.

First of all, what will happen if you simply copy the sentence? There is no deduction for copying it, but the sentence will not be counted towards your total word count. It does not sound a big deal, but you will be given a lower band if your total word count does not meet the minimum requirement of 150 words. It is fine if just one or two words are borrowed, though.

Simple tactics when writing an introduction

1. Change the verbs.

Please remember that you do not need a fancy verb, such as present or indicate. Actually, *they are the wrong verbs for an introductory sentence. Just switch ‘show’ to ‘give information about’, and vice versa.

*Suggested book read: Common Mistakes in IELTS Intermediate

2. Use number units.

Numbers are provided with units, like percentages, kilograms and so on. In this question, it is years.

3. Specify the categories if possible.

In this chart, there are three different areas with gender gaps in addition to the overall figures. Refer to specific gaps to keep your answer as clear as possible.

Useful synonyms for your introduction:

  • the time needed to close the gap” → the amount of time required to close the gap , the number of years to close the gap , how long it was expected to take to close the gap , how many years it was thought to take to close the gap
  • close global gender gaps” → reduce gender inequality, achieve gender equality in the world, eliminate gender inequality worldwide
  • based on the trends” → taking the developments into account
  • in 2020 and 2021” → in the years 2020 and 2021, in two different years, 2020 and 2021

Introduction Structure Example

Let’s put them together. When you write your introduction, follow this simple structure:

The first few words are easy to rephrase, but the rest of the information is not. The most helpful thing is to keep practicing and learning more useful vocabulary by heart.

I will provide two more charts to practice with some helpful phrases. Write your own introductions and leave them in the comments. I will give feedback on a few select comments in the next post.



You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

The graph below gives information about the percentage of employees who had access to work from home benefits in the United States from 2011 to 2020.

Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.

Vocabulary suggestions:

  • the percentage of employees ” → the proportion of employees , figure for employees
  • employees with access to work from home benefits” → employees who were given the option to work from home, workers who were allowed to work remotely
  • from 2011 to 2020” → between 2011 and 2020


You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

The chart shows the percentage of economic output lost by noncommunicable disease type in 2011.

Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.

Vocabulary suggestions:

  • economic output lost” → the cost to society, the cost to the economy
  • by noncommunicable disease type” → by five different non-infectious diseases, by five different diseases that are not infectious, by five different diseases that are not communicable


So far, we’ve covered different ways you can start your IELTS writing essay. Higher band-scoring essays will always start with a strong introduction, and we’ve shown you 3 easy ways to structure your essay.

Let us know if you have any questions or post your own introduction to the practice exercises below.

If you want to know your IELTS band score, head over to our graded IELTS Writing practice tests to find out!

▶️ Try a Free Graded IELTS Writing Test