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Common Task 1 Types

On the IELTS exam, there are various question types you could be asked on Task 1. However, there are only so many types of questions you can get and some are more common than others. Here's a list of the types of questions you could have on Task 1 and some strategies to deal with the different question types.

Line Graphs

Line graphs commonly occur in Task 1 on the IELTS exam. The topics vary and there may be one or multiple lines, representing various types of information, over different periods of time.

Example:

The graph below shows the population of India and China since the year 2000 and predicts population growth until 2050.

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


Population growth in India and China

Bar Charts

Bar charts or bar graphs are another common Task 1 question type. Again, there could be one topic or multiple topics all on one chart. The chart could also be vertical or horizontal.

Example:
The charts represent the weight measurements of people living in Charlestown in 1955 and 2015. Summarize the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.

Pie Charts

Pie charts don't happen as often as line graphs and bar charts, but are sometimes a question type in Task 1 on the IELTS exam.

Example:
The charts below show the reasons why people travel to work by bicycle or by car. Summarize the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.

Tables

Tables are also a possible Task 1 question on the IELTS exam. Again, there can be various topics included in one table.

Example:

The table below gives information about languages with the most native speakers. Summarize the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.

Process

Processes do not occur as often on the test, but they do appear as a Task 1 question. There can be a wide range of processes, such as how machines work or how food is processed.

Example:

The diagrams show a structure that is used to generate electricity from wave power.

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

Maps

Just like the process diagrams, maps don’t occur very often as a Task 1, but they do appear from time to time. The maps are usually of cities and towns which have developed over a period of time.

Example:

The diagrams below show the changes that have taken place at Queen Mary Hospital since its construction in 1960.

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

Combinations

The combination of different task types such as a graph and a pie chart, or a table and a bar graph, happens quite often on the IELTS exam. Although they happen often, you should know how to write each task type individually, and then you'll be able to combine them more easily

Example:

The diagrams below give information on transport and car use in Edmonton.

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


People’s reasons for using the car in city

Commute to work 55%
Shopping 15%
Leisure activities 15%
Taking children to school 40%
Business  45%

Development

The task of writing about a development only happens once in awhile but is still a possibility. This task can be similar to the process and map questions that can also occur on the IELTS exam.

Example:

The diagram below gives information on the evolution of the horse. Summarize the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.


Strategies

Now that you're more aware of the types of Task 1 questions you may encounter, here are some strategies for writing about any of these types of Task 1 questions on the IELTS exam.


Know specific vocabulary for the task

For task types such as line graphs, bar charts, and pie charts, try to use specific language such as adjective-noun and verb-adverb combinations. This vocabulary works for chronological graphs and charts. Comparatives and superlatives work well for graphs and charts that compare data. With tasks such as processes, maps, and developments, try to use specific language to the topic. This may be language you already know or the vocabulary that is used in the diagram. Using the proper language to describe how you think the process works is more important than knowing exactly how the process works.

Know tense and voice

Make sure to write in the correct tense. Look at the period of time indicated if there is one, and decide if it's in the past, present, future, or if there is no time period. If the latter example is the case, use the present tense. For future, or predicted information, there is also special language used.

When doing task types such as graphs, charts, and tables, use the active voice. When doing task types such as processes, maps, and developments, use the passive voice. Making this distinction can mean a higher overall band score.

Take time to analyze before writing

Make sure to look at the task type and think about what you are going to write before you put pencil to paper. Say it to yourself and decide if it makes sense. If it doesn't, don't write it down. Try to say it to yourself clearly before you write it down. If it's clear to you, it may be easier to understand from the examiner’s standpoint.

By Ashlee Hunter

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