Here is a typical IELTS part one question (from Cambridge IELTS Practice tests no 9}

IELTS Writing part one questions? WRITING TASK 1 You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

The chart below shows the total number of minutes (In billions) of telephone calls In the UK, divided into three categories, from 1995-2002.

Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant. Write at least 150 words.  

Here is how to answer it.

  1. Read the text in the box. Underline key words and phrases and think of synonyms or paraphrases. Note that some key words must be repeated to keep the same meaning.
The chart below shows the total number of minutes {in billions} of telephone calls in the U.K., divided into three categories, from 1995-2002

Now write the introduction using your synonyms and paraphrases.

The chart shows the time spent by U.K. residents on different types of telephone calls between 1995 and 2002

Next, look at the chart and imagine your reader cannot see it. What do they look like? This is your overview. It is essential for planning your response. It can be included in the introduction, used as a conclusion or form the general outline of your response.

Next, List the main features. In this case, they are as follows:

  1. Local calls highest, rises to a peak, then falls back.
  2. National and international second highest, rises steadily
  3. Mobiles third highest, rises sharply

Then, look at the categories of the data and decide how many paragraphs you need to describe the details.

In this case, three types of calls mean three paragraphs, plus the introduction and a conclusion.

Now write the paragraphs including data for the key features

Local fixed line calls were the highest throughout the period, rising from 72 billion minutes in 1995 to just under 90 billion in 1998. After peaking at 90 billion the following year, these calls had fallen back to the 1995 figure by 2002.

National and international fixed line calls grew steadily from 38 billion to 61 billion at the end of the period in question, though the growth slowed over the last two years.

There was a dramatic increase in mobile calls from 2 billion to 46 billion minutes. This rise was particularly noticeable between 1999 and 2002, during which time the use of mobile phones tripled

Finally, write your overview as a conclusion.

To sum up, although local fixed line calls were still the most popular in 2002, the gap between the three categories had narrowed considerably over the second half of the period in question.

Maximizing your band score

Note how the same concept is restated, not repeated, to ensure good cohesion (connection and flow of language} and to demonstrate your vocabulary skills.

in 1998………. the following year,

72 billion minutes………. the 1995 figure

2002………… at the end of the period in question,

Things to avoid

  1. Trying to explain the data.

Mobile phones have become an icon of the 21st century

  1. Using an inappropriate style

The number of mobile calls was going through the roof in 2002

  1. Describing the data mechanically

The number of local fixed line calls was just over 70 billion in 1995, then it rose to nearly 80 billion in 1996, then to 85 billion in 1997………….

Finally double-check any data you quote to make sure you have read it correctly. A surprising number of students mis-read the data and lose marks.,