IELTS Academic Writing Task I – Line Graphs

IELTS Academic Writing Task I – Line Graphs

The graph below shows the differences in the harvest of potatoes over three different areas. Write a report for a university lecturer describing the information shown below. Write at least 150 words.

Let’s look at how we can approach this essay.

Key Points:

Your essay must include or elaborate on one or more of the following

1. Full picture of each region across the 5-year period

2. Comparison of each year

3. Comparison of each region

4. Year of max harvest and year of min harvest

General Strategies

Write between 150 – 200 words only. Do not go below 150 and try not to go above 200

Do not merely list points. ‘production rose’ or “profits fell in this year, this year and this year” are examples of listing. Connect the points together to make a smooth flowing text. Make sure to use proper verbs like rose and fell or increased and decreased to make every sentence clear in meaning. Use proper connectors to make a cohesive report. Wherever possible, use complex sentences, but do not write longer sentences just for the sake of it. Remember sentence variety is as important as sentence complexity.

IELTS Academic Writing Task I – Line Graph
Sample Band 8 Answer:

The line graph compares the harvest of potatoes in the three regions of New South Wales (NSW), Victoria, and Queensland between 2005 and 2010.

Overall, the three regions experienced different trends. While the potato harvest in Queensland saw an overall increase, Victoria’s yield underwent sharp fluctuations but remained at the same level of yield in 2010 as in 2005. The harvest in NSW however fell over time.

New South Wales’ harvest figure stood at 20 million tonnes in 2005 and it experienced a small increase reaching around 22 million tonnes in 2006. Thereafter, it declined steadily until it fell to just over 10 million tonnes in 2010. 

By contrast, the harvests of Queensland increased. In 2005, 24 million tonnes were harvested, but by 2010, the number had steadily increased to reach 32 million tonnes, having dipped only once in 2006. 

Victoria’s harvest of approximately 28 million tonnes in 2005 rose sharply to about 40 million tonnes by 2008. The following year Victoria’s yield almost halved and it recorded its lowest ever yield at under 20 million tonnes. By 2010, owing to yet another sudden rise, the yield reached 28 million tonnes. 

Despite all the ups and downs, the average yield of the 3 regions each year has been in the range of 20 to 30 million tonnes.

 (217 words)

Let us analyze the response
The introduction

The line graph compares ………. between 2005 and 2010.

Is a detailed version of the question stem and that’s what it should be. Do not spend a lot of time coming up with a fancy introduction. “Hi, I am Steve,” is often the best introduction, so keep it simple and crisp.

The first body paragraph

Overall, the three regions …………………………………however fell over time.

The first body paragraph gives a broad overview of the trends across the three regions without getting specific. The word ‘overall’ signals that the paragraph is going to talk about the broad picture. The connector ‘while’ indicates a comparison is coming up. To avoid using the word ‘harvest’ multiple times, the word ‘yield’ has been used as a replacement. Be careful, however, to not use replacements like ‘production’ or ‘output’ as they are not appropriate in the context of crops.

The next 3 paragraphs go into detail

New South Wales’ harvest figure…….. is a paragraph about NSW’s harvest and how it kept decreasing .Note the use of the connector ‘thereafter’ instead of ‘after that’ or after which.’ Also replacements such as, ‘reaching’, ‘just over’, ‘experienced’ and ‘declined’ show a wider vocabulary range.

By contrast, the harvests of Queensland……. talks about  Queensland’s harvest and how it steadily increased. “By contrast” signals a contrasting or opposite viewpoint is about to follow. The word ‘dipped’ has been used to replace ‘declined’ or ‘fell.’

Victoria’s harvest of approximately ………. focuses on the multiple ups and downs in Victoria’s yield. Note the use of words like ‘sharply’, ‘halved’, ‘lowest ever’ and ‘at under’. 

 The last paragraph “Despite all the ups and downs….” nicely wraps up the report and gives a sense of completion. You may however leave this part out entirely. The last paragraph has 26 words and leaving it out will bring your word-count down to around 190. You will still be in the sweet spot. 

Generally Speaking

The IELTS Academic Writing Task I is the easier part of the writing section. Although it accounts for only 33% of your writing score as opposed to the essay task which carries 66%, getting a good score on Task I  substantially reduces the pressure of scoring high on Task II. You can find the official page for the IELTS Academic Writing Task I here

Anirban Bose

Anirban Bose

Anirban is an accomplished test prep teacher with multiple band 8 IELTS test scores and 99th percentile GRE test scores. He has been teaching for over fifteen years. His students have been accepted to Ivy League colleges and some of the most exclusive programs across the globe.


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