IELTS Writing task 1: Line graph and model answer

Academic Writing task 1 : C02 Emissions line graph

Line graphs are very common in IELTS academic task 1 writing. In this lesson we will look at a Model Answer and an analysis.

This line graph comes form Cambridge IELTS 11 academic…you can find this book on Amazon. Use only official IELTS material when doing practice tests, there is a lot of fake IELTS material out there on the web.

line graphSource: Cambridge IELTS 11 Academic.

If you need to see a lesson on the grammar used in this type of task, click here


Model Answer

The graph illustrates the average output of carbon dioxide in metric tonnes for each individual in four European countries over a forty year period from 1967 to 2007.

Overall, the United Kingdom and Sweden, which initially showed a high C02 output, saw a decline in emissions throughout the period. Conversely, Italy and Portugal, which started with relatively low emissions, witnessed big increases by the end of the period.

In 1967 the UK had the highest amount of carbon emissions at 11 metric tonnes per person, however, throughout the whole period there was a steady decline in C02 output ending at around 9 metric tonnes for each individual. Swedens output started at around 9 metric tonnes, rose to a peak of around 11 tonnes in 1977, then saw a sharp decline to approximately half of that by 2007.

In contrast, Portugal in 1967 had the lowest output at just over 1 tonne per person. Over the next 40 years, this increased sharply, ending at over 5 metric tonnes. Italy demonstrated a similar pattern, beginning at 4 metric tonnes and ending at nearly 8 tonnes of CO2 for each person by 2007.

 

187 words


Analysis

The model answer is 187 words which is fine. I have seen many task 1 reports with over 200 words which I think is far too long, remember that you only have 20 minutes to write this. For task 1 academic it’s a good idea to aim for about 160 – 190 words to cover the task well. Do not go below the minimum which is 150 words. By the way, you don’t get a higher band score for writing more words.

It is important to understand how the task is marked to give the examiner what they need for a higher band score.

Writing Task 1 is marked on 4 criteria:

  • Task Achievement (accurately write about the information presented)
  • Coherence and Cohesion (easy to understand, clear and logical)
  • Grammatical range and accuracy (using the correct grammar to describe the trends, numbers, comparisons)
  • Lexical Resource ( accurate clear vocabulary that is relevant to the task, good paraphrasing skills)

Grouping the information

You need to spend at least 3 or 4 minutes analysing the task and planning where to put the information, grouping the information is crucial for a coherent logical response and a good Band score.

writing task 1 ielts focus

The Introduction

I have paraphrased the task question which is very important in this kind of task. You can use synonyms or you can change the grammatical structure of the sentences so that it retains the same meaning. Paraphrasing is not just about synonyms, you can restructure the grammar, this is a very important skill to practice.

‘The graph illustrates the average output of carbon dioxide in metric tonnes for each individual in four European countries over a forty year period from 1967 to 2007.’

  • shows = illustrates
  • average carbon dioxide emissions = the average output of carbon dioxide
  • per person = for each individual
  • over a forty year period

I didn’t paraphrase the word ‘graph’ because a graph is always a graph, you can’t really paraphrase this word. I also wrote ‘in four European countries’ instead of repeating the countries names.

 

The Overview

The overview is also an important feature in task 1 academic and your report must have one. The overview should not include any numbers, statistics or dates. Leave those details for the body paragraphs. You will need to look at the main trends of the graph and write briefly about those. Pick out two main trends and give a summary.

‘Overall, the United Kingdom and Sweden, which initially showed a high C02 output, saw a decline in emissions throughout the period. Conversely, Italy and Portugal, which started with relatively low emissions, witnessed large increases by the end of the period.’

I start with the word ‘Overall’ this is a good way to introduce the overview. I have picked out the two main trends here which are:

  • The UK and Sweden = started high ended much lower.
  • Italy and Portugal = started low ended much higher.

Key vocabulary:

  • initially showed
  • saw a decline
  • throughout the period
  • conversely (shows contrast)
  • relatively low
  • witnessed large increases
  • by the end of the period

I do not recommend writing a conclusion in writing task 1 academic. Never include an opinion, you must write factually.

 

Body Paragraphs

Now we can write in more detail about the graph and the trends. Also remember to be selective and do not write about everything in the graph. Grouping the information is very important in this part of the task. Take the 2 main trends and separate them into 2 body paragraphs as below

In 1967 the UK had the highest amount of carbon emissions at 11 metric tonnes per person, however, throughout the whole period there was a steady decline in C02 output ending at around 9 metric tonnes for each individual. Sweden’s output started at around 9 metric tonnes, rose to a peak of around 11 tonnes in 1977, then saw a sharp decline to approximately half of that by 2007.’

In this body paragraph I wrote about the 2 highest C02 outputs, which are The UK and Sweden, and described how they declined in the 40 year period. I added more detail and numbers here, notice how I have used prepositions also (at, around, over, to, by)

Key vocabulary:

  • the highest amount
  • steady decline
  • rose to a peak
  • output = emissions
  • a sharp decline
  • each individual = per person

In the next paragraph I have written about the 2 lowest C02 outputs, which are Italy and Portugal, and described how they increased in the 40 year time-frame.

In contrast Portugal in 1967 had the lowest output at just over 1 tonne per person. Over the next 40 years, this increased sharply, ending at over 5 metric tonnes. Italy demonstrated a similar pattern, beginning at 4 metric tonnes and ending at nearly 8 tonnes of CO2 for each person by 2007.’

Key vocabulary:

  • In contrast (shows contrast)
  • the lowest (superlative)
  • just over
  • increased sharply
  • ending at
  • demonstrated a similar pattern
  • beginning at ….ending at

Using the language of comparisons is useful in this kind of task, make sure you know how to use comparatives and superlatives, especially if you get a graph or bar chart with 2 or 3 trends.

It is not necessary to write a conclusion for writing task 1 academic. In fact you could lose points if you do this. To see a lesson on adverbs and trends when writing about line graphs click on this link here, there is also an exercise on using prepositions in the lesson.

Any questions?  post a comment below


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