Writing task 1: line graph model answer IELTS 17

Model answer: line graph about shop openings and closures.

This task was taken from the IELTS 17 academic book from Cambridge and shows a typical line graph with dynamic data over an 8-year period. It’s in the past so I will use the past tense. I mentioned the sharp drop in 2015 in the overview as this is something that really stands out. Usually, I don’t mention specific details (years) in the overview though.

Spend a few minutes analysing the task before you write anything. Make sure your reporting on the statistics are accurate because if there are errors this will lower your score. A good concise overview is also very important if you want a band 7 or more.

The Task

IELTS 17 line graph shop closures

Source: Cambridge IELTS 17 Academic

Model Answer

The chart illustrates the proportion of shops that closed and new shops that opened over an eight-year timeframe in a particular country. 

Overall there are fluctuations in the data. Shop openings were highest at the start but the figures for shops closing were generally higher, except in 2015 when closures fell sharply and then recovered to regain the highest figure by the end of the timeframe.

Looking at openings, in 2011 these represented around 8,500, which was the highest figure in the whole timeframe. By 2012, this fell significantly to 4,000 openings. The figure climbed again by 2014 to comprise just over 6,000 new shops, which was the same as shop closures. After another decline, it levelled off at 4,000 from 2015 to 2017. Finally, by 2018, it dipped again accounting for 3,000 new shops.

Regarding closures, in 2011 these amounted to approximately 6,500, decreased to around 6,000 by 2012, and then rose to just over 7,000 by 2013. Following this, closures declined again, and by 2015 the figure plummeted to around 500. Subsequently, by 2016 closures jumped significantly to around 5,000, where they remained relatively consistent until 2018 (slightly over 5,000).

190 words 


Although it’s quite long at 190 words,  it’s still concise and logically covers the main data and trends. I usually advise a shorter answer at around 160 to 180 words due to time constraints in the exam.

See the links below for useful grammar and vocabulary in IELTS academic writing task 1.

IELTS writing task 1: Language for describing trends

Writing task 1 academic vocabulary

IELTS writing task 1: using prepositions accurately

Leave a comment below if you have any questions.

3 thoughts on “Writing task 1: line graph model answer IELTS 17”

  1. Hello there

    Hello there

    Im wondering what the difference between BY and IN in front of year. I know we can use IN when it really happens in that year exactly and By means either before or at some point in that year. I have no idea when it is applied in line graphs.

    • By in this case means ‘at that point in time in the future’…such as, by 2026 car imports are expected to decrease.


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