Writing a Task 1 Introduction

This is the first in a series of articles to introduce you to Task 1 Writing – IELTS.

Wherever you start – a complete beginner in IELTS or someone close to taking your test – you will find something here that will improve your writing skills. The material provided here is the result of over 10 years experience in teaching IELTS. Work through each section in order.

Writing Task 1 – PART ONE

Writing an Introduction

Although you might think that bar charts, line charts and tables look very different from one another, they all present information in a similar way. Indeed, it is often possible to display exactly the same information using all three types of chart. The main differences you are likely to see are because some charts have a time period and others do not. Realising these similarities will help you to develop your speed when writing the introduction, the general statement, and when analysing the diagram.

Diagrams with a time period

A typical Task 1 statement looks like this:


You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

The diagram below shows time spent watching TV, by age and gender, in the UK in 1995 and 1999.

Summarise the information byselecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.

Write at least 150 words.

It tells you the recommended amount of time needed to write the essay, 20 minutes, and that you need to write at least 150 words. It also gives you the Task 1 statement, or introduction sentence, and instructions on writing the main facts.

Many students rewrite the Task 1 statement by replacing a few words with synonyms but fail to add extra information to the sentence. This often results in an introduction that has copied too much of the original sentence and lacks detail.

By studying both the diagram and the Task 1 statement, it is always possible to write a more detailed introduction than the original. Before writing your introduction, always look for the following six pieces of information, type of chart, what is being measured, units, categories, years, time period. This will not only help you to analyse the diagram but also add extra information to your introduction. You might notice that some of these items may already have been listed in the Task 1 statement. If this happens, simply collect the remaining data from the diagram.

The golden rule for Task 1 is not to include opinions for any part of the essay. Never put in your opinions about the diagram and the information it contains. If you add your ideas, for example,  about why you think certain changes have happened, you will almost certainly get a lower grade.

Look at Example A, and complete the table by adding the extra six pieces of information.


You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.        

        The diagram below shows information about student attendance in various schools.

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

 Write at least 150 words.

"Writing Task 1 Introdictions"


Extra Information

1          type of chart
2          what is being measured
3          units
4          categories
5          years
6          time period


If you have done this correctly you should end up with something like this:



Extra Information

1          type of chart               bar chart
2          what is being measured               number of students
3          units               1 = one student
4          categories               four schools
5          years               2001 to 2007
6          time period               seven years

Now look carefully at Example B, collect the 6 pieces of information, and then complete the table.



1 type of chart
2 what is being measured
3 units
4 categories
5 years
6 time period

By adding this information, you can then start to rewrite the introduction. This will help you to change the original introduction from:

The diagram below shows information about the quarterly revenue of several technology companies from 2004 to 2006

Can you now, by using the extra information you have put into the box, write a better introduction?

See an example of how this can be done when Part 2 is posted ….. soon


From a single letter does a book begin

My three passions in life are teaching IELTS, writing and publishing. I hope that through this website I offer these opportunities to everyone who needs help.

Welcome to IELTS Plus

Welcome to IELTS Plus,

Although there are many excellent IELTS websites now online, I decided to develop this blog for:

1.  students studying IELTS

2.  students who have been accepted by their university, have achieved their target grade but are waiting to start

3.  students struggling to cope with a more academic approach to learning at university

As an experienced IELTS teacher (over 20 years teaching in Asia and Europe), trained IELTS examiner,  and English for Academic Purposes (EAP) lecturer at Birmingham University. England for three consecutive summers, I have many useful tips to guide you through your studies.

I have also written several IELTS books and will be sharing useful exercises and examples from them with you.

Please feel free to add your comments and ask questions.

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