Category: IELTS Writing

IELTS Writing Task 1: Bar Chart with Sample Answer

Task 1 Question

The bar chart shows the relative electricity consumption and cost per year of various household devices.

Write a 150-word report for a university lecturer explaining the data and making comparisons where relevant.

IELTS Writing Task 1 Bar Chart

Model Answer

The bar chart compares the energy consumption and expense of operating 16 different items of household equipment. Overall, we can see significant differences in both cost and consumption.

To begin with, there are some common household items which consume relatively little energy. These include an electric blanket (approx. $10 or 100kwh/year), a microwave oven (approx. $15 or 150kwh/year) and a television (approx. $17 or 170kwh/year).

By contrast, devices that might be classified as ‘luxury’ items such as a pool pump or spa are comparatively expensive and energy-intensive, at nearly $125 or 1500kwh/year and around $190 or 2225kwh/year respectively.

It is interesting to note that even among household items normally considered alike, such as a microwave and refrigerator, there are enormous discrepancies in cost and energy use. The former uses only around $15 or 150kwh/year, while the latter consumes at least six times that amount at $90 or 1150kwh/year.

In conclusion, it appears that there is no clear pattern in the relative energy consumption of domestic equipment, although households had better be aware of the high running costs of luxury items such as a pool pump and spa.

(187 words, IELTS 8.5)

Why does this Task 1 answer get an IELTS Band 8 score?

Task achievement: The model answer presents an overall description first, followed by key supporting details that illustrate the main trend.

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Informal & Formal Vocabulary for IELTS

The informal words below are best avoided in Academic IELTS. The neutral words are ‘fine’ for the Speaking module, but you really should learn the formal equivalents if you want to score highly in the Academic Writing module.

Informal (Avoid) Neutral (Spoken) Formal (Written)
Stuff Things Items, Possessions
Folks Family Relatives
Kids (younger) Babies, Children Infants, Offspring
Kids (older) Teenagers Adolescents, Youths
Guy Man Male
Old people Elderly people Senior citizens, Retirees
- Boss, Manager Supervisor, Superior
Cops Police Law enforcement
Crooks Criminals Offenders, Lawbreakers
OK, Alright Fine Acceptable, Satisfactory
Great, Awesome Good Preferable, Desirable
Rubbish, Useless Bad, Poor Unsatisfactory, Unacceptable
- Nice, Polite Considerate, Agreeable
- Kind, Friendly Sociable, Neighbourly
Nasty, Cheeky (person) Rude, Impolite Abusive, Disagreeable
Stupid, Crazy, Dumb (idea) - Misguided, Questionable
Stupid, Crazy, Dumb (person) - Misguided, Mistaken
- Happy (person) Satisfied, Delighted
- Happy (situation) Satisfying, Delightful
- Sad (person) Regretful, Distressed
- Sad (situation) Regrettable, Distressing
Sick of, Fed up with Tired of Dissatisfied with
- Poor (country) Developing, Poverty-stricken
- Poor (person) In poverty, Underprivileged
- Rich (country) Wealthy, Developed
- Rich (person) Wealthy, Privileged

Contractions such as don’t are fine in IELTS Speaking but it is better to use do not in the Academic Writing module. Casual forms such as gonna and dunno should only ever be used in the Speaking test and NEVER in Writing.

How to Get a Band 8 Score in Academic IELTS

Some linguistically demanding courses such as literature and law can require IELTS 8.0 or even 8.5. Thankfully, most people never have to aim this high! If you’re one of the unlucky few, this is what you need to do to obtain a Band 8 score in the academic version of IELTS.

IELTS Listening

  • Get 35 out of 40 answers correct

IELTS Reading (Academic Module)

  • Get 35 out of 40 answers correct

IELTS Writing (Academic Module)

  • Answer both questions fully
  • Use paragraphing skillfully to convey several key ideas
  • Use less-common vocabulary naturally with an awareness of collocation
  • Provide an overview and explain key points in Task 1
  • Indicate a clear position and develop it extensively in Task 2
  • Produce mostly error-free complex sentences

IELTS Speaking

  • Speak fluently and at length on any given topic with almost no hesitation
  • Use a range of linking words accurately to develop ideas
  • Use higher-level and idiomatic vocabulary to convey precise meaning
  • Produce mostly error-free simple and complex sentences
  • Use pronunciation and intonation patterns similar to those of a native speaker

Follow the advice above to meet the IELTS criteria for Band 8 in all four modules. A Band 8 score in IELTS is good enough for any university undergraduate or postgraduate programme and should be sufficient to practice medicine or law in an English-speaking country.

How to Get a Band 7 Score in Academic IELTS

The world’s best universities often require IELTS 7.0 or even 7.5 to enter, which is quite a challenge for speakers of English as a second language. This is what you need to do to get a band 7 score in the academic version of IELTS.

IELTS Listening

  • Get 30 out of 40 answers correct

IELTS Reading (Academic Module)

  • Get 30 out of 40 answers correct

IELTS Writing (Academic Module)

  • Answer both questions fully
  • Write in clear paragraphs, each with a main idea and supporting sentences
  • Use higher-level vocabulary with an awareness of collocation
  • Provide an overview with detailed comparisons in Task 1
  • Indicate a clear position and stick to it consistently in Task 2
  • Produce generally error-free sentences

IELTS Speaking

  • Speak fluently and at length on any given topic
  • Use a range of linking words accurately to connect ideas
  • Use less common and idiomatic vocabulary
  • Produce generally error-free sentences
  • Show good control of pronunciation and intonation

Follow the advice above to meet the IELTS criteria for Band 7 in all four modules. A Band 7 score in IELTS is good enough for almost all university undergraduate and postgraduate programmes.

How to Get a Band 6 Score in Academic IELTS

The scoring system of IELTS can be difficult to understand for test-takers, so we’ve simplified it for you. This is what you need to do to get a 6.0 or 6.5 in the academic version of IELTS.

IELTS Listening

  • Get 23 out of 40 answers correct

IELTS Reading (Academic Module)

  • Get 23 out of 40 answers correct

IELTS Writing (Academic Module)

  • Answer both questions adequately
  • Show good ability to organise an answer (e.g. paragraphs, linking words)
  • Attempt to use some higher-level vocabulary (even if not always accurate)
  • Provide an overview with supporting details in Task 1
  • Indicate a position and provide supporting arguments in Task 2
  • Make yourself understood (even if grammatical mistakes are made)

IELTS Speaking

  • Speak at length on certain topics
  • Use a range of linking words to connect ideas
  • Show good ability to paraphrase
  • Use both simple and complex structures
  • Speak with generally good pronunciation

Follow the advice above to meet the IELTS criteria for Band 6 in all four modules. A Band 6 score in IELTS is good enough for some university programmes, while others may require a pre-sessional English course.

How to Get a Band 5 Score in Academic IELTS

Here’s the IELTS scoring system made simple. This is what you need to do to get a 5.0 or 5.5.

IELTS Listening

  • Get 16 out of 40 answers correct

IELTS Reading (Academic Module)

  • Get 15 out of 40 answers correct

IELTS Writing (Academic Module)

  • Use vocabulary that is adequate for both tasks
  • Show some ability to organise an answer (e.g. paragraphs, linking words)
  • Attempt some complex sentence types (even if not accurate)
  • Include some details in Task 1
  • Indicate a clear opinion in Task 2

IELTS Speaking

  • Show ability to talk about both familiar and unfamiliar topics
  • Produce simple speech accurately and fluently
  • Avoid long silences
  • Attempt more complex structures (even if not accurate)
  • Attempt to paraphrase (even if not accurate)

Follow the advice above to meet the IELTS criteria for Band 5 in all four modules. A Band 5 score in IELTS is good enough for some university foundation programmes.

IELTS Writing Task 2: Opinion Essay with Sample Answer

Task 2 Question

Space exploration is much too expensive and the money should be spent on more important things.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Model Answer

There is an argument that exploring space is a waste of money and that there are more urgent needs to be addressed on earth, such as reducing poverty and preventing environmental destruction. However, I completely disagree with this opinion for two reasons.

First of all, many of the technologies we take for granted today were originated thanks to space research. Take satellite technology, for example, which we depend on for broadcasting and weather forecasting. Without satellites, we would not be able to follow global events as they happen, nor give populations any warning of approaching storms. Space research has also led to the development of new lightweight materials that offer us heat protection and enable food preservation. Therefore, the challenge of sending human beings into space has often driven the development of new technologies that benefit our everyday lives.

Second, we cannot foresee the distant future, so we ought to develop the capability to escape from the earth. Gradually, we are learning how humans can survive for long periods in space and even travel to other planets in the future. If space exploration is halted, this valuable knowledge will never be acquired. It is true that environmental destruction is also a serious issue, but it is also true that we remain dependent on our environment if we never accept the challenge of exploring other worlds.

In conclusion, while we undoubtedly face serious problems on our own planet, it is imperative that we continue to explore space. This will promote further technological advances as well as provide a possible means of escape should earth become uninhabitable in future. Ideally, all nations should cooperate in the advancement of space research.

(278 words, IELTS 8.5)

Why does this Task 2 answer get an IELTS Band 8 score?

Task response: The introduction effectively paraphrases the question and presents a clear opinion. The writer’s opinion is supported in the body of the essay. Concrete examples are given. The conclusion restates the writer’s opinion and ends with a recommendation.

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IELTS Writing Task 1: Line Graph with Sample Answer

Task 1 Question

The diagram shows the consumption of renewable energy in the USA from 1949-2008.

Write a 150-word report for a university lecturer identifying the main trends and making comparisons where relevant.

IELTS Line Graph

Model Answer

The line graph shows growth in the consumption of renewable energy during the period 1949-2008 in the USA. The results are also broken down by source.

The first thing to note is that renewable energy use more than doubled over the period, with particularly strong growth in biofuels. This sector did not exist in 1980 but experienced a steep rise during the 2000s to over one quadrillion Btu per year. This made biofuels a serious challenger to both wood and hydroelectric power, which both saw only limited growth overall. The former grew steadily between 1975 and 1985, but then slipped back to around its original level of 1.8 quadrillion Btu. The latter began the period at the same level as wood but experienced more substantial growth. However, it also fell back to around 2 quadrillion Btu, with a particularly sharp drop in the late 1990s.

Finally, wind power emerged late in the period but showed a gradual rise to around 0.5 quadrillion Btu, suggesting that it, along with biofuels, will replace wood and hydroelectricity as the main sources of renewable every in the future.

(184 words, IELTS 8.0)

Why does this Task 1 answer get an IELTS Band 8 score?

Task achievement: The model answer describes the overall trend first, followed by an analysis of the different energy sources. Numerical evidence is used sparingly to illustrate the trends. The main trends are used as the basis of a prediction in the final sentence.

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IELTS Writing Task 1: Process Diagram with Sample Answer

Task 1 Question

The diagram shows how electricity is generated by a hydroelectric dam.

Write a 150-word report for a university lecturer explaining how the process works.

Model Answer

The diagram illustrates the basic principles of hydroelectric power. The process requires the construction of a large dam connected to a powerhouse. The dam creates a large reservoir and the powerhouse is where the electricity is generated.

First of all, water trapped in the reservoir behind the dam is forced through an intake. It then flows into a narrow chamber called a penstock, where the resulting high pressure turns a turbine. The turbine is connected to a generator in the powerhouse above, and this is where the movement of the turbine is converted into electricity. The resulting electricity leaves the powerhouse via cables that carry it over long distances to where it can be used.

It is interesting to note that a hydroelectric dam creates no harmful byproducts and relies entirely on natural forces to produce electricity. After the turbine stage, water flows out through a second channel and into a river. The process is renewable, thanks to the water cycle in nature.

(163 words, IELTS 8.0)

Why does this Task 1 answer get an IELTS Band 8 score?

Task achievement: The introduction paraphrases the question and describes the constituent parts of the process. The body describes each stage of the process in sequence.

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IELTS Writing Task 2: Useful Language

Memorising set phrases for use in the IELTS test is a highly effective way of achieving a higher score. Try learning the following signposting language which will make you sound more confident and sophisticated when writing an opinion or argument essay in Task 2. As with our Task 1 useful language yesterday, for each function the language is graded approximately for level, from regular use (Bands 5-6) to higher-level use (Bands 7-9).

Introducing the topic

  • Some people argue that…
  • Have you ever considered… ?
  • The question raises the issue of…

Stating an opinion (thesis statement)

  • I believe that…
  • It is my belief that…
  • This essay will argue that…

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