IELTS Academic Writing Task 1: A Model Answer

Getting Prepared for Task 1

There are several things you can do to lessen the pressure while you’re getting ready for writing task 1 of the Academic IELTS. Some important steps you should take include:

  • familiarizing yourself with the format and purpose of the task
  • understanding how the IELTS academic writing portion is marked
  • seeking out some sample IELTS writing topics  and task samples to know what to expect
  • learning what might be considered a model answer for the task
  • following a IELTS prep with expert advice to help you improve your score

In this article, we’ll try to tackle that last bit by taking a look at a real IELTS prompt for this version of the test and the way that some test takers’ answers measured up.

IELTS Academic Writing Task 1: Sample Task

Here is a sample prompt for task 1, which presents the test taker with visual data to be interpreted and verbalized:

IELTS academic writing task 1 sample -magoosh

IELTS Academic Writing Task 1: Sample Answers

Now that we’ve got a sample task to contemplate, let’s take a look at how two test takers approached the challenge. We’ll decipher their answers, read the comments written by the examiner, and consider what hints this can give us about what constitutes a model answer.

Sample Answer 1: Band 6

IELTS Academic Writing Task 1: Band 6 Response -magoosh

Sample 1: Examiner Comments

“The answer has an appropriate introduction which the candidate  has attempted to express in his/her own words.  There is good  coverage of  the data and a brief reference to contrasting trends.  The answer can  be followed although it is rather repetitive  and  cohesive devices are overused. In order to gain a higher mark for content, the candidate would be expected to select the salient  features of the graph and comment primarily on these. Sentences are long but lack complexity. There are some errors in tense, verb form and spelling which interfere slightly with the flow of the answer.”

Sample 1: Interpretation for Finding a Model Answer

Using the examiner’s comments, we know that the model answer will include a strong introduction and a clear effort to use one’s own words (not just copying verbatim from the headings on the chart). A model answer would cover all of the information displayed in the image and, when relevant, may compare and contrast noted trends.

This sample answer would probably have been scored higher if it were less repetitive in its description. Take a look at the repeated use of the same terms: shows, percentage, increase, and falls. Consider the other ways this information could be expressed. Instead of repeating a phrase noting the constant “increase” or “fall” “in percentages,” perhaps the writer could have expressed similar, yet different observations by noting ” the number of viewers,” “a larger/smaller audience,”  and “fewer/an influx in listeners.”  Part of the reason why the test taker has reused much of the same language (and of the same level of simplicity) is because they have only focused on the changing trends throughout the day – it is a one dimensional exploration.

Sample Answer 2: Band 7

IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 Band 7 -magoosh

Sample 2: Examiner Comments

“The answer deals well with both the individual media trends and the overall comparison of these trends. The opening could be more  fully developed with the inclusion of information relating to the groups  studied and the period of time during which the study took  place. There  is  a good variety of  cohesive devices  and the message can  be followed quite easily although  the expression is  sometimes  a  little clumsy. Structures are complex and  vocabulary is varied but there are errors in word forms, tense and  voice  though these do not impede communication.”

Sample 2: Interpretation for Finding a Model Answer

This test taker has scored high enough on this task to enter many academic programs. The comparatively higher score can be attributed to a broader interpretation of the graph (remember sample 1 only focused on one dimension?) and more varied language (avoiding repetition of vocabulary and structures).

From this assessment, we can see that a model answer would fit this description, but it would also be more grammatically and structurally sound (rather than “clumsy” or “having errors in word forms, tense, and voice.”)

Find more hints and tips to help you ace the writing portion of the IELTS in these Magoosh articles:

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