IELTS Writing Process Diagram Vocabulary for Task 1

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On IELTS Writing Task 1, you’ll need to describe a graphic. Sometimes, this can be a type of chart. Other times, it will be a process diagram. So how do you know what process diagram vocabulary IELTS examiners are looking for? That’s where Magoosh comes in!

In this post, we’ll look at words and phrases you can use to describe processes on IELTS Academic Writing Task 1. (And for additional tips on IELTS vocabulary, check out our collection of the best IELTS Writing tips and Task 1 Language and Vocabulary guide!)

What is a Process Diagram on the IELTS?

A process diagram is an illustration that shows you how something is done. It could be anything from the creation of a product to the recycling cycle (as in this IELTS Task 1 process example!)

Generally, you’ll find two types of process questions. The first is a manufacturing process: something that humans do. The second is a natural process: something that occurs in nature.

Within your essay, you won’t need to come up with deep insights or hypotheses about the diagram that you’re looking at. Instead, you’ll simply need to follow the prompt, describing what you see. This can be surprisingly complex, so practice is crucial.

No matter what type of process the prompt asks you to write about, you can use the same kinds of process vocabulary IELTS words and phrases in your response!

Process Diagram Vocabulary for IELTS

Words to Describe the Type of Diagram


  • Creates
  • Produces
  • Makes
  • Distributes
  • Moves


  • Natural
  • Human-produced
  • Man-made
  • Cyclical
  • Linear
  • step(s)

Process Vocabulary IELTS Examples
gas industry info graphic explains how the gas gets from the field to consumers

This diagram illustrates the man-made process that a company uses to distribute natural gas to consumers. Overall, this seven-step, linear process illustrates which types of consumers the company prioritizes.

diagram showing the hydrological cycle process

This diagram depicts the natural hydrological cycle process by which water moves through the environment. This cyclical process involves steps, such as evaporation, condensation, and precipitation.

Words to Describe the Steps in the Process


  • First/firstly
  • Second/secondly
  • After/afterwards/once
  • Next
  • Later
  • Following
  • Subsequently
  • Finally/lastly
  • During
  • While
  • Meanwhile


  • Step
  • Stage
  • Phrase

Process Diagram Vocabulary IELTS Examples

Diagram of Innovative contemporary smart industry: product design, automated production line, delivery and distribution with people

Innovative contemporary smart industry: product design, automated production line, delivery and distribution with people, robots and machinery: industry 4.0 infographic

First, the product begins in the design stage. Following this, prototyping and 3D printing occur. Next, the product moves to the production stage.

Diagram showing process of photosynthesis in plant illustration

Diagram showing process of photosynthesis in plant illustration

In the first step of this process, three things happen simultaneously. Light, water and carbon dioxide all enter the chloroplast. Once this has happened, the water enters the thylakoid and carbon dioxide becomes part of the Calvin cycle in the second step. Subsequently, in the third step, the chloroplast produces oxygen and sugar.

Words to Describe a Cycle or Repetition


  • Cycle
  • Repetition
  • Repeats
  • Loops
  • Continues indefinitely
  • Recurs


  • Cyclical
  • Repetitious

Process Vocabulary IELTS Examples
linfographic of glass and glass products recycle process

This cyclical process technically begins when a new product is produced, though it can continue to loop indefinitely.

Diagram showing internet shopping delivery process

While the linear process is technically complete after Delivery (Step 7), the diagram depicts this as a repetitious, or cyclical, process. This is likely because the need for additional goods will recur, and so the cycle of the delivery process could theoretically continue indefinitely.

Verbs to Know for Describing a Process

  • Begins
  • Continues
  • Follows
  • Ends
  • Repeats

Process Vocabulary IELTS Examples
Diagram of the rock cycle

The rock cycle process begins with weathering and erosion. It then continues with transport and deposition. The process ends with melting rock in magma.

Wine production diagram

Clarification follows the pressing stage. The cycle then ends as the wine is bottled and shipped.

By the way, improve your IELTS score with Magoosh!

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