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Everybody wants IELTS! (The writing test - part 1)

Settembre 2014
Dopo aver affrontato la prova di comprensione scritta si passa alla produzione. Ecco qualche consiglio per affrontarla al meglio.

di Rachel Roberts

Rachel Roberts
Rachel Roberts

For Task 1 of both the Academic and General Writing tests, you are required to write not less than 150 words. If your answer is short it will lower your score. Make sure that the 150+ words you write are your own. Although some reformulation of the question will be necessary to introduce the topic, be careful not to regurgitate the input material parrot-fashion.

In the Academic exam, you are given some information in the form of a graph, table, diagram, or map. You then have to summarize the information, pointing out and comparing the main features. There is no time to make a rough copy of your answer. It is therefore essential that you spend a few minutes brainstorming your ideas and planning the order in which you are going to present them.

At some stage, in the introduction or the conclusion, you must give a clear outline of the main points in the diagram or chart. One trick is to imagine that the image is a slide you have chosen for a presentation because it clearly illustrates a point you want to make. What is that point? It could be that “... traffic conditions in European cities have been steadily improving except for the cities in Eastern Europe”; or that “..the life cycle of the [given insect] involves three main stages and two separate habitats.”  

Once you are sure of your overview, you then need to go through the details in logical order. It’s fundamental that you include details from the input material – percentages, temperatures, dates, points on a map etc. If you read your description over the phone to a friend, would he or she be able to reproduce the graph, diagram etc.?
Your tenses must respect any dates in the information: if you talk about 1966, then you need the simple past. If you talk about 2066 then you’ll be speculating about the future!

Always write using paragraphs in a logical sequence – English-speaking people are taught this from the age of 11. A well-organized answer with a good range of grammatical structures and vocabulary will raise you to a higher band score. 


The British Council deals with everything concerning IELTS in Italy. If you want to have an idea of your current level of English, try the online level test www.britishcouncil.org/it/italy-exams-test-livello-inglese-esame-cambridge-ielts-online.htm
You can take the IELTS exam throughout the year and you can enrol just two weeks before the actual test date. The results will be ready 13 days later.


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