During the International English language Testing System IELTS Academic writing task 1, test takers will have to interpret information that is presented in a line graph, a bar chart, a pie chart, or a table, You will be tested on your ability to present that information in a write a formal report of about 150 words.
This is part of the test is not really as difficult as it is often hyped up to be. Report writing is a technical skill, which requires a certain structure and the use of unique terminology. One of the main reasons students from Singapore struggle to score well in this section is that they are unfamiliar with the type of vocabulary needed for academic report writing. Your use of vocabulary is one of the four criteria that the examiner will be assessing you on and it makes up 25 % of your writing band score.
In this article, you will learn all about the specific vocabulary needed for the academic writing task one and some tips on when to use them.
IELTS Writing Task 1 Vocabulary Band Descriptors
According to the writing vocabulary band descriptors, in order to obtain a band level of 8 in the vocabulary section a test taker must be able to:
- Use a wide range of vocabulary fluently and flexibly to convey precise meanings.
- Skillfully use uncommon lexical items with occasional inaccuracies in word choice and collocation
To put it simply, this means that to score well in this area your answer will have to include vocabulary specific to reporting data, as well use a wider range of vocabulary and collocations you should also not repeat the same words again and again, meaning that you have to be able to paraphrase and use synonyms as well. The vocabulary you use should be related to the different types of IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 diagrams, which can include
- Line Graphs
- Bar Charts
- Pie Charts
- Process Diagrams
Vocabulary To Describe IELTS Task 1 Data
When you analyse the graphical data presented to you in the question, you will have to report the main features as well as make comparisons between different sets of data. You have mention periods of stability, upward or downward trends or periods of instability (fluctuations in the graph or charts) To do this you need to have proper knowledge of which vocabulary to use for different types of changes. For example, if your graph depicts an upward trend, you would have to describe that change as sudden or gradual.
I’ve compiled an easy to understand table, that contains synonyms for commonly seen trends that appear in the academic writing task.
|Upward Trend||Downward Trends||Upward Trend followed by a Downward Trend||Fluctuating Trend||Stable Trend||Upward Trend followed by a Stable Trend|
|a peak||a fluctuation
|a period of stability||a plateau
|to peak||to fluctuate
|to stabilize||to plateau|
|Phrases||to show an upward trend||to show a downward trend
to hit the lowest point
to hit a though
|to reach a peak||to show some fluctuation/ variation||to remain stable/
|to reach a plateau
to level off
to flatten out
You can always make the above-mentioned verbs and nouns sound more engaging by adding the correct adjective or adverb to go along with it. Remember that adjectives follow nouns and verbs are usually paired with adverbs.
|Adjectives and adverbs||sharp(ly)
|steady (ily)||relative(ly)||considerable (ably)||the second highest the third lowest||slight (ly)
There are also other instances when it is difficult to determine the exact figures mentioned in the graph. In such cases, you might have to use approximations instead.
Here are some useful approximations vocabulary:
|roughly||more than||less than|
|approximately||well over||well below|
|almost||just above||just below|
|nearly||just over||just under|
|about||a little more than||slightly less than|
|around||a large proportion||a small proportions|
|exactly||a significant majority||an insignificant minority|