How To Describe The IELTS Writing Task 1 Process Diagram

If you are taking the Academic IELTS test, then you will have to write a formal report of 150 words based on some form of pictorial information. This part of the writing task usually takes around 20 minutes and is worth one third of your overall writing test score. IELTS  Writing task 1 questions usually require students to write a factual report based on some form of graph, but you can also be asked to write about a process diagram. This type of report is an uncommon form of question type that you can come across in the IELTS Writing test.

What Is An IELTS Writing Task 1 Process Diagram?

There are two types of processes, a linear process and a cyclical process. A linear process starts and finishes at different places. It will often involve the manufacture or creation of something, with raw materials going in at one end and the finished product coming out the other end. A cyclical process is a process that goes back to the beginning and repeats over and over again, such as natural processes like the life cycle of a frog or the water cycle.

While teaching in Singapore I developed a number of crucial steps that are necessary to produce a high scoring IELTS process diagram reports. In this article I will demonstrate how to follow these steps for the following sample question.

Analyse The Question

We need to read the question and analyse the given picture in order to decide on the type of process and how many stages there are during this process. Unlike other forms of graphs process diagrams have very few figures or percentages to report on. In this question type the stages of the process are our main features, and these need to be summarised in our report. Think about how you would describe each of these stages in a concise yet comprehensive manner. In certain cases comparisons can also be made between different stages.

Plan Your Report

The next step would be to organize the information you have gathered during your question analysis and decide on how to lay out the most useful pieces of information for your report.

The typical structure for a formal process diagram report is as follows:

  • Paragraph 1 – Introduction
  • Paragraph 2 – Overview
  • Paragraph 3 – 1st Main Feature
  • Paragraph 4 – 2nd Main Feature

How To Write A Good Introduction

A great tip for writing a good introduction is to simply paraphrase the first sentence of the question. Try to reorder the words or use synonyms of the words mentioned in the question for example:

Question: “The diagram illustrates the process that is used to manufacture bricks for the building industry.”

Sample Introduction:

The diagram explains the way in which bricks are made for the building industry.

How To Write An Overview Paragraph

The overview paragraph for a process diagram is also quite different as compared to other writing task 1 questions. As there are no trends to comment on, you can make a comment on the number of stages in the process and how it begins and ends.

Sample Overview:

Overall, there are eight stages in the process, beginning with the digging up of clay and culminating in delivery.

How To Write The Main Body paragraphs

The main body paragraphs will just generally describe each stage in greater detail. It is not important to mention every minute detail, just commenting on the main features is good enough. You also need to make judgment call about how to split the stages between paragraphs. This generally depends on the specific questions and the number of stages within the process, Since a process is a series of events , one taking place after the other, you will need to connect your stages, you should use ‘ time connector linking words ‘. Time connectors are linking words which signal that a sequence is being followed, such as:

  • To begin
  • Following this
  • Next
  • Then
  • After
  • After that
  • Before
  • Subsequently
  • Finally

To begin, the clay used to make the bricks is dug up from the ground by a large digger. This clay is then placed onto a metal grid, which is used to break up the clay into smaller pieces. A roller assists in this process.

Following this, sand and water are added to the clay, and this mixture is turned into two differing types of brick by either placing it into a mold or using a wire cutter. Next, these bricks are placed in an oven to dry for 24 – 48 hours.

In the subsequent stage, the bricks go through a heating and cooling process. They are heated in a kiln at a moderate and then a high temperature (ranging from 200c to 1300c), followed by a cooling process in a chamber for 2 – 3 days. Finally, the bricks are packed and delivered to their destinations.

Process Diagram Model Answer:

The diagram explains the way in which bricks are made for the building industry.

Overall, there are eight stages in the process, beginning with the digging up of clay and culminating in delivery.

To begin, the clay used to make the bricks is dug up from the ground by a large digger. This clay is then placed onto a metal grid, which is used to break up the clay into smaller pieces. A roller assists in this process.

Following this, sand and water are added to the clay, and this mixture is turned into two differing types of brick by either placing it into a mold or using a wire cutter. Next, these bricks are placed in an oven to dry for 24 – 48 hours.

In the subsequent stage, the bricks go through a heating and cooling process. They are heated in a kiln at a moderate and then a high temperature (ranging from 200c to 1300c), followed by a cooling process in a chamber for 2 – 3 days. Finally, the bricks are packed and delivered to their destinations.