Sample Essay For Ielts Task 1


Paragraph 1

The opening paragraph has all the key information about the graph but it paraphrases the question. This is very important. Make sure you use synonyms and rephrase your answer. For example, in this case:

“shows” to “illustrates”

“oil capacity” to “amount of oil”

“from 1990 to 2010” to “between 1990 and 2010”

Paragraph 2

This paragraph gives a clear overview of the chart. The overall trend is that the capacity increased, but there is a big difference between Saudi Arabia and Qatar. This paragraph demonstrates an excellent knowledge of the required grammar and vocabulary. “Tended to increase”; “20-year period” (and not 20-years period); “significantly higher than”.

Paragraph 3

This paragraph goes into detail about the two most significant countries: Saudi Arabia and Qatar. It follows clearly from the previous paragraph which has highlighted these two countries. All the key vocabulary to describe movement in a graph is used correctly (“significant increase”; “rose steadily”; “reaching a peak”; “remained relatively stable”). There are two sentences about Saudi Arabia and then two about Qatar, correctly using the linking phrase “in contrast”. The paragraph is very well structured and cohesive, with no grammar mistakes and an excellent range of vocabulary.

Paragraph 4

Paragraph 4 gives details about the four remaining countries. Again, all the language for describing a graph is accurate – “saw a slight rise”, “peaked in 2010”. The prepositions are also used correctly (something students often mix up) – “a rise in production”, “in 1990”, “compared with”, “peaked in 2010 in Iran at over 4 million barrels”  


This answer displays everything needed for a Band 9 answer on IELTS Task 1. The answer is clear and well-structured with a skilful use of paragraphs and links. There is a wide range of very natural vocabulary needed to describe a graph and there are no spelling mistakes. There are no grammar mistakes in the answer and there is an excellent range of complex structures.


IELTS task one marking scheme:

IELTS task 1 Writing band descriptors PDF

This post is by Everest Language School teacher and literary podcaster Conor Reid

You can prepare for the IELTS exam in Dublin in one of our IELTS preparation courses.

Below is a sample answer for December 2016 writing task 1. The task  consists of one vertical bar chart and two pie charts. The sample answer is estimated at about band score 8.  The sample answer contains some grammar errors – can you find them? Answers below.

You can download a PDF copy of it at the bottom of the page. You can also find links to the main pages of IELTS tips at the bottom of this page.

December 2016, IELTS Writing Task 1

December 2016, Sample Answer

Estimated at band score 8

The bar chart and pie charts illustrate the percentage of people in Glasgow having three levels of education (university, school and those with no qualifications) in 2010. Information is divided into five age groups in the bar chart and by gender in the pie charts.

Overall, the majority of people with university education were in younger age groups, while in the oldest age group most people did not have any qualifications. The proportions of men and women were similar and showed little different between the levels of education.

The percentage of people with university education was up to 76% in the younger three age groups compared to only 50% in those ages 50 to 75 and just 25% in those over 75. This trend was reversed in those with no qualifications (9% in younger people rising to 72% in the oldest age group). The figure for those with school education was relatively constant at around 20% but was as low as 3% in the over 75’s.

The proportion of men and women in each level of education was around one third with only a slightly difference of 3% in university graduates as well as those who didn’t have educational qualifications.

Words = 198

There are a few grammar mistakes in this writing. Can you find them? Answers provided below

Download PDF Copies & Answers

IELTS Writing Task 1: ielts-writing-task-1-december-2016

December 2016 Sample Answer: model-task-1-dec-2016

Answers to Grammar Mistakes – click below to open:


Paragraph 2: in younger age groups = in the younger age groups

Paragraph 2: little different = little difference

Paragraph 3: in those ages 50 to 75 = in those aged 50 to 75

Paragraph 4: a slightly difference = a slight difference

Paragraph 4: didn’t = did not


Main IELTS Pages

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