Writing, Task 1 (Academic): Stokeford

There’s a question on page 283 of the Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS.  

In it we can see the village of Stokeford in 1930 and 2010. It’s a question I like to look at with students in Writing Task 1 class – maybe I’m biased but map questions are my favourite!

There are many changes between the two maps. We’re going to highlight those changes and think of some useful vocabulary we can use to describe them in our report. 

First, let’s look at the 2 maps and consider the following:

  • what is the same?
  • what has changed?

Continue reading “Writing, Task 1 (Academic): Stokeford”

Cambridge 13: Writing, Task 1 (Academic), Test 1

I looked at Test 1, Writing Task 1 on page 29 of the Cambridge IELTS 13 (Academic) book with students. This is a map question which shows changes to a hospital’s road access in 2 separate years . 

The aim was to try to get them to think about how they would approach this in the exam, and we can do this here too.

We’ll think about the information we’re presented with, then look at some suggestions for writing about the changes for our reader. 

Continue reading “Cambridge 13: Writing, Task 1 (Academic), Test 1”

Writing (Academic) Task 1: Introduction

In Writing Task 1 (Academic) you’ll be presented with some information. It can take a variety of different forms. 

You might be given some data:

  • bar chart/graph
  • pie chart
  • line graph
  • table

Alternatively, you might be given images:

  • map
  • diagram – flowchart, process

The aim of Academic Writing Task 1 is to write a report, taking the information given, and summarising what is most important.

Some key points:

–  The question will almost always ask you to:

“Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.”

Sometimes you will be given too much information – in that case focus on what is most important.

–  This is an academic report. The language should be formal.

– You must write at least 150 words – under-length answers will lose marks.

– You should spend 20 minutes of the exam writing your report. (Task 2 is worth more and you might want to attempt Task 2 first – just a suggestion!)

Report Structure

You can structure all Task 1 answers as 4 clear paragraphs:

  1. An introduction – what does the graph/table/diagram etc. show? You can paraphrase what you’re given on the question sheet.
  2. An overview – what are the most important features or trends? What are the main changes?
  3. A body – describe the most important pieces of data in more detail, and use any figures in your report. Divide this into 2 paragraphs to make it clear for the reader to follow – one long paragraph isn’t as clear.
1. Introduction
2. Overview
3. Body 1
4. Body 2

Leave a line between paragraphs to make it even clearer.

What not to include:

  • No opinion
  • No conclusion

You should not give your opinion in a Task 1 answer. Just write about the information you’re given – identify the most important features, describe them and compare them.

You should not write a conclusion in a Task 1 response – an overview works just fine. (Your Task 2 essay will need a conclusion, however!)


Here’s a useful tip for completing your listening and reading answers.

According to the the official IELTS handbook, Information for Candidates:

“You may write your answers in lower case or capitals” (Test Tips, page 6)

Writing in block capitals is a good idea here as it should be clearer for the examiner to read.

A curious thing is that you can also do the writing part of the exam ENTIRELY IN CAPITALS TOO! It’s not something I recommend but it’s interesting to know that it’s a possibility.