As you know, the structure in the essay is very important, you need to organize all the information into a logical order and put them into different paragraphs. The examiner will check your structure and organization presenting in your essay. Generally, there are four main paragraphs that you need to write for task 1.

 The first paragraph will be your introduction and that contains a description of the graph. IELTS test will always give you a description and you can use that information for your introduction but you should remember not to copy it that may lower your band score. You need to write it again by using your own English.

 In the previous lesson, we learnt how to paraphrase the question to write a good introduction as an opening sentence for the essay. If you haven’t read it, you can find it here.

The next paragraph after the introduction is the overview.

HOW TO WRITE AN OVERVIEW IN YOUR WRITING TASK 1

The overview plays a crucial role in your task 1 report. Normally, it is a very important paragraph and often not too long, there are about 2-3 sentences which summarize the main or general features of a graph, chart or diagram; and make comparisons where relevant. You do not have time to describe everything as well as you are not asked to describe everything. The examiner want to see the skill that you are able to identify the most important points from a graph, a chart or a diagram. Additionally, the overview can be used as a useful map or guide for writing the body.

As a matter of fact, many candidates get troubles in terms of describing the general features of a chart, graph or even a diagram. It’s difficult for you to gain a high band-score if you don’t have a good overview. Let’s have a look at band descriptor for task achievement in IELTS Writing task 1:


IELTS band descriptor for task achievement

For task achievement in band 6 and over, it says you are required to have a clear overview. In band 5, it says you have an overview with information appropriately selected. You may get band 4 or 5  if your report does not include an overview or you haven’t talked about the most important things.
In doing so, you have to practice as much as you can, so that when you take the actual test, you can be efficient.

SOME TIPS AND SENTENCE STRUCTURES TO WRITE A GOOD OVERVIEW

#1 Start the overview with a phase such as

Overall,

Overall we can see that…

It can be clearly seen that…

It is noticeable that…

It is clear that…

#2 Write 2-3 sentences which describe two main trends or features without specific numbers or figures.

#3 Sentence structures to write a good overview.

+ There was a [dramatic/slight/significant/sharp…] + [increase/ decrease/ decline] in…

+ The [number/proportion/ figure/ amount] of….[increased/ decreased/ declined]+ [dramatically/slightly/significantly/sharply…] … in [year]

+The great majority of + Plural N

+ is predicted to/ is expected to (information in the future)

+ Comparison sentences:   

  • While/ whereas

While at the beginning of the sentence: While …, …

While in the middle of the sentence: …., while

  • In contrast to + N = compared to/ with + N
  • Similar to
  • Less/ least
  • Be+ [much/ far/ considerably] higher/ lower/ longer than that of…
  • Be + the highest/ lowest…
  • N + was [almost] double the figure

Ex: The percentage of total water use by the service industry sector in 2007 was

almost double the figure for 1997.

  • N + saw a rapid increase/ decrease…

Future figures:

Be + predicted/ expected/ projected..

If you need any help, please comment below to let us know. Follow our lessons on 8.5 IELTS SHARING COMMUNITY Channel. You can also find out IELTS resources here.

IELTS Sharing Community Team.

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