Writing Task 1: How to Write an Intro

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Many students are afraid of it, but the IELTS Writing Task 1 can actually be the easiest part of the whole IELTS exam! It’s the only part of the exam, in fact, which is so predictable. You can learn simple structures before the exam that can almost always be used.

What Does a Good Intro Need?

The intro to your IELTS Writing Task 1 needs only two things: to give the main idea and the general trend. You can do this in two sentences, although it’s flexible. Three sentences is also ok.

First Sentence

The first sentence should essentially be a paraphrased version of the question. Take a minute to look at the data and read the question. What is this all about? What is the most important information? That’s what you want to say. Make sure to avoid repeating anything more than a few words from the question, however, or else you’ll be penalized.

Tip: Try changing verbs to nouns and nouns to verbs. For example, if the question says “consumption,” you can say “consume.”

Second Sentence

This is a little more difficult, but still it shouldn’t be too hard. Look at all of the data and ask what’s the most important? What are the striking features? Compare and contrast to see the most significant aspects.

From that, you should be able to explain the main trend. Did one rate go up whilst another went down? That’s the general trend! Did everything follow a set pattern except one? That’s the general trend! Report this in one or two sentences.

IELTS pro-tip: Don’t use any numbers (except for the date range) in your introduction.

ExampleIELTS Task 1 Line Graph

How can we write an introduction for this graph? We need to firstly explain what its purpose is, and then to describe the overall trend.

Example 1

The graph shows the unemployment rates in the U.S. and Japan over a period of six years, from 1993 to 1999. At the earliest date, the two countries had very different unemployment rates, with Japan’s being very high and America’s being very, but by the end they were approximately equal.

Example 2

The graph shows changes in unemployment rates in the U.S. and Japan from March, 1993 to March, 1999. Across this period of time, the two countries experience very different changes in unemployment. The U.S. unemployment rate decreases while the Japanese rate increases.

Example 3

The graph shows changes in unemployment rates in the U.S. and Japan from March, 1993 to March, 1999. At the beginning of the period, the U.S. and Japanese unemployment rates are very different, but at the end, they are roughly the same.

These three examples demonstrate how there are various possible ways to present the same information in a similar fashion and still be correct.

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Author: David S. Wills

David S. Wills is the author of Scientologist! William S. Burroughs and the 'Weird Cult' and the founder/editor of Beatdom literary journal. He lives and works in rural China, and loves to travel.

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