This week I’m giving you two sample essays from IELTS writing task 1 (academic). In the past I have given answers to line graphs and bar charts, but this week we’ll look at a more tricky type of question – process diagrams. It’s important to remember to take time to read the diagram, and then think about how to change the verbs to passive form.

Beneath the essays, I have written some comments that I think will be useful. They explain some points about my sample essays that should help you to understand them better and incorporate my suggestions into your own unique work.

I hope these examples can help you write your own excellent IELTS essays. Good luck!

Process Diagram 1ielts process diagram

The process diagram shows how coffee is produced by using a dry method. There are twelve stages altogether, beginning with the beans being sorted and ending with the coffee being packed and sold at a supermarket or shop.

To begin with, the beans are sorted by hand and then cleaned by using a sieve. Next, they are dried in the sun for four weeks, before being raked and turned. Then they are stored in a silo until the time when they are sent to a mill in a truck.

At the mill, the beans are hulled and graded before they are bagged. After the process of being bagged, the coffee is sold in bulk to retailers, who will undertake the last two steps of the process. Finally, it is roasted, packed, and then sold again to the consumer in a shop. The bag of coffee is the final product.


In the IELTS Writing Task 1, you really aren’t allowed to add anything extra; however, in this essay I have stated a few extra details that I think are most likely true from the diagram. This is that the bags of coffee are sold to consumers in a shop and that the coffee is sold in bulk to retailers. I think it would be hard to dispute either of those facts.

Note also how I have taken the verbs from the diagram and altered them into the passive voice. This is very important. When describing a process diagram, you should always change the verbs to passive voice. Take stage 4 for example:

  • the man rakes and turns the beans
  • the beans are raked and turned

Finally, I have been very careful in my use of transition phrases to show the passage of time. Some students will say “first, second, third…” and so on, which sounds a little basic. Try to get some variety, and remember that you can put two or more stages into the same sentence to avoid this.

Process Diagram 2

process diagram

There are two diagrams showing industrial processes. The first shows the production of cement, while the second shows the production of concrete. It is apparent from the beginning of the second picture that cement is used in the production of concrete, and so these images are linked as part of one longer process to make concrete from a number of different materials.

In the diagram showing cement production, limestone and clay are tipped into a crusher until they become powder. This powder is then fed into a mixer and then later into a rotating heater. The resulting material is ground into cement, which is then bagged in large sacks.

These bags of cement are poured into a concrete mixer with water, gravel, and sand. This mixture must be carefully measured according to the percentages on the diagram. The concrete mixer will combine the ingredients by rotating in order to produce concrete.


In this diagram, we are not given any verbs to use, so we need to change the nouns (like “crusher” and “heater”) into verbs. Remember again to change these into the passive voice.

This exercise is harder than the first one because you have to look at the diagram for longer to understand it. It doesn’t just go 1,2,3,4,5… However, you’ll see that in my introduction I have explained how it functions, with the first diagram leading into the second. This longer description means I wrote two shorter paragraphs actually describing the processes.