How do you write an academic task 1 conclusion? Do you in fact need to write a conclusion at all? This is a common question/problem for IELTS candidates. One answer is that there is no one answer! There are in fact different approaches that can work and it is one of those areas where candidates need to find out what works best for them.
Is that confusing? Here is a brief summary of what is possible. You can write
a quick conclusion/summary at the end or
a summary statement at the beginning
In either case you should
give an overview/summary of what the chart shows, focussing on the main points
not include any “opinions” of your own about what the chart shows
The information you include will likely be the same in either case – it’s largely just a question of where you put it. The key is to recognise that at some point you need an overview or summary.
Why you might not write a conclusion/summary at the end
You won’t need a conclusion if
- you have written a strong introduction with a summary statement and identified the main patterns/trends of the chart/graph in the introduction,so you don’t need to repeat yourself in the conclusion.
- you have written very clear “topic” sentences in your main paragraphs and the main points are already clear and cannot easily be summarised
Why you might choose to write a conclusion at the end
- your introduction is weak and merely rewords the title of the chart/graph and doesn’t pick out any main points
- you have only written one “content paragraph” in which case it may not be easy to see what the main points are
- you just feel happier writing conclusions and/or you are not certain of the main points before you start writing. You really need to find out what works best for you.
- you want to make sure you hit the word limit and want more words (though you should be aware the examiner will not count any words that are simply repeated)
What your conclusion should look like
You don’t have to write too much. A sentence is enough. It can even be quite a short sentence. It can be a mistake to include too much detail in the conclusion as the examiner will cross it out if it is simply copied from the main body of your summary.
The danger is you put your own ideas into the conclusion as this is one of the things that you do in academic essays. This is a reporting/summarising task though, so it is a mistake to do this or to interpret the data.
The usual rule applies that you should not put any new detail into a conclusion, but only summarise what comes before. This means in practice that you pick out the main details of the chart/graph you have been looking at. This will be typically the main trends or patterns in the chart/graph.
How to do it
Here’s the trick. When you write the conclusion, don’t look at the graph or what you have already written. If you do that, you may write too much or write something too complex. The conclusion should be simple.
Try this. Look away. See what you remember about the graph. There should be 2 or 3 main points. These are the points you include in your conclusion.
A student sample
This is a sample task and answer sent in by one of my subscribers. I have corrected some of the English (which was good anyway). The one “mistake” was to leave out the fact that more women than men were employed in two sectors by 1995. The organisation of the report is very sensible with one paragraph for men and one for women.
Here is my corrected version of the report. It isn’t perfect, it isn’t meant to be. I have deleted the conclusion I wrote and added it as a comment to this post. Your task is to decide what you would write as a conclusion. If you like you can post it as a comment for others to look at:
The graph describes the difference between the number of men and women employed in 6 employment sectors of Freedonia between 1975 and 1995.
Generally, the highest number of men worker in both surveyed years recorded at about 850,000 in non-defense, whereas the lowest figure was in defense which fell from 250000 to 225,000. No major change can be seen in the number of male workers in the other sectors (manufacturing: 650,000; communication: about 250,000, wholesale and retail trade: 700,000) , although finance-banking increased by 8000 to more or less 500000.
It can be clearly seen that more women started to work in most sectors except for manufacturing and non-defense where there was no significant change In order, the increases were 250,000 to 600,000 in communication, then 150,000 to close to 475,000 in finance-banking, 575,000 to less than 800,000 in wholesale and retail trade and around 25,000 (bottom of graph) to over 100,000 defense. We should also note that there were more women than men were employed in communications and trade in 1995.
Footnote on what I like to do
My personal preference is to use a summary statement at the beginning. Why? I think it’s more coherent that way. The examiner knows what is coming and it is easier to read.
You will find though that some of my sample reports have conclusions at the end – like in an essay. I’ve done this to help candidates who find the summary statement approach too hard. It is, I repeat, an acceptable technique and you’ll find that in the official practice books many of the reports follow that structure.
Where nextGet more task 1 advice Learn how to write the first sentence in task 1
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