Top Tips for IELTS

This chart shows – how to write the first sentence in task 1

How do you write the first sentence in task 1? It can be tricky and it can take up valuable time. You really don’t want to spend too much time here – you need to concentrate on the main summary. In this lesson I explain what you need to do and also how to write your first sentence in task 1 quickly and efficiently.

The first sentence in task 1 is an introductory statement

The first sentence is when you describe what the chart/graph is about. You write it by looking at the question and  title of the chart/graph and summarising it briefly.

Don’t write too much here. With practice one sentence – or perhaps two shorter sentences – is enough
Don’t try and summarise details of the whole chart in the first sentence – simply describe the topic – what it is about

See how it’s done

This is the model you are looking to copy:

Question

The chart below give information about mobile phone ownership as a percentage of the population in the United Kingdom between 2010 and 2015.

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

First sentence

This chart shows how the proportion of owners of mobile phones in the United Kingdom increased from 2002 to 2010.

Read on to discover how to do this.

Quick tips on how to get it right

tips on how to write the first sentence in task 1

Here are my tips to get the first sentence in task 1 right and get it done quickly. I show you very practical ways how to do this further below.

Look at the title of the chart/graph and the question. These show you what you need to write
Don’t copy all the words in the question

You can’t do this as if you do the examiner will not count those words towards your 150 words

Change some of the words in the question and keep others – don’t try and change all the words

Understand that you can borrow words – it’s just long phrases and whole sentences you can’t repeat. Also see that some words – often technical and common ones – can’t easily be changed

Make sure you state the main topic of the graph/chart etc and you include the main points in the question

 

Learn 5 practical ways to write an introductory statement

1.Read the question – use it to help you – underline key words

This is a typical task 1 question. It comes in two parts. The part in blue never changes. The part in red is different every time. This is where you focus.

The chart below give information about mobile phone ownership as a percentage of the population in the United Kingdom between 2010 and 2015.

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

Very simply all you do is find the key words in the question and underline them. These are what you need to include in your first sentence – just in a slightly different form.

The chart below gives information about mobile phone ownership as a percentage of the population in the United Kingdom between 2010 and 2015.

Focus on the question. It tells you what to write. You just need to change the form slightly
Bonus. if you focus on the question, you’ll avoid some common mistakes such as writing about the wrong time. For instance using the present and not the past

2. Change word forms

You don’t want to try and be too clever and change everything. That will take time. Let the words in the question help you. Borrow them but just change their form. This will show how you can use English flexibly. How do you this? Look at this example:

The chart below gives information about mobile phone ownership as a percentage of the population in the United Kingdom between 2010 and 2015.

This chart shows how the proportion of owners of mobile phones in the United Kingdom increased from 2002 to 2010.

I have used the question to help me

mobile phone ownership becomes owners of mobile phones

 

Look to see what words in the question you know different forms of

3. Paraphrase general/common words

Sometimes you may want to change some words completely. This is what paraphrase means – using a different word with the same meaning.

This is harder to do, so be careful. Make sure that the word you choose does mean the same thing. Don’t try and do this with hard words. Just look for words that you know you can replace

The chart below gives information about mobile phone ownership as a percentage of the population in the United Kingdom between 2010 and 2015.

This chart shows how the proportion of owners of mobile phones in the United Kingdom increased from 2002 to 2010.

Percentage and proportion mean much the same thing. I simply replace one word with the other.

4. Start with “This chart shows how”

All my answers start with “This chart shows” or something very similar. Don’t worry about using this phrase and trying to do something “clever”. Instead think about the word “how” – it will really help you

The chart below gives information about mobile phone ownership as a percentage of the population in the United Kingdom between 2010 and 2015.

This chart shows how the proportion of owners of mobile phones in the United Kingdom increased from 2002 to 2010.

See that when I use the word how I then get to use the word increased. This is a key, key skill. This allows me to identify the main point of the chart – that it goes up. It also allows me to use different word forms.

Look at the chart before you write. Does it go up or down? Does it just show change? You start This chart shows how ….increased/decreased/changed

5. Learn some time phrases

Most – not all – questions involve time. Very often you have a phrase in the question such as “between 2010 and 2015”. Why not change this? There are lots of ways to describe time in English. See here

The chart below gives information about mobile phone ownership as a percentage of the population in the United Kingdom between 2010 and 2015.

This chart shows how the proportion of owners of mobile phones in the United Kingdom increased from 2010 to 2015.

 

Note on introductory statements and summaries

Is the introductory statement the same as a summary statement? No, not really. The introductory statement always comes first. The summary statement can come right at the start in your first paragraph or can be put at the end like a conclusion to an essay.

Even if you put the summary statement in your first paragraph I think it’s best to keep it separate. They do different jobs:

introductory statement = what the chart/graph is about – descriptive task

summary statement = analysis of the main points – thinking task

Be methodical and do one thing at a time. Write the introductory statement first and only then write the summary statement – perhaps right at the end
Get more task 1 help

   

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11 Responses to This chart shows – how to write the first sentence in task 1

  1. Nikolina September 10, 2016 at 8:56 am #

    Hello Dominic This is really helpful but can you do more lessons for task 2 as it is worthy double the marks and it is more hard to write. Thank you

    • Dominic Cole September 11, 2016 at 9:38 am #

      Ok. I see your point. I do need to upgrade this part of the site too.

      Next week I plan a series of essay lessons. I expect to spend the whole week on it.

      What I’ll also be doing is making my older lessons more accessible and user-friendly. There are around 200 essay lessons up there already.

  2. cally September 10, 2016 at 9:05 am #

    Your lessons are mostly for academic Ielts.can I get your lessons on general.thanks

    • Dominic Cole September 11, 2016 at 9:34 am #

      Hi

      You’re right more letters are needed. They will becoming. Some this week.

  3. Kumar September 11, 2016 at 12:27 am #

    Dear Domnic,

    Could you please hint something for task 1, letter writing for GT?

    • Dominic Cole September 11, 2016 at 9:33 am #

      Something coming this week for sure.

      I’m tidying up my site at the mo and seeing what I have and what I need to add. I certainly need more on GT in general. It’s just I’m trying to be systematic about this and concentrate on one thing at a time. For now Im spending most of my time on academic task 1. After that I’ll be adding lots of GT letter materials.

  4. jyoti September 12, 2016 at 9:12 am #

    hi,i read envy tips for writing but what if im not able to brainstorm ideas.It takes for me long to get some ideas.Can you please help me out.

    • Dominic Cole September 12, 2016 at 12:03 pm #

      It’s one of things that may need a bit of practice. It’s a skill and may not come out right immediately. Here are some tips:

      go quickly – don’t worry about spelling or anything like that – it doesn’t matter if some of the words you write down are rubbish – no one sees them but you

      write words not sentences – this helps you go more quickly

      start with simple things and words from the question – don’t worry about ideas – they come from words often

      • preet September 14, 2016 at 1:39 pm #

        hi dominic ..i always find problem in reading and in writting..plz help me..its very difficult for me to use the vocab in writting especially difficult vocab..moreover i want to improve thwse 2 modules in easy way

        • Dominic Cole September 14, 2016 at 1:54 pm #

          I’ll do my best. It may be though that the best place to start is to use that the vocabulary you have already but better. It can be a mistake to try and use “hard” words.

  5. mohamed September 21, 2016 at 12:22 pm #

    thanks a lot ^_^

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