Top Tips for IELTS

Practice in how to organise a paragraph in task 1

This is an exercise to help you write task 1 reports more quickly and more coherently. It is based on two key ideas

Key idea 1 – you should use paragraphs in task 1

Key idea 2 – your paragraphs should be organised coherently

Key idea 3 – sometimes it makes sense to use similar structures for your paragraphs – especially when you have two charts with similar data

I explain these ideas very briefly and then give you a task below.

Understand the band score criteria

To see why this matters you need to look at the band score criteria for task 1. See these two extracts.

logically organises information and ideas

uses paragraphing sufficiently and well

Read a model paragraph

This paragraph is taken from my lesson on two pie charts. It summarises this chart


In 1984 around two thirds of the workforce had studied for a scientific degree with exactly one third just having a first degree. In contrast only a third had studied for an arts degree, with around 20% having a first degree and 10% a masters. It is also notable how just over half the workforce only had a first degree and that less than 10% had PhDs.

Note the organisation

See how the paragraph is not a random collection of numbers but is carefully organised. I describe in turn:

science degrees  (combining all the numbers)

arts degrees (combining all the numbers)

first degrees and PhDs (combining the numbers again)

Also note how I start by stating what the paragraph is about (1984) and also use linkers to join my sentences together and show what is important:

In contrast 

It is also notable how

Your task

Your task is to write the second paragraph summarising this chart

IELTS pie chart employees


The idea of this task is to focus on these precise skills.

Organise the paragraph logically

A very sensible idea is to borrow the same structure as the first paragraph.

It’s the simple thing to do and simple is good in IELTS.

It’s also the logical thing to do as the the charts show similar data. Logical is also good!

It’s also the practical thing to do – it helps you write more quickly. No need to re-invent the wheel as we say.

I suggest this model:

[science degrees].

[arts degrees]

[first degrees] [masters] [PhDs]

It’s a good model to follow as it focuses on the bigger numbers first and then goes onto look at smaller numbers. There is also a major transition phrase (it is also notable) when I focus on the different idea of types of degree.

And remember to make comparisons

As you do this you should also remember to compare what has changed from 1984. To help you these are the points you need to include.

higher proportion of science degrees

lower proportion of arts degrees

fall in proportion of first degrees

rise in proportion of masters and higher degrees generally.

Read my version

Feel free to post your version of the paragraph as a comment here for others to look at. You can also see how you have done by reading my version of the paragraph in this lesson.


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