Top Tips for IELTS

Academic task 1 conclusions

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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

You may want one if:
  1. your introduction is weak and merely rewords the title of the chart/graph and doesn’t pick out any main points
  2. you have only written one “content paragraph” in which case it may  not be easy to see what the main points are
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Your task

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 next

Get more task 1 advice Learn how to write the first sentence in task 1

Find some more good advice

This excellent advice comes from Free IELTS course – highly recommended.

Do you need to write an overview in Academic IELTS task 1.


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34 Responses to Academic task 1 conclusions

  1. Dominic Cole January 17, 2010 at 5:17 pm #

    Here is my version. Yours may be better.

    In conclusion, we can see that more women were employed in Freedonia in 1995, but this depended on the sector.

    • Anonymous September 21, 2015 at 10:16 am #

      The given graph describes the numbers of male and female emplyees who worked in various profession in Freedonia in 1975 and 1995.It gives an immediate impression that men outnumber women in all employment sectors in 1975 as compare to 1995 which show more women were employed in various sectors.
      Generally,Civil Public sector remained the most popular sector among men in both years(0.85 millions).The Whole sale sector(0.7 million)and Manufacturing(.065 million) and Communication(0.3 million) which were also remained unchanged.Although Banking showed slight uprise of 0.1 million men employees in 1995,the Defence sector was less popular in males as compare to 1975.However Defence remained the least popular job sector in both years compared.
      On the other hand,more women started to work in the same sectors in 1995 as compare to 20 years earlier data.Two professions which showed even women were employed more than men in 1995 were Whole sale sector(0.8 millions) and Communication (0.55 million) as compare to 1975 data which were near to 0.55 million and 0.25 million respectively.The Finance and Millitory sectors also gained popularity among womens in 1995.Civil and Manufacturing sectors showed no difference after 20 years survey.

  2. Loke January 20, 2010 at 1:27 pm #

    My conclusion: In my opinion, my women entered the work force in Freedonia in 1995. Probably more women received education over the years from 1975. (Do you think my last sentence is unnecessary? Like you said we shouldn’t use our own opinions or deduce the reasons behind the trend?)

    • Dominic Cole January 20, 2010 at 7:48 pm #

      Definitely do not include the bit about women getting more education. There is nothing shown in the graph about this. Also the “in my opinion” is wrong too. There is no opinion involved in this exercise: it is just to describe what you see.

      It is for just this reason that I used to teach people not to write a conclusion – you want (and it is quite natural) to make intelligent deductions about the chart/graph but it is not part of the task.

    • Anonymous April 8, 2016 at 7:52 am #

      You can not write my opinion in task 1

  3. John February 14, 2010 at 10:42 am #

    This is a useful website for helping to improve your IELTS. I also saw that at you can get an IELTS tutor to help improve your IELTS writing. It was very useful for me as well.

  4. RFID Reader April 16, 2010 at 5:10 pm #

    Thanks for good information that comes out to


  5. Name July 28, 2010 at 1:11 pm #

    Hi Mr. Cole,

    I will be taking my IELTS exam and I am wondering if you could help me with my writing task. May I post some writing task samples that I have made and would you please check it for me.

    Thank You,

  6. eza September 29, 2010 at 4:30 am #

    Dear Cole,
    I just found your blog and I think it is really helpful.

    In conclusion, the number of employees increased in most sectors in both men and women.

  7. Preston Thuss November 10, 2010 at 12:42 am #

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  8. chini January 17, 2011 at 12:36 pm #

    a very interesting and helpfull site thanks all

  9. Viola June 15, 2011 at 2:47 pm #

    Dear Mr. Cole

    Your website is by far the most helpful & most professional in preparing for IELTS. Thanks a million & Deepest appreciation.

    My summary is:

    To sum up, it is evident that more women became employed in Freedonia in 1995 who even outnumbered men in some sectors.

  10. Gerda June 22, 2011 at 9:08 pm #

    MM,i saw this blog too late,my exam tomorrow:)

  11. Ernest Ouimet July 26, 2011 at 6:50 am #

    Dear Mr. Cole,
    Please accept my greatest thanks for your website. as an IELTS speaking teacher I have been using your videos and website for my students in China. The other day one of my students ask me who to believe her Chinese writing teacher or your website. I told her if she wanted to achieve her greatest score to do as you recommended.
    I appreciate all the different modules that you have expanded on with your website for it is easy for non-native learners to navigate through. The other aspect you answer most of their questions and my class has become easier at times.
    From all my students and myself a great THANK YOU

    • Dominic Cole July 26, 2011 at 7:52 am #

      Thanks for your comment. My answer on who to believe is that normally there is no one right answer and different teachers have different styles and so do learners. What I tell my own class is to try different things out and see what works for them.

      If the particular question relates to the need for a conclusion in task 1, I feel comfortable saying that you do not have to one all the time. Sometimes you will, sometimes you won’t – it depends on the graphs/charts you are given and how you write. If you do not have a conclusion at then end, you may have one sentence in your introduction that summarises the key features of the charts/graphs or you may simply use the introductions of your paragraphs (those topic sentences) as mini-conclusions to show what the key features are.

  12. Muntasir December 28, 2011 at 10:52 am #

    Thank you very Much Mr. Cole. I am trying to achieve 8 in writing and unfortunately still struggling with it, mostly due to the lack of sentence structural variety. For this graph, i have written couple of sentences. Will you please kind enough to check them for me. Regards.

    The graph illustrates the difference in the number of male and female workers in different employment sectors in two individual years, 1975 and 1995.

    It is immediately clear from the graph that, in both mentioned years, the highest amount of men workers served in non-defence sector at approximately 880,000, where as defence was the least popular sector falling by almost 25000 to 200000. If we compare the other sectors, we can see that, in those sectors there was very little or no difference in the amount of male employees.

    By contrast, in 1995, communications and whole sale and retail jobs were served by more females than males. In communication sector this number was double at just under 600000, while it was half in manufacturing at 250000. In comparison to 1975, in 1995 four times as many women worked in finance and banking related jobs, figured at about 425000.

    One can draw a conclusion that, more women joined the work force by 1995.

    • Dominic Cole December 31, 2011 at 11:15 am #

      Sorry I simply don’t have the time to comment extensively on this. It is clear to me though that you have the language to get your band score 8. Be a little careful with your articles. the communication sector. draw the conclusion.

  13. ALEXIS December 28, 2011 at 11:45 pm #

    In my opinion, the conclusion is necessary for one significant reason: the task say “write a report…”. Do you know any report (academic or professional) without conclusion? The confusion emerge from the word “describing”. It doesn’t mean “without conclusion”, it does mean “without an opinionative conclusion”. For this, the candidate should introduce a “descriptive” one. This is, in my opinion, the reason why most (or all) of Cambridge books introduce conclusions in their WT1 samples.
    Thanks for your blog! It is really helpful!

  14. farshid February 5, 2012 at 3:08 pm #

    Conclusively, after 20 years women were more interested in working outside. Also, the number of male employees didn’t have a major change.

  15. Rena February 9, 2012 at 7:17 am #

    Hi Mr.cole,

    Your website is really helping me to learn a lot. I am aiming for a score of 8. Thank you for your contribution.

  16. rahiba August 17, 2013 at 1:47 am #

    The ‘amount’ of men or the ‘number’ of men?

    • Dominic Cole September 15, 2015 at 2:00 pm #


      Thanks for this. It’s now corrected. My grammar is actually very good – honestly. It’s just that I have a blind spot here – many native speakers – even educated ones do.

  17. Rowena January 19, 2014 at 11:10 pm #

    In conclusion, there are a couple of job sector have increased there women employees than male in 1995, however, majority of companies would prefer men employees than women in both years.

  18. Rowena January 19, 2014 at 11:11 pm #

    please check my conclusion. I will take ielts exam 1st of february so every small things helps.

  19. Elena February 10, 2014 at 1:22 am #

    To sum up, the number of women employed has significantly went up whereas the men employees remain steady.

  20. Jiyang November 26, 2014 at 6:30 am #

    To conclude, proportion of female employees had improved a lot within the two decades, although in certain sectors such gaps remained.

  21. lizhi0007 December 26, 2014 at 6:46 am #

    Hi Mr Cole,

    Can you tell me what different are between a general trend and a conclusion?
    How to write them?

  22. Stan January 29, 2015 at 10:49 am #

    Great post – do you have anything on how to how do you write an introduction for an IELTS academic part 1?


  23. Simran March 15, 2015 at 11:24 am #

    In a nut shell, the influence of woman empowerment was majorly scene in sectors like communication and banking. The impact was such that almost same number of women and men were working in banks.In addition to that , a considerable change was noticed in communication field, where more woman were employed than men.As as far as other sectors are concerned no major changes can be viewed even after 20 years.

  24. Oliver May 6, 2015 at 12:06 pm #

    Hello Dominic my name’s Alisher I’m from Kazakhstan. I’d like to ask you about either conclusion must be in writing task 1 or an overview. Please answer as soon as posible ’cause I still haven’t figured out what do I need to write at the exam.

    • Dominic Cole September 15, 2015 at 1:58 pm #


      I’ve just re-written the lesson to make my view clearer. Hope it helps.

  25. RAMAN June 20, 2015 at 2:01 pm #

    Overall, the graph showed that the numbers of females increased in the most categories in 1995, however, the number of males increased in only one sector, which was finance-banking.

  26. iiii January 30, 2016 at 8:52 am #

    is there is conclusion for diagram and flowchart

  27. . February 11, 2016 at 9:46 am #

    its really amazing site.very useful to lets test.very easy to us lot…daily i use this site and learn everything so thank u so much…Ur work is too good..

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