Top Tips for IELTS

Numbers exercise for IELTS task 1

Perhaps the most important language for academic task 1 in IELTS is the language of numbers. You get to use this in just every task so it’s worth practising it and getting it right. This lesson has a numbers exercise for IELTS task 1 focussing on:

the language of approximation

some basic maths!

Let’s try some basic maths

Try this drag and drop exercise to make sure you know the basic maths language. The idea is that IELTS is a language test and you need to be able to use words when you write about numbers.

Get some help with numbers

The fractions are:

50% = a half

33% = a third

25% =  a quarter

20% = a fifth

10% = a tenth

5% = just a small faction

66% = two thirds

75% = three quarters

Other useful expressions

10% = one in ten

20% = two in ten etc etc

over 50% = a majority

under 50% = a minority

Now try some more complex stuff

One problem with IELTS is that the numbers you are given are generally not exact numbers. They are usually approximate numbers. Here it is important that you are accurate in how you describe these figures: nearly a fifth is not the same as a fifth

Try the drag an drop exercise below to see what you know. If you have any difficulty, there is more help below

Get help with approximate language

Approximate words

All these words have the same general meaning. They mean that a number is about correct. They can mean either more of less than the number:

eg 52% and 48% are both approximately a half



in the region of

more or less


Less words

These words are different because they mean the number is less and not more than the exact figure.

eg 48% is almost a half and not more than a half



just under

More words

These words are the opposite. They show the number is greater than the exact figure

more than


Exact words

Sometimes you get a number that is exact. If you do, the best advice is to say that it is exact! Here are some words to help:




Now try a pie chart exercise

This exercise has a pie chart that looks just like an IELTS pie chart. How well can you do?


More help with task 1Some basic number language How to compare and contrast numbers


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33 Responses to Numbers exercise for IELTS task 1

  1. harry April 17, 2014 at 3:51 am #

    thank a lot for this
    its really helpful 🙂

    • priyanka October 19, 2014 at 9:01 am #

      i felt d same

  2. Alejandra April 22, 2014 at 8:33 am #

    Very good excercises! thanks We need more please!

  3. thebeautyofenglish April 26, 2014 at 4:16 pm #

    Hi Dominic,

    Despite being a great post, could you please provide some more examples as to how they are used in a graph? Or perhaps write a whole report on it (if it is not too much to ask)?

    For instance, the following sentence has been taken out from one of my reports and I have been told I used “three quarters” wrongly and I don’t understand why, since it is equivalent to 75%.

    “It can be seen from the second graph that around half of this three quarters of computer possession (75%) was of postgraduate students”.

    Thanks for your help in advance.

    • Dominic Cole April 26, 2014 at 4:38 pm #


      Next month is my task 1 month – I hope that isn’t too late for you. I’ll try and post something on this asap for you.

      • thebeautyofenglish April 26, 2014 at 4:51 pm #

        I am sitting the exam within one month actually so I hope I get the chance to check that out in time!

        Once again, thanks for your help!

    • Dominic Cole April 27, 2014 at 7:14 pm #

      There’ll be a post coming out tomorrow especially for you. I hope it helps.

      • thebeautyofenglish May 8, 2014 at 9:39 am #

        Thousands of thanks! It did help indeed.

        • hukudu June 16, 2016 at 8:04 am #

          ok..good job bro

      • Habibi November 6, 2016 at 9:44 am #

        Teacher dominic please pray for me cause I have final exams for tommorrow

  4. Anna May 10, 2014 at 10:04 am #

    Thank you so much for sharing us your knowledge. What my friend says about you is true. Thanks to her. I get to answer IELT tasks and tutorial for free! God bless you!

  5. Wasif June 12, 2014 at 11:12 am #

    Dominic this is very informative & use full exercise, i am very thankful for you post
    May GOD bless you

  6. Abdisalam June 14, 2014 at 10:59 am #

    This is how I did following your guidelines. Your comments are highly appreciated.

    This pie chart shows the different modes of transport that people travel to work in Combridge. It is worth-noting that there are six main types of transport and that car, bicycle and public bus account for nearly 90 percent of transportation.

    The single most important mode of transport being private car which is approximately a thir. Cycling and bus are also very significant modes of transportation at 30% and 19% respectively.

    Around a tenth of cummuters travel by train while nearly a fifth of the population decide to take bus when they commute.

    It is aso of interest that only a small fraction of people use a taxi to get to work.

  7. pratibha June 28, 2014 at 10:44 am #

    too good … really very helpfull

  8. sandeep July 28, 2014 at 7:52 pm #

    Really awesome exercises ,,,thanks a lot

  9. amal August 7, 2014 at 10:35 am #

    thanks alot for these valuable tests

  10. ren October 17, 2014 at 5:25 am #

    its really helpful…thank you..

  11. Hannah Blesson October 22, 2014 at 7:47 am #

    Thank you so much sir.. your lessons are soooo……… good and it is really working out.

  12. jan November 5, 2014 at 3:12 pm #

    I love this really help me a lot

  13. Avaya Kumar Chaudhary November 6, 2014 at 2:56 am #

    awesome…very useful…keep it upgrading

  14. Hazem Zayter November 8, 2014 at 1:15 am #

    Thanks Dominic…very nice and helpful training on using numbers in math

  15. Amany Abdelmeguid December 1, 2014 at 1:57 am #

    Dominic, many thanks for this wonderful website, I was having a headache because of the writing tasks but thanks to you I started to have a great hope that I will achieve my goal in writing and hopefully in the rest of the exam. I like the idea of your exercises very much as instead of putting the model answer for the pie chart and we can memorize it or copy it, your exercises help us to understand the technique and even to practice them in an indirect way. For instance, I wrote a description for the pie chart using the numbers language that you taught earlier to the exercise, then I started to solve the exercise and compare the language that you used with mine. That was very helpful for me, I really didn’t dare and didn’t know how to write a report for a pie chart before this exercise. I really appreciate your sincere work to help others. God bless you.

  16. nina December 21, 2014 at 1:40 pm #

    Your blog is very helpful. Thanks! 🙂

  17. Fardin December 30, 2014 at 2:52 pm #

    Thanks alot!

  18. RAVIN March 15, 2015 at 8:51 pm #

    The lessons and posts are very helpful. Amazing stuff. Keep up the good work. (Y)

  19. Anonymous March 17, 2015 at 11:44 am #

    it is very helpful for me.thanks

  20. Bunny B May 1, 2015 at 3:43 pm #

    Thanks very much for the exercises. They’re all very helpful.

    Do you have essays correction service?

  21. Anonymous May 21, 2015 at 9:27 am #

    Really helpful..goodness would come back as boomerang !! Wishing you the best thanks again

  22. Khairil August 24, 2015 at 6:52 am #

    I tried to do this chart. below is my answer. can someone please comment and suggest ways to improve it? Thanks in advance 😉

    The pie chart depicts ways of travelling to work by the people of Cambridge. From the chart, it can be seen that there are two types of travelling methods, which are public transportation and private transportation.

    Generally, there were three modes of public transportation, namely train, bus and taxi. Bus carried the most percentage with 19%, while there was slightly less than 10% of the population used train and the least was using taxi a small with a mere 2%.
    Meanwhile, there was a whopping 70% of the population traveled to work on their own, either by car, bicycle or on foot. Over a third of people chose to go to work by cars, while there was three in every ten people cycled to work.

    To conclude, people in Cambridge preferred to use private transportation instead of public transportation to go to work.

  23. M~M September 8, 2015 at 8:43 am #

    thank you it was very helpful for my writing task.

  24. Anonymous June 16, 2016 at 8:07 am #

    its very helpful

  25. richa June 19, 2016 at 7:07 am #

    sir,how to do matches..?

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