Essay organization for the IELTS Task 1 Essay

Question Mark by Horia Varlan via Flickr (creative commons)

I was just asked a good question about the format of the essay for Task 1. A reader asked, “Do you need to write a conclusion for Task 1?”

My answer is – “No”, you don’t need a conclusion for Task 1 because it is NOT an argumentative essay where you need to have an introduction, main body paragraphs that develop your argument, and a conclusion. This is a short essay that summarizes and explains the important information that is shown in graphs or charts.

I suggest sticking to the same 4 – paragraph formula for this task:

  1. Introduction paragraph (really one sentence that paraphrases the title of the graph/chart/diagram)
  2. Overview/Summary paragraph – You clearly identify 2 main features or trends/patterns of the data in the graph.
  3. Detail paragraph of the first main feature/trend.
  4. Detail paragraph f the second main feature/trend.

That’s all you need. As long as you can clearly summarize or give an overview in that second paragraph, then support it with the key details in the following paragraphs, that will fulfill the task.

Some people may want to put that overview/summary paragraph at the end of the essay as a “conclusion”, but I prefer putting it straight after the introduction because:

1) It guides your reader and makes it much easier for them to understand the data you’re describing

2) It makes it easier for you as you plan and write the essay. Once you decide on the main trends/features and write it down, writing the detail paragraphs become easier for you because you already know what you have to write.

3) If, for some reason, you are running out of time, at least the main important part is written down early on with the detail paragraphs very brief.

Here are some sample full essays for Task 1:

Sample essay – technology access in the UK

Sample essay – birth and death rates in NZ

I’ll be adding more, so check back or subscribe to my website!



I'm an English teacher specializing in IELTS preparation - especially writing and reading. If you have any questions, please ask! You can also sign up for weekly tips and lessons for IELTS and English!

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