Writing Task 1 – How to write the Process or Diagram Essay

You may have read my approach to the Task 1 essay for graphs and charts. The process/diagram essay should also have 4 consistent paragraphs.

Once you’ve practiced this approach, you should feel much more confident in how to tackle  a diagram. You can use this strategy every time.

Here we go:

  1. Look at the diagram carefully. Make sure you understand the process and all the labels.
  2. Identify the different main stages of the process. If there are lots of steps, can you group them into stages from the beginning to end?

Once you’re clear on the stages and steps (mark them out on the paper so you can easily see it), plan on writing 4 paragraphs:

  1. Introduction. This is actually one sentence which paraphrases the explanation of the process in the task question.
  2. Overview of the process by stating the main stages from the beginning to the end. Don’t mention the individual steps (save those for paragraphs 3 & 4). You can state what happens at the very beginning and the end result.
  3. (Divide the stages in two). Start describing the first steps in the first stages.
  4. Describe the steps in the later stages, ending with the final result.

Here’s a recent example from ielts.org’s sample Task 1.

The diagram below shows the process by which bricks are manufactured for the building industry.



Here’s the essay organization:

  1. Introduction. Paraphrase the task question – The diagram illustrates how bricks are made in the construction industry.
  2. Describe the overview of the process. It’s divided into 4 stages: digging for clay & filtering it;  making mixture & forming bricks; drying/baking/cooling;  packaging & delivery. I divided it this way so it’s easy to divide into 2 paragraphs.
  3. First 2 stages: digging for clay & filtering it; making mixture & forming bricks.
  4. Last 2 stages: drying/baking/cooling; packaging & delivery.

Remember, no conclusion is needed for Task 1. You are only describing a process.

* For my full sample essay for this task, see here.

I will post more examples later. If you have any questions, please ask!


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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  1. […] previously wrote about how to organize and write your diagram/process essay for Task 1. Below I’ve written a full essay following that 4-paragraph […]

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