Writing Task 1 | Line Graphs Series

IELTS Lessons, written by Sam Morgan and Tom Speed

Many students struggle to write effectively about line graphs in Academic Writing Task 1. This is the first post in a series that will help you to understand line graphs and teach you the vocabulary you need to accurately write about them.

​The first step is to look at graphs and read descriptions of them. You can copy the vocabulary that you read while doing the activity and use it when you are writing.

Exercise 1

First have a look at the 8 different line graphs. How would you describe them?

Now drag the descriptions onto the graphs (use the full-screen option on mobile devices).

Exercise 2

Reread the descriptions of the graphs in the previous activity. Think about the verbs that are used to describe changes in data. Match the verbs to the descriptions by dragging and dropping.

Note that in this case the verbs are in the past tense.

Note: In statement 8 above ‘the trend was downward‘, ‘downward’ is an adjective, not a verb, and is used to describe the trend.

It is common in Academic Task 1 for the data to be from the recent past and so the past tense must be used. All of these verbs are in the activities in this class are in the past tense. Do you know the present tense verbs? Check a dictionary and make a note of the present tense verbs as well.

Note that in task 1 we are expected to provide data, not just descriptions. Click the box below to find out how to do this.

How can we add data to our descriptions?

To do this we need to use prepositions. Study the prepositions used in the examples below.
Note that these prepositions are used for amounts of coffee, not time. We should also use prepositions for adding time detail, but that is for another lesson.

​a) Sales of coffee declined and then leveled off at (+ low level value).

b) Sales of coffee decreased by (+ amount lost) and then increased by (+ amount gained).

c) Sales of coffee fluctuated around (+ central value in the middle of the fluctuationand then dropped to (+ final low value).

d) Sales of coffee rose over the period to (+ final high value).

e) Sales of coffee climbed by (+ amount gained) and then fluctuated between (+ high value of fluctuation) and (+ low value of fluctuation).

f) The general trend was downward but the sales of coffee fluctuated towards the end of the period between (+ high value of fluctuation) and (+ low value of fluctuation).

g) Sales of coffee fell over the period by (+ amount lost).

h) Sales of coffee remained steady over the period at (+ steady value).