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IELTS Writing Task 1: avoid common mistakes

Here's some advice to help you avoid common mistakes in IELTS writing task 1:

  1. Don't copy the question for your introduction. You should paraphrase the question (i.e. rewrite it using some different words).
  2. Don't forget to separate your paragraphs clearly.
  3. Don't forget to write a good summary/overview of the information. A quick one-sentence conclusion is not good enough. I prefer to put the overview straight after the introduction, and I try to write 2 sentences describing the information in general. You won't get a high score if you don't write a good overview.
  4. Don't describe items separately (e.g. 2 lines on a graph). You should always try to compare things if it is possible to do so. Instead of describing 2 lines separately, compare the 2 lines at key points.
  5. Don't try to describe every number on a chart or graph (unless there are only a few numbers). A key skill in task 1 is being able to select the key information and describe or compare it well. I usually mention around 6 or 7 numbers in my main paragraphs.
  6. Don't spend longer than 20 minutes on task 1. Practise spending 5 minutes on each of your 4 paragraphs. Stop yourself after 20 minutes; remember that task 2 is worth more marks.

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