Yes, there are maps in Task 1! Task 1 can be visual data of any kind -
- a diagram of an organization,
- a flowchart
- a process, e.g., how something is made,
- a cycle e.g., the rain cycle or the lifecycle of an animal or insect or
- a cycle e.g., carbon dioxide moving from the atmosphere to the ground or how electricity is distributed
- maps showing change or growth or development
- …and of course graphs, tables, or charts!
Here’s what the official website says:
In Task 1 candidates are asked to describe some visual information (graph/table/chart/diagram), and to present the description in their own words. They need to write 150 words in about 20 minutes.
So you need to be ready for all of these. Too many people preparing for IELTS spend hundreds of hours learning how to describe graphs and charts, but not enough time trying to describe diagrams or other types of data.
In all of these, the key is to be objective. Remove “I” and “you” and “we” from Task 1: you can use them to your heart's content in Task 2.
Identify the main trends (patterns or changes over time or key stages in a process or cycle). Work out if two or more things are being compared (over time, between countries, between places) and use comparison language if so. Work out the relationship between different parts of the graphs or data.
Have an overview. You cannot get Band 6 in Task 1 without an overview. I strongly recommend putting it in the first paragraph. Use paragraphs - at least two (an intro and a body) or three (an intro , a body and a conclusion). Yes, it’s not
Don’t spend more than 20 or 22 minutes on Task 1
(Have a look at the official descriptors for IELTS Task 2 Writing (public version) here, under Task Achievement.)
Highlight, underline, circle key data or parts of the graph/map. Write related words to the prompt.
- Do not explain. Do not refer to history or anything else. Keep all opinions to yourself. You should use nothing other than the data in the paper.
- Do not give cause and effect, unless this is specifically stated in the task.
- Do not use any subjective adjectives or adverbs like ‘surprisingly,’ ‘amazingly,’or ‘interestingly.’
- Do not give recommendations, advice or suggestions. If the task has data about vaccinations, do not say that “it is very important for all parents to vaccinate their children.”
- If the task is about China or Mexico, do not add information about Uzbekistan or Italy. Limit yourself to the information in the task.
- Do not use a conversational style.
- Don’t state the obvious - there is no need to say that the ‘X axis shows this’ and the ‘Y-axis shows that.’ Focus on the meaning behind the data.
The reason there are two tasks is to test two very different kinds of writing: objective scientific description in Task 1 (perhaps with many passives and data), and subjective opinions in Task 2.
Write 150 words. Do not repeat the question - rephrase it unless the words are too technical and cannot be rephrased without changing the meaning.
Remember that most data concerns humans. If it is a graph, don’t say ‘the line goes up’ or ‘the line goes down’ – instead, say that ‘almost two million Americans were out of work’ or ‘the number of unemployed people rose sharply.’
Use a variety of vocabulary. Too many writers use the same words even though they only have 150 words to write. Don’t waste the opportunity!