IELTS Writing Task 1 - Academic & General Writing

IELTS Writing Task 1



One of the most difficult sections of the IELTS exam is the Writing section. The Writing section contains two tasks, each of which is important for a good band score. In task 1, students have to write 150 to 200 words in around 20 minutes. This is an integral part of the writing test, whether you are applying for Academic or General. This task aims to check a candidate's ability to describe and analyse visual information and deliver the information clearly and logically.

Typically, the exercise aims to assess the candidate's ability to write in an academic or semi-formal manner, utilising proper syntax and terminology. In this section, we have explained the complete details of IELTS Writing Task 1. If you are going to appear in an upcoming exam, read the information below to understand the test better.

IELTS Writing Task Format

Below, let’s know the format of the IELTS writing task 1 for both academic and general types.

  • Academic Writing Task 1 – The total time of the writing task is 60 minutes, divided into 20 mins for Task 1 and 40 mins for Task 2. Candidates must explain the visual information presented to them in task 1, such as graphs, charts, tables, diagrams, etc., in their own words. The word limit for this task is 150 words.

  • General Writing Task 1 — The total time of the General Writing Test is the same as academic Writing Task 1 for General IELTS. However, in IELTS general writing task 1, you must write either a formal or informal letter on a given subject. The task rubric usually provides three bullet points for you to address in your letter.

How to Prepare for IELTS Writing Task 1

The Writing Task is conducted in both Academic and General IELTS. So, it is important to prepare well for it whether you are going abroad to study or work.

Below, you can find tips on how to prepare for IELTS Academic and General Writing Task 1.

Tips for IELTS Academic Writing Task 1

Here are some tips for IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 that will help you to get a good band score in the exam.

Know the Marking of the IELTS Test

First, you should know the marking criteria to prepare for the IELTS Exam. Knowing what examiners look for and how they mark your score before preparing is essential.

So, basically, there are 4 criteria to mark your score in the IELTS Writing Test.

  • Task Achievement - To what extent have you completed your task?

  • Coherence and Cohesion – What is the logic of the idea, and how have you presented it to express your idea?

  • Lexical Resource – How many words have you used that have close association and relevancy to the topic?

  • Grammatical Range and Accuracy – How many grammatical errors have you made, or what is your task accuracy?

All the criteria mentioned above will define your English proficiency. If you focus on these criteria, you can get a good band score in the IELTS Academic Writing task.

Paraphrase the question

Paraphrasing the question is a way to rewrite it with different words, so the meaning of the sentence will not be changed when you write in your own words.

Candidates who want to boost their scores must know about paraphrasing, as it is essential to the IELTS Writing Test.

There are 3 methods of paraphrasing that you can use in the IELTS Test –

  • Using synonyms

  • Changing the order of words

  • Changing the word form

If you use these methods to paraphrase, you will have a high chance of scoring well in the exam.

Write the overview

When you see any topic, the first thing you will do is make an overview. It is always the main part of every content or task as it defines the whole task in 3-4 sentences (it is a summary of the main points).

If you write an impressive, engaging overview that is clear and coherent, you will easily achieve a band score higher than 6 in IELTS Writing Task 1.

Support the Main Features

Focusing on the main features is important to scoring high in the IELTS Writing Exam. It will help the examiner understand your skills.

Check Your Work

Lastly, check your complete work, grammar mistakes, focus points, spelling, and the meaning of each line and then submit it.

Tips for IELTS General Writing Task 1

Below, we are providing some tips for IELTS General Writing Task 1 that will help you to get a good band score in the exam.

Marking Criteria of General Writing Task

The marking criteria for IELTS General Writing is the same as Academic Writing. The examiner will mark you based on 4 points: task achievement, coherence and cohesion, lexical resource and grammatical range and accuracy.

Write a Letter in Formal or Informal As Asked

In IELTS General Writing Task 1, the questions will be based on formal or informal letters. So, deciding whether the question asked in the exam is formal or informal is important.

If they ask to write an informal letter like writing to a friend, then you must write accordingly. If they ask to write a formal letter, then focus on the formal writing.

Take a New Paragraph for Each Bullet Point

Write one paragraph per bullet point to avoid mixing ideas and clearly present each idea. This will make it easy for the examiner to understand.

Your Letter must be Signed off

Make this simple. You should include a sign-off appropriate for the tone of your message, followed by your name.

Re-check Your Work

Before submitting your task, recheck it to confirm that your letter is error-free and accurate.

Mistakes to Avoid in IELTS Writing Task 1

Many candidates fail to get a good IELTS Band Score. The common mistakes are -

  • Failure to Write a Clear Overview

  • Attempting to Write About Everything

  • Complicates the Question

  • Not Organising Thoughts Logically

  • Incorrectly Describing Data

  • Candidates need to avoid such mistakes in IELTS Writing Task 1 to get a good band score.

IELTS Writing Task 1 Sample Questions

Take a look at some sample questions for both academic and general writing task 1 to get an idea of the type of questions.

Academic Writing Task 1 Sample Questions

Here, we have provided you with the sample questions for Academic Writing Task 1 that will help you know what questions will be asked in the exam.

Q1. Report Writing - The graph below shows average carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per person in the United Kingdom, Sweden, Italy and Portugal between 1967 and 2007.


Q2. Report writing: The chart below shows the number of male and female research students studying six science-related subjects at a UK university in 2009.


General Writing Task 1 Sample Questions

Below, you can check some sample questions for General Writing Task 1. These types of questions will be asked in the exam.

Informal Letter Sample Questions

Q1. You're going on vacation next week and need to ask a friend to care for your dog while you're gone.

Send a letter to a friend. According to your letter,

  • Specify the length of your absence

  • Inform them of what has to be done

  • Specify how you intend to reward them

Q2. Your international friend will be visiting you next month. Write a letter to your friend. According to your letter,

  • Inform them of what they must bring

  • Inform them of their plans for the duration of their visit

  • Warn them about certain potentially difficult situations

Formal Letter Sample Questions

Q1. You recently learnt of an internship opportunity at a local firm you are interested in. Write a letter to the company's director. According to your letter,

Write a letter to the company's director. According to your letter,

  • Please introduce yourself

  • Describe how you found out about the internship

  • Describe why you are qualified for the internship

Q2. You reside in an apartment block but are experiencing issues with your neighbours' behaviour. Send a note to the building management informing him or her of the problem. According to your mail,

  • Describe yourself

  • State the problem as it relates to your neighbours' behaviour

  • Provide ways to cope with the problem

You can practise the IELTS Sample Questions at Prepare IELTS Exam (PI). Our experts have designed the questions and created mock test papers to help students prepare for the IELTS Exam. You can get the papers by logging in here.


The IELTS writing task for both academic and general IELTS has to be completed in 20 minutes.

If you want to do better at IELTS writing task 1, you must have an eye for detail, select the most important information from the given data, and base your report writing on accurate facts. You must practice as much as you can by reviewing numerous sample answers and using them on a daily basis.

The word limit for IELTS writing task 1, both academic and general, is 150 words.

The first academic writing test on the IELTS is relatively easy. For this exercise, you must report the information provided in the question and create an outline. It is important to remember that you refrain from mentioning your opinions or ideas in an overview.

For IELTS writing problem 1, you could occasionally be asked to compare and contrast two categories. You must consider terminology when doing this, such as the usage of superlative and comparative adjectives for comparison, such as high, higher, and the highest, or good, better, and the best.