IELTS Writing Part 1: Academic Module

  In IELTS writing part 1 (academic module), the first part is often based on describing a graph/chart or comparing 2 of them. They generally include academic information about standard IELTS topics like unemployment levels or the ages of people who…   One reason why students say this part is difficult is that the topics are unusual to them, as in the speaking test. Another is that they aren’t accustomed to describing and comparing graphics using numbers and percentages. So, they don’t have varied grammar structures and vocabulary.   A good way to tackle these problems is to use information and topics you find interesting, then to learn and use more advanced/varied structures and language. So, here is an extremely visual infographic about American voters in the recent presidential elections and which parties they voted for:     This is perfect for practising your IELTS part 1 writing because it has lots of data. Read through the example sentences below and learn the structures that you don’t know so you can expand your range.  


According to the infographic, 47% of voters were male and 53% female. There was only a 6% difference between the sex of voters, with women accounting for 53% and men 47%. Female voters slightly outnumbered their male counterparts, standing at 53% and 47% respectively.  


The most prevalent ethnic group (of voters) was white, representing 72%. The remaining 28% consisted of blacks with 13%, followed by Hispanics (10%) then Asians (3%). Whereas the last 2% were attributed to others.  

Tip 1

  What’s wrong with these answers? Well, writing a full description of all the information is not often what you are asked to do. If the question says ‘summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features..’ then just describing everything will not earn you points and probably just give you a 5. Thus, you need to find the most important data.   This is a better summary:   The most striking difference regards the ethnicity of voters. A significant 72% were categorised as white, in stark contrast to the 13% of blacks. At the other end of the scale were 10% Hispanics and 3% Asians.  

Tip 2

  It’s also VERY IMPORTANT to avoid adding personal opinions and extra information such as:   as was to be expected far more than 4 years ago an unsurprising…   State the facts and only the facts!    

Final tip

  You only have 150 words so make sure every one counts. A current trend is to write over 150. Some produce 200+. I wouldn’t advise this at all.   If you find this part boring then do like here – choose an interesting topic and practise writing about it. If your weakness is your lack of vocabulary then try learning and using 5 to 10 new words in every writing you do. If you need to work on your structures then learn and use a few of those.        

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