Preparing a plan for Task 1
NOTE: This post is for the Academic Module writing test
NOTE 2: Click here for a lesson preparing a plan for Task 2
As with any formal writing, it is important to prepare a plan before you start writing the final draft. This is especially true in the IELTS test when there is not enough time to rewrite your report if you want to make significant changes.
However, with only 20 minutes to complete Task 1, you need to be able to prepare a plan quickly. Take a look at the graph below. What steps would you take to prepare your plan?
The graph shows the most popular sports watched by different age groups in an
Write a report for a university lecturer describing the information shown below.
The 5-step process for preparing a plan for Task 1
Now let’s look at a 5 step process you can apply to all Task 1 reports (apart from processes, which require a different set of skills).
- Step 1: Is there a time or date given that would affect which tense I should use?
- Step 2: What are the topic words in the question
- Step 3: What is the graph or table about?
- Step 4: What is being measured on the bottom and left hand side (the axes)?
- Step 5: Are there any general/notable trends?
Now let’s apply these 5 steps to the graph shown above
Step 1: Is there a time or date given that would affect which tense I should use?
No date is given, so you can use either the present tense or the past tense.
Step 2: What are the topic words in the question?
This graph focuses on the most popular sports watched by different age groups in an average European city
Step 3: What is the graph or table about?
Percentage of different age ranges watching different sports
Step 4: What is being measured on the bottom and left hand side (the axes)?
There are a number of details to note here: Per cent / three age ranges / six sports / people measured in 1000s
Step 5: Are there any general/notable trends?
The 15-25 age category is always lowest (less than half for cricket and athletics). Soccer, tennis and cricket are most popular with the oldest age group. Soccer is the closest for all age ranges. No young people watch golf. The 26-40 age group have the least variation in numbers between sports.
Step 6: Considering what you noted in Steps 4 and 5, what’s the best paragraph organisation?
For this graph, you could organise your paragraphs by highest and lowest, by sport or by age group. However, looking at Step 5, the trends are mostly age related, so it would be logical to organise your paragraphs by age.
Given that you only have 20 minutes to prepare your plan, it’s a lot easier and quicker to summarise your plan to look more like this:
|Tense?||Present OR past tense|
|Topic words?||most popular sports / watch / different age groups / average European city|
|About?||Percentage of different age ranges watching different sports|
|Measured?||Per cent / three age ranges / six sports / people measure in 1000s|
Using the Task 1 plan you’ve prepared
Now work trhough the steps you created in the plan to build your essay. Use Step 1 throughout the essay. Combine Steps 2, 3 and 4 to write your introduction. Use Steps 5 and 6 to organise paragraphs.
Now read the complete report built using the 5 point plan:
The bar chart illustrates three popular sports in a typical city in Europe, presented as the type of sport, the number of spectators in attendance, and across different age categories.
A notable trend is that people aged between 15 and 25 ranked the lowest regardless of sport. In this age category, golf was not watched at all, and the number of athletics and cricket spectators were less than half of both other age groups.
The middle age group had the least variation between spectator numbers, with soccer being the highest at approximately 32,000 spectators and athletics the lowest at 24,000. This age range accounted for the highest number of viewers for both rugby and athletics.
Those people aged 41 or over accounted for the highest number of spectators of most sports, particularly golf and cricket with over one third more people watching than the second highest age range.
Of all the sports, cricket and golf showed the widest disparity between the age groups, with soccer being the sport that drew the most even numbers of spectators.