Academic writing task 1 – How to get a 7 (or more)
This official IELTS document tells you exactly what you need to do to get the score you need in writing task 1:
The examiner will use a version of this document when assessing your letter.
The examiner will use a version of this document to give you a score from 0-9 in each of these areas:
- Task response
- Coherence and cohesion
- Lexical resource [vocabulary]
- Grammatical range and accuracy
These four scores will be combined to give you a total score from 0-9.
How to get a 7 (or more ) for Task Achievement
The table below uses the exact descriptions that are in the IELTS task 1 writing band descriptors document.
You must do ALL of the things in green to get a 7 for Task Achievement.
If you do ANY of the things in red, you won’t get a 7.
Every academic writing task 1 questions says this:
“Summarize the information by  selecting and  reporting the main features, and  make comparisons where relevant.“
So, we can translate the first row in the table (Task requirements) like this.
We can use this information to make an essential list of “Dos” and “Don’ts” for getting a 7 in academic writing task 1.
1. DO have a clear overview of the main trends (in a chart), differences (in a map) or stages (in a process).
Tip: To make your overview really clear, have it in a separate paragraph, talk about the whole time period given and don’t use numbers or data.
2. DO clearly present the most important features (say what they are).
Tip: This includes any obvious similarities or differences (comparisons) that you notice.
3. DO describe the most important features.
4. DO use data and numbers (e.g. 90%, 50 litres, etc.) when describing the most important features in a graph or chart question.
1. DON’T include any irrelevant or inappropriate information.
Tip: In other words, don’t provide your own personal opinion about the information. Just describe what you see.
2. DON’T include any inaccurate information.
Tip: This is especially important when giving numbers shown in a chart or graph.
3. DON’T just describe everything that you see in a “mechanical” or unthinking way.
4. DON’T use bullet points. That would make the format inappropriate.
How to get a 7 (or more) for Coherence and Cohesion, Lexical Resource and Grammar
The IELTS band descriptors for Coherence and Cohesion, Lexical Resource and Grammar are the same in task 1 and task 2.
Watch this video from an ex-IELTS examiner explaining what you need to do to get a 7 in those areas (start at 04m30s).
Jump to a specific part of the video by clicking on the times below:
4:30 Coherence and cohesion: how to get a 7
4:59 Coherence and cohesion: faulty or mechanical cohesion (band 6)
5:16 Coherence and cohesion: example of faulty cohesion (band 6)
5:43 Coherence and cohesion: example of mechanical cohesion (band 6)
6:26 Coherence and cohesion: referencing and substitution (this/that/these, etc.)
8:01 Coherence and cohesion: how to use paragraphs
9:15 Lexical resource (vocabulary): how to get a 7
9:38 Lexical resource (vocabulary): accuracy
10:07 Grammatical range and accuracy: how to get a 7
10:26 Grammatical range and accuracy : frequency of errors
12:25 Summary: what you need for a 7 overall