Saturday, June 9, 2018

IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 - Key Words and Phrases List

In Task 1 of the Academic IELTS exam, candidates are asked to summarize a diagram, graph, table or chart of some sort (oftentimes more than one) in a descriptive text of at least 150 words. 

As previously mentioned in my blog post IELTS: How To Grade Your Writing, examiners are looking for a wide lexical range, which in layman's terms means vocabulary. They want to see that a candidate can use a variety of words or phrases to navigate through a factual, academic description.

Therefore, a selection of words are bound to be required by candidates so that they can clearly present the most important facts seen in the rubric (i.e. the question given). 

In the case of process descriptions, this selection of words is not easy to pinpoint. The only phrases that may be of use for students are ones that have to do with 

  • sequencing: putting things in order one after the other
  • addition: adding information
  • contrast: comparing two or more different things
  • comparison: comparing two or more similar things

Sequencing / Chronological Order
First
Firstly
In the first place
At first
First of all
To begin with
Initially
First of all
Second
Secondly
Next
Then
Up to then
Besides
Finally
Lastly
In the end
On top of that
Before
Since then
Until
So far
After (that)
Afterwards
At the same time
Meanwhile
While
As soon as
Subsequently







 










Addition
Furthermore
Moreover
In addition to this
What is more
Likewise
In the same way
Also
Too
Besides
Equally
Similarly
In fact
Indeed
An additional … (noun + verb)
A similar … (noun + verb)
Another … (noun + verb)
A further … (noun + verb)





















Contrast
Though
Although
Even though
But
Instead
In contrast
On the contrary
On the other hand
However
Still
Yet
Nevertheless

Nonetheless
Whereas
While
In spite of
Despite
… different from …
… differ(s) from / differ(s) in
Unlike
Dissimilar





















Comparison
In the same way
Similarly
Likewise
Compared with
In comparison with
As
Just as
The same as
Similar to
Both … and …
Alike
Not only … but also
… bears resemblance to
… in common with
in like manner
as well as
Also














With all other graphs, charts or tables that do not show a process but give numbers and percentages, candidates will have to compare increases and decreases. Therefore the following words and phrases are useful:




Nouns
Rise
Increase
Peak
Dip
Growth
Boost
Surge
Upsurge
Hike
Upswing
Climb
Fluctuation
Doubling
Tripling
Quadrupling
Fall
Drop
Decline
Reduction
Lessening
Stability
Steadfastness
Plateau





















Verbs
Rise
Increase
Peak
Dip
Drop
Grow
Boost
Surge
Climb
Fall
Shrink
Double
Triple
Quadruple
Decline
Reduce
Lessen
Curb
Diminish
Dwindle
Wane
Fluctuate





















Adjectives & Adverbs
Sharp (sharply)
Dramatic (dramatically)
Considerable (considerably)
Steady (steadily)
Slight (slightly)
Gentle (gently)
Gradual (gradually)
Relative (relatively) 
Progressive (progressively)
Slow (slowly)
Great (greatly)
Substantial (substantially)
Noticeable (noticeably)
Sizable (sizably)
Appreciable (appreciably)

Continuous (continuously)
Moderate (moderately)
Abrupt (abruptly)
Marked (markedly)
Distinct (distinctly)
Insignificant (insignificantly)
Negligible (negligibly)
Modest
Striking
Startling
Impressive
Major
Minor
Meager
























Phrases
Remain the same
Remain stable
Remain / stay constant
Reach a plateau
Reach a peak
Hit a low point in the chart
Fall to the lowest point of the graph
Reach the highest point in the graph















The most important thing is to combine different nouns with adjectives, verbs with adverbs and shift from nouns to verbs and vice versa every time you make a point in your summary of a graph. Never use the same words twice when talking about an increase or decrease.

Examples:

The percentage of book sales in the county in 1984 surged to reach 77% but subsequently interest dwindled and so by 1994 after a considerable drop, the percentage dipped to a negligible 12%.

The number of car owners in the first half of the last decade fluctuated between 84% and 93%. This trend changed in the second half of that same decade, with figures remaining steady at 97% of the population of the city in question.

An impressive 95% of respondents stated that the reason they decided to study at undergraduate level was to improve their chances of finding a job, whereas the remaining 5% said it was out of personal interest.

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