• 3
  •  
  •  
  •  
    3
    Shares

The Most Common Score (because of IELTS overviews)

There are so many students who are taking IELTS every day who are not getting the scores that they deserve. (Check out this YouTube video for more information about it.)

They should be getting a 6 overall (or higher) for Task 1 Writing. But their scores look like this:

Task Achievement: 5

Cohesion & Coherence: 6

Vocabulary: 6

Grammar: 6

Overall: 5.5

That person’s score should be a 6. But it’s not.

And the reason is because they made one minor mistake with their overview.

The band descriptors state:

Writing that does not have an overview at all gets 5.

Writing that does not have a clear overview also gets a 5.

There’s one minor mistake that makes a major difference and stops the vast majority of students every week from writing a clear overview.

 

 

The Minor Mistake

This happens with every type of graph (maybe 75% of the time) but almost 100% with tables.

Here’s a table:

The graph below shows the average number of cups of coffee drunk per minute per person in three countries in 2000 and 2010.

2000

2010

Nepal

1.2

1.1

Vietnam

4.2

4.2

Indonesia

8.7

9.2

For their overview, 99% of students write:

People in Nepal drank the least coffee in both of the years while Indonesians drank the most.

Here’s another example:

The graph below shows the number of tourists (in thousands) visiting different attractions in the United States in 2004 and 2017.

2004

2017

The Grand Canyon

110

108

Yellowstone National Park

231

252

The Golden Gate Bridge

301

234

Disneyland

364

375

Trump Tower

870

952

And another common overview:

Trump Tower had by far the highest total number of visitors in both years surveyed while the Grand Canyon accounted for the lowest number.

The problem with both these overviews is that they just mention the top and the bottom, the high and the low.

That is not an overview – it is only the two key areas.

Both of these students will get 5 for Task Achievement even if the rest of their writing is absolutely amazing.

That’s because the overview requires an overview of all the information.

It is not a summary.

It is not writing about the main factors.

It is like a bird flying over a field seeing everything. You must include everything in your overview or it doesn’t count as an overview.

Are all countries mentioned? Are all tourist attractions mentioned?

If not, it’s not an overview. Task Achievement = 5.

 

How to Fix the Mistake

What can you do to make sure that you include an overview of everything?

Think of your overview as two sentences, not one.

For the first graph:

The graph below shows the average number of cups of coffee drunk per minute per person in three countries in 2000 and 2010.

2000

2010

Nepal

1.2

1.1

Vietnam

4.2

4.2

Indonesia

8.7

9.2

Band 5 Overview (just the high and low): 

People in Nepal drank the least coffee in both of the years while Indonesians drank the most.

Band 6 Overview (all areas included):

People in Nepal drank the least coffee in both of the years while Indonesians drank the most. Vietnamese people occupied the middle position.

Band 7+ Overview (all areas included with more detail): 

People in Nepal drank by far the least coffee in both of the years and there was a slight decline over the years while Indonesians drank considerably more than both other countries, including a small upward trend. Vietnamese people were almost directly in the middle in terms of coffee consumption and there was no change over the years.

You can still mention the top and the bottom as the main information.

Just include one more sentence so that you write about everything.

Same thing with the second graph:

The graph below shows the number of tourists (in thousands) visiting different attractions in the United States in 2004 and 2017.

2004

2017

The Grand Canyon

110

108

Yellowstone National Park

231

252

The Golden Gate Bridge

301

234

Disneyland

364

375

Trump Tower

870

952

Band 5 Overview:

Trump Tower had by far the highest total number of visitors in both years surveyed while the Grand Canyon accounted for the lowest number.

Band 6 Overview:

Trump Tower had by far the highest total number of visitors in both years surveyed while the Grand Canyon accounted for the lowest number. The middle posititions were occupied by Yellowstone National Park, the Golden Gate Bridge and Disneyland.

Band 7+ Overview:

Trump Tower had by far the highest total number of visitors as well as the largest rise in both years surveyed while the Grand Canyon accounted for the lowest number and experienced a small drop off. Trump Tower’s popularity was followed distantly by three attractions with roughly similar numbers: Disneyland, Yellowstone National Park, and the Golden Gate Bridge (the only one of the three to also have a downward trend).

The extra sentence does all the extra work!

 

 

What You Should Do

When you get to the overview in your Task 1 Writing – slow down.

Open your eyes. Write your overview.

Then go back to the graph and tick all the areas to make sure that everything has been mentioned.

Once you have done this, you know you will get at least a 6 for Task Achievement and the score you deserve.

 

Now it’s Your Turn! 

Write an overview for the following table and post it in the comments below or on our Facebook Group:

Image result for table task 1 ielts


  • 3
  •  
  •  
  •  
    3
    Shares

Recommended For You

Sign up for a free

IELTS Writing Task 1 PDF

Get our weekly email for the best IELTS tips.

 

Your email is safe with us, we don't spam.

Thanks for signing up. Check your inbox (including spam) and confirm the link to get your free PDF.