Three Easy Steps to Writing Academic Task 1 Reports

December 13, 2016 by Angela Rutherford

Step Three: The Opening Statement
Easy Steps to Writing IELTS Tasks

At this point, I hope you have a better understanding of how to prepare for and write reports about IELTS charts, maps and diagrams. So far, we have completed:

Step One – noting general trends (highs, lows, most, least, differences, similarities, stages, changes) and writing about these overall findings in an overview.

Step Two – organizing the trends into two or three paragraphs and selecting key details (data) to illustrate them.

Here, in this post we'll complete the task with Step Three – writing the opening statement

Why are we writing the opening statement last?

  1. It’s not as important as the overview and the details (you can’t get above 5 in your task achievement score without those – see band scores here).
  2. It’s easy and can be written very quickly if you are pressed for time.
  3. You have already done the hard thinking and can confidently state what the visuals show


To get started, here are three truths about the introduction:

     1. It states the purpose of the graphic(s) in the first paragraph.

     2. It can simply be a paraphrase of the given Task One description.

     3. If you copy the Task One description, the words will be deducted from your word count.
And here is something more:
     4. You can integrate parts of your overview within your introduction.

This will show the examiner that you have a clear understanding of the graphic and may potentially improve your score.

To demonstrate how you can elevate your introduction rather than simply paraphrase, I would like to provide both versions (simple and integrated) for you.  Both are correct but I think you will notice why one might get you a higher score. 

We will be referring back to the four Task One examples from Step One and Two. 


 Simple introduction (paraphrase first sentence):

The pie graph illustrates four central kinds of electrical power generation in Canada and the chart shows how much energy is produced from these sources in the three highest yielding provinces.

Integrated introduction (paraphrase with some overview insights):

The first graph illustrates the predominance of hydro as a source of electricity in Canada over fossil fuels, nuclear and renewables while the table compares the breakdown of energy sources in the top three producing provinces (Quebec, Ontario and Alberta).

Although the simple and integrated introductions are both correct, notice how the latter creates a clearer picture of what the graphics are about.  The easier it is to picture the visuals from your words, the better.

After already showing you how to write the overview and details, here is what the entire report would look like with the integrated introduction:
What follows are examples of simple and integrated introductions for the rest of the graphics as well as the completed reports for each.  I hope this series has given you more understanding about how to think about and organize task one reports.  Keep it simple, have fun and good luck.


Simple Introduction:  The visual illustrates how maple syrup is produced.

Integrated Introduction: The illustration demonstrates the three main steps involved in the production of maple syrup from sap to bottled product.


Simple Introduction:  The diagrams illustrate the constructive changes to a train station in three stages.

Integrated Introduction: The diagrams illustrate how a new underground platform and reinforcements were added to the Toronto Go Train Station throughout and following construction.



Angela Rutherford is an experienced English teacher and exam preparation coach who lives and works in Toronto, Canada. After a career teaching in Ontario public and international private schools, she established her own tutoring business and enjoys working exclusively with IELTS candidates who want to do their best on the exam.

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