IELTS Writing Task 1 example answers

Practising IELTS Writing tasks (stock photo)

In this post we’re going to look at some examples of answers to IELTS writing tasks, written by course participants at The London School of English, and comment on their strengths and weaknesses. We’ll also talk about what the writer could do to get a better score in each case. We’ll look at two answers to a Part 1 task and two answers to a Part 2 task, all of which were written by our students here at the London School of English.

How IELTS examiners grade writing tasks

First of all, let’s think about what the examiners are looking for when they mark your writing. There are four different criteria:

Task Achievement (for Task 1), Task Response (for Task 2)

This basically means how well you answer the question. For example, in Task 1, it means if you have mentioned all the important information or the most important changes. In Task 2, it means you have written about all parts of the question, so for example if the task asks you to write about the advantages and disadvantages of living abroad, you must write about both.

Coherence and Cohesion

This is about how well-organised your answer is, and how easy it is to follow. It includes the use of linking expressions (‘although’, ‘however’, ‘in addition’, ‘firstly’ and so on), referencing words (‘this’, ‘it’, ‘them’, etc.) and, in task 2, the use of paragraphing.

Lexical Resource

This refers to your use of vocabulary in terms of accuracy - in other words, if your choice of vocabulary is correct – and range, which means if your vocabulary is basic or if you are more ambitious in your choice of words. To get 6.0 or above you should show that you can use some less common vocabulary.

Grammatical Range and Accuracy

This is very similar to lexical resource – again, it’s a question of how correct your grammar is, and also if you tend to use basic grammar or if you can use more difficult structures (for example conditional sentences or passive forms). If you want to get 7 for grammar most of your sentences need to be error-free (without mistakes).

Sample answers

Now let’s look at a Part 1 task. This involves describing the changes that took place in a town over a period of eight years. We’ll then look at the two responses and comment on each one.

(from Ready for IELTS 2nd edition by Sam McCarter, Macmillan Education 2017)

Answer 1

"The maps illustrate the transformation which the town of Harton underwent over an eight-year period. Generally speaking, this town became clearly more urbanized and less residential.

Over the period, the industrial complex to the south of the river expanded significantly, leading to the disappearance of the residential area in the south and southern half of the woodland. According to the north area toward the river, the old town to the south of the woodland was replaced to the blocks of office and the university. The car park in the north was built in place of a derelict warehouses. The residential area in the north-east corner and the school in the middle of the maps didn’t change at all, however, another residential area in the west was given over to a shopping centre. Looking at the multi-screen cinema, which located next to the school, was built on the site of an arts centre. There was a lake in the woodland in 2008, although it turned into a pond in 2016. The river in the centre remained in the same place."

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The writer has generally achieved the task well. All of the changes are included and there is a clear overview, or summary, of the changes in the second sentence of the introduction. (A clear overview is essential for a high score). However, the locations of some of the places are incorrect (for example the residential area is in the north-west, not the north-east). The answer is generally well-organised; the changes are presented in a logical order, starting with the most important. There is some good use of linking expressions (‘generally speaking’, ‘although’, ‘however’) but also some errors (‘according to the north area’). There is a wide range of vocabulary which is appropriate for the task (‘urbanised’, ‘expanded significantly’, ‘replaced’, ‘given over to’, ‘turned into’). In terms of grammar, basic structures are well used with good use of passive forms (‘was built’, ‘was located’) and more complex structures (‘…. leading to the disappearance’). However, there are some errors: the sentences which begins ‘looking at the multi-screen cinema..’ needs to be expressed differently (‘the multi-screen cinema, which IS located….was built…)

This answer would probably achieve 6.5. It could be improved by more accurate use of and a wider range of linkers (‘according to’ should be ‘turning to’, the last sentence could be introduced by ‘finally’) and a wider range of structures (the phrase ‘it turned into a pond in 2016’ could become ‘by 2016 it had been turned into a pond’).

Answer 2

"The maps illustrate the transformation which the town of Horton underwent over an eight-year period. Overall, the town became more urbanized and less residential.

From 2008 to 2016, Harton experienced a significant change. Firstly, the woodland park was reduced to make the way to an expandation of industrial complex, on the south side of the river. The way an industrial zone expand lead to the disappearance of a residential area in the south part of Harton. Moreover, the old town was replaced by the officies which share their place with a university. In the west side of the river another residential area turned into a shopping centre. In addition to the mall, a multi-screen cinema, in north of this one was built in place of the arts centre. In the north of the old town, the derelict warehouses was converted into a car park. However, the school and the north-west residential area don’t changed. Finally, the lake of the woodland became a pond."


This candidate has also answered the task well. The main changes are all mentioned and again a clear overview is presented in the introduction. The information is again presented in a logical order, starting with the most important change, and there is a good range of linking expressions (‘firstly’, ‘moreover’, ‘in addition’, ‘finally’). There is some good use of vocabulary which is appropriate for the task (‘significant change’, ‘disappearance’, ‘replaced by’, ‘turned into’). However, there are also some vocabulary errors (‘expandation’ rather than ‘expansion’, ‘make the way to’ instead of ‘make way for’. Turning to grammar, basic forms are generally used correctly (past simple) and there are some complex structures (‘the old town was replaced by the offices which share….’) but again there are some errors (‘the derelict warehouses was converted’, ‘the school and the north-west residential area don’t changed’).

This answer would probably achieve a 6.0. To get a better score the writer could focus on being more accurate in his use of vocabulary and grammar, as we mentioned above. Another example is the sentence ‘the way a industrial zone expand lead to…..’. This could be expressed better as ‘the expansion of the industrial zone led to…’ or ‘this development led to…’

Next time, we'll look at some sample answers to Task 2. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below.

This post was written by Daragh, one of our trainers at The London School of English. 

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