Task 1 describing processes
IMPORTANT NOTE: This post is only useful for candidates preparing for the Academic Module IELTS test
Although it is the least common Task 1 type, writing about a process can be difficult because you need to avoid copying directly from the illustration and being able to expand your answer to 150 words. Also, because it is the least common, it is also the least practiced, and even with good English skills it can be difficult to write 150 words about what you see.
What process is the diagram below explaining? Look carefully at the labels given.
You should have been able to identify that the process describes the production of paper (of course in the official IELTS test, you would also be given a title that states this).
Here’s an excerpt from the task 1 report based in the illustration. What is important about the words….
- in bold
- in italics
- that are underlined?
After the trees have been cut down and taken to a saw mill, two products remain. There is the timber which is sold, and there is the wood chip. The wood chip is first pulped and then washed …
The words in bold .... The words in bold are sequencers, showing the order the process is done in
The words in italics.... The words in italics use the passive voice (click here to read more about the passive)
The words that are underlined .... The words that are underlined are relative clauses (click here to read more about relative clauses)
Tip 1: The three rules
When describing a process, remember the following:
- The passive is the most common construction.
- Sequencing words are essential.
- Relative clauses can help avoid repetition.
This allows you to change from:
Saw the trees into timber. Send the timber to the timber merchant.
The trees are sawn into timber, which is then sent to the timber merchant
Tip 2: Accurate sequencing is essential
One of the main tests in writing about a process is your ability to use sequencing words to make full sentences about the process. Here are some useful sequencing words and phrases to describe processes:
- the first step
- the next step
- the third step
- after that
- before (+ ing)
- after (+ ing)
- soon afterwards
- from then on
- the last step
- in the process of
- in the course of
- once (X) has happened, (Y) can happen
Use the prompts above the make complete sentences about the paper production process from the following prompts.
- Trees / cut / saw / send / timber merchant
First the trees are cut down and sawn into timber, which is then sent to the timber merchant
- Chips / pulp / wash
- Bleach / impurities removed / larger chips removed
- Bleached pulp / dry / roll
- Store / deliver to retailer
NOTE: below are just some of the ways you could have expanded the prompts. More answers may be possible. To check whether your sentence is correct, you can post it in the comments section below and we will let you know.
1. Show possible answerThe next step is for the chips to be pulped and then washed after larger chips have been extracted.
2. Show possible answerOnce the chips have been washed, larger chips are once again filtered out before the remaining chips are bleached and purities are removed.
3. Show possible answer After the pulp has been bleached, it is then dried before being sent to a roller.
4. Show possible answerFrom then on, the rolled paper is stored until finally being taken to the seller.
Task 1 Model answer
Here’s a model answer (it would be worth the top score in the official IELTS test) to illustrate.
You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.
The diagram below shows the process of publishing a book.
Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.
Write at least 150 words.
The diagram illustrates the process of developing a manuscript into a published book.
The process begins with the initial writing, which is then sent to a publishing house for assessment. If necessary, the material is then returned for revisions by the writer and this cycle of the process is repeated until it passes the assessment stage.
Following that, the project is discussed in pre-production meetings. Once a schedule has been arranged, a team is brought together for production, and the work is edited and produced in galley stage. This goes to the editor and the writer, following which illustrations are commissioned and the work is checked by the author and the editor. This is then converted into the first page proofs, which are once again checked by both the editor and the writer before moving on to second stage proofs.
The process is concluded when these proofs are sent to the printer.