Today’s lesson is how to write about a process in IELTS Writing Task 1. Diagrams are less common than statistics but we still see them sometimes and so we need to be prepared. A lot of people think it’s easier to write about a process than statistics. What do you think? Please leave your tips or questions in the comments section at the end of the post.
What to do
- Start by understanding the diagram.
- Next, plan your answer by deciding what are the important features of the process.
- Paraphrase the information from the question to start your introduction.
- Give an overview of the process.
- Use the vocabulary from the diagram to help you write your answer.
- Write 2 body paragraphs to describe the process.
- Don’t write a conclusion.
Understanding the Process
- What is the beginning and what is the end of the process?
- Is it a cyclical (in a circle) or linear (one start point and one end point) process?
- How many stages are there?
- Is it a man-made process or natural process?
- Are there any materials/resources that need to be added to the process?
- What is produced?
- What does each stage of the process do?
- What are the relationships between each stage?
What kind of Process?
Refined steel is then shipped to the customer.
After this, the baby salmon swim downstream to the ocean.
To learn more about the active and passive voice, follow this passive voice grammar guide.
Overview of a Process
Answering the following questions should give you the information you need to write the overview. Try not write more than 2 sentences in the overview. The paraphrase of the question and the overview will be the introduction of your answer.
- Is it a man-made or natural process?
- How many stages are there?
- What is the result of the process?
- Where does the process start and where does it end?
- Is it cyclical or linear?
- What is used in the process?
Let’s have a look at a model answer. Complete this band 9 response overview by clicking on the words in the box, then clicking again on the gaps. Are most of the question above answered?
- what each stage does
- what it produces
- if any materials are added
- the relationship with the previous or later stages.
- the information in the diagram only, don’t use your imagination to predict or make assumptions.
- if there are any technical terms in the diagram, you may use them in your answer
- if it is a man-made process, we generally use the passive voice
- if it is a natural process, we generally use the active voice
Organizing the steps of the process
Double Check your Writing
- If someone who has never seen the diagram reads your answer, would they understand your description of the process?
- Have you written at least 150 words?
- Are there at least 3 clearly defined paragraphs? Leave a line between each paragraph.
- Did you paraphrase the information in the question? This should start your introduction.
- Did you include a short overview in the introduction?
- Have you only included information that is to be found in the diagram? Don’t write about anything which is not seen in the diagram.
- Do verbs and subjects agree? In the present tense the verb must be modified if the subject is he/she/it. I like but she likes.
- Are the verbs in the correct tense? Usually diagrams should be described in the present tense but it will tell you in the question if the diagram is about a past, present or future process.
- Have you used lots of short simple sentences that you could combine to make more complex sentences? More complex language should get you a higher band score (if it’s correct).
- Have you used vocabulary repetitively? If so, think about synonyms (words with the same meaning) you could use.
Practice Activity 1 – Understanding the Diagram
It’s a good idea to use this vocabulary in our response.
- Malted barley
- Spent grain animal feed