Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Proper Ways When Interpreting Diagrams and Flow Charts in the IELTS Writing Test 1

Another type of question that is used in the writing task 1 of the IELTS Academic test is the use of process diagrams or flow charts. If you compare this with the other data (bar, line, pie, table), this could be a little easier as arrows are used to point the flow of the process. However, if you are not familiar with the nature of the diagram, such as how a home heating system functions, it will be a task that you are sure to fail.

There are a number of ways IELTS candidates can successfully interpret this kind of diagram. Here are some points to consider when writing your essay. Let us have a sample diagram. 


The diagram below shows how coffee is produced and prepared for sale in supermarkets and shops.


·         Start with an introduction. Paraphrase the question. Raters will look at how well you are with vocabulary and sentence construction. You can even include the number of steps present in the diagram.

The diagram shows the production of coffee from preparing the coffee beans to packing them for distribution. Overall, there are 11 different steps. 


·         Write the body. When writing the body, always start where the process begins. For example, if you are given a long process, you can have it in two different paragraphs. In our example, the first phase can be until grinding followed by the second phase where ground coffee beans are mixed with water.  In writing your sentences in the body, make sure to use the passive form of the verb. The passive form emphasizes that the subject of the sentence is the recipient of the action. Like in our example, coffee beans are the one being processed. Also, make sure the verb tense is in the present simple. We use the simple present as we state facts that happen in its production. 

Also, in every step, there are phrases that describe the picture. When you use it in your essay, write them in complete sentences. Some candidates just write them as they are. Remember that essays are written in complete sentences where the context is fully understood by the reader. 

Use sequencing language. Sequencing language are transition words that show process. Examples of this are next, then, before, after, and once. These words make it easier to understand the flow of the ideas in the passage.

Organization. This should not be a problem since you are following arrows in the diagram. Yet, double check with the arrows if you are following them correctly. Following the process correctly results to a smooth flow of the essay. 

Before writing the essay,

  • Understand the process presented. It is important that you know what the diagram is all about. 
  • Create an outline. This guides you with the flow of the ideas in your paragraph.

While writing the essay,

  • Make sure that you are following your outline. 
  • Use vocabulary that best expresses your ideas.

After writing the essay,

  • Check for any misspelled words.
  • Revise grammar flaws if there are any errors found. 

Interpreting diagrams and flow charts should not be a burden to IELTS candidates. With practice and exposure to different practice tests, getting a good score in writing is highly possible. 

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