Read the two essays answering the task 1 prompt below.  One essay is from an IELTS teacher.  The other essay is from a real student preparing to take IELTS. 

The teacher has corrected the student's essay.  

multiple pie charts picture

Teacher essay (band score 8.0 - 8.5)

The pie charts present the amount of funding given to several museums in a country in Europe in 2000 and 2010.  The Museum of Medieval Art, Natural History Museum, and the Transport Museum all saw a slight increase.  The three remaining museums, the Technology Museum, National Museum, and Museum of the Ancient World, all witnessed a small decrease. 

The Museum of Medieval Art made up a substantial one quarter of total funding in 2010.  This figure is up from only 20% of total funding in 2000.  Likewise, the National History Museum and the Transport Museum also saw their allocated funding increase by 5%, and combined they also accounted for 25% of total funding in 2010. 

The National Museum was given a massive 30% of total funding in 2000, but this figure dropped to 25% in 2010.  The Museum of the Ancient World and the Technology Museum experienced the same 5% drop in funding, leaving them at 15% and 10%, respectively, in 2010. 

(163 words)

Student essay (Band score 5.0-5.5)

Crossed out = mistakeRed = correctiongreen = suggestionblue = comment

The pie charts show the proportion of funding allocation allocated for different type types of museum museums in a European country between 2000 and 2010. Overall, it can be seen clearly that the Museum of the Ancient World, Technology Museum and National Museum witnessed a light (slight) drop in funding in 2010. Meanwhile, the Museum of Medieval Art, Natural History Museum and Transport Museum received an increase in funding in the same year.  (A specific museum is a proper noun, so the entire name of the museum is capitalized.)

Looking at the charts, in 2000, the funding allocation allocated to the museum of the Ancient World was at exactly at 20%. The funding then decreased to only 15% in 2010. Likewise, the percentage of total funding for the Technology Museum and the National Museum were was (the subject of the sentence is a singular noun 'the percentage') at 15% and 30% in 2000, respectively. It Each then slightly dropped to about ('about' is incorrect because we do know the exact number) 10% and 25% in 2010, in turn. Generally, the funding for these museums were all dropped around by 5% from 2000 to 2010.

On the In contrast, the number of funding percentages percentage of funding given to the Museum of Medieval Art was only 20% in 2000 but then it went up (increased) to 25% in 2010. Similarly, the proportion of funding for the Natural History Museum were was 10% and only 5% for Transport museum in 2000. Nevertheles Nevertheless, both the Natural History Museum and the Transport Museum got an increase in funding, up to (rising to) 15% and 10% in 2010, respectively.

208 words

Teachers comments

Strengths: The student's essay correctly presents the information given in the pie charts.

The student's essay is logically organized.  One body paragraph gives information about museums that had a funding increase.  The other body paragraph gives information about museums that had a funding decrease.

The student correctly uses some complex grammar when discussing two museums in the same sentence.


Weaknesses:  The student's essay makes consistent mistakes with capitalization of proper nouns.  A specific museum is a proper noun so it must be capitalized.  The museum names are capitalized in the pie charts.  That is a clear hint that the student ignored.

There are some mistakes with subject verb agreement in long and complex sentences.  This shows that the student is not comfortable using complex sentences.

The student uses some unnatural wording like 'about/around x%'.  The information in the pie chart gives the exact percentages, so 'about/around' do not make sense logically.  This shows that the student has memorized some vocabulary for IELTS academic task 1 and is not responding naturally to the writing prompt.

The student includes ALL the information in the pie charts.  The writing prompt clearly says to "select the main features".  By presenting all the information, the student has failed to do this.  This could be corrected by giving more information about the museums with the most funding, and less information about the smaller museums.

The essay is 208 words.  There is no penalty for writing too much, but it does waste time.  You only have 1 hour to complete task 1 and task 2.  Use your time wisely.  You should aim to write 160 - 180 words for task 1.

Overall: The essay achieves the goal of explaining the information in the pie charts. There are frequent grammar mistakes and some vocabulary is unnatural.  However, these mistakes do not stop the reader from understanding the essay.

To improve, the student should do several things:

  • Carefully read the writing prompt.  If you are asked to select the main features, you must do that to receive a high band score.  Presenting all of the information will not earn you a high band score.  In fact, it wastes your time that you should spend on task 2.
  • Pay attention to grammar.  The capitalization of the museums is given in the pie charts.  That should have been an easy mistake to avoid.  Additionally, subject/verb agreement should be perfect. Proofreading the essay while focusing on grammar will fix these mistakes.
  • Review vocabulary used to talk about percentages.  IELTS academic task 1 often includes percentages, so you need to prepare.  As a quick review, you can use these words to describe a percentage:
    • (the) proportion of
    • (the) figure for
    • (the) percentage of
    • (the) amount of

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