Tip 1 - Describing Trends
In IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 you will be tested on your ability to describe and interpret information presented in a graph, table, chart or diagram.
You will need to describe trends, compare and contrast data or report statistical information. Occasionally you will need to describe a process (which we will explain in another section).
In order to do well in this section, you need to know specific vocabulary related to describing trends.
Verbs to describe an upward trend
The following verbs can be used to describe a trend or pattern that goes up.
· go up (past: went up)
· grow (past: grew)
· increase (past: increased)
· jump (past: jumped)
· rise (past: rose)
Sentence examples using words that show an upward trend:
· The number of enrollments increased significantly between 2005 and 2010.
· Production rose from 800 units in May to 1000 units the following month.
Verbs to describe a downward trend
The following verbs can be used to describe a trend or pattern that goes down.
· decline (past: declined)
· decrease (past: decreased)
· drop (past: dropped)
· fall (past: fell)
· go down (past: went down)
Sentence examples using words that show a downward trend:
· Prices of Model X dropped significantly once Model Y became available on the market.
· Company profits decreased in 2013 by 15%.
Words and phrases used to describe a stable trend
To describe a more or less stable pattern, you can use the following expressions:
· maintain (past: maintained)
· remain (past: remained)
· stay (past: stayed)
Adverbs used when describing trends
Adverbs describe HOW something happens. They usually come after a verb.
· sharply, rapidly, quickly, steeply
· considerably, significantly, substantially
· steadily, gradually, moderately
· slightly, slowly
Nouns used when describing trends
· dip (a momentarily small drop in the level of something)
· fluctuation (= an irregular rising and falling in number or amount; a variation)
· peak (= the highest point)
· slump (= a severe or prolonged fall in the price, value, or amount of something)
· variation (= a change or difference in condition, amount, or level)
Quick IELTS Academic Writing Tips when describing trends
Do not describe every small upwards or downwards movement. You need to look at the important trends or characteristics and give a general overview.
You will normally use verbs in the past tense when describing trends though always look for dates to confirm which tense to use.
Do not write about things that do not appear in the graph. You shouldn't give an opinion, just describe the information that appears.
Even if your grammar (and vocabulary) is perfect, you will lose marks for not showing an accurate understanding.