The International English Language Testing System popularly also known as the IELTS exam is an English language proficiency test. This test is used to examine a candidate’s command of the English language through listening, reading, writing, and speaking sections. This test is conducted across the world and nearly 150 countries across the globe use IELTS’s result to provide admissions into the universities and permanent residences to people from other nations. The main purpose of this test is to see whether the candidate has the ability to use English to deal with real-life situations.

Exam Pattern

There are two categories of IELTS tests:

#1 General

#2 Academic

General is for people moving abroad for Job purposes or PR.

Academic is for candidates wanting to move abroad for higher studies.

IELTS evaluates your English proficiency skills based on:

#1 Receptive skills

#2 Productive skills

Tests in IELTS

Now, under these skills, different tasks are present to test your command over the language:

#1 Receptive Skills

  # Listening (40 min)

  # Reading (60 min)

#2 Productive Skills

  #Writing (60 min)

  #Speaking (11-14 min)

The Listening, Speaking, and Writing sections are conducted at once, in a time span of 2 hours 40 minutes without any break while the speaking test will be conducted on the same day, or before, after seven days to the test.

Moving further, the writing test is again divided into two different categories i.e, task 1 and task 2 where task 1 mostly consists of writing a response to the given diagram, table, graph, pie chart, or process.

In this article, we will see how to answer diagram-type questions in IELTS and how to describe a diagram in IELTS.

IELTS Diagram

The IELTS Diagram task is often described as a tough task, but you need to understand that the examiner is looking for your ability to identify and describe the given visual. Hence, for all those worrying about how to crack diagram questions in IELTS, summarise every detail of what you see in the diagram in a structured manner in a short time. Let us see how it can be done.

How to Describe a Diagram in IELTS?

First of all, examine the diagram well in three stages:

#1 Firstly, observe the title of the diagram and see what it depicts.

#2 Secondly, examine the diagram and pay attention to every little detail like the main parts of the diagram and their subdivisions, the relationship between those parts, and further explanations.

#3 Lastly, think of the points you want to mention and keep in mind that your answer must contain a minimum of 150 words.

Structure Your Description

Think of how to structure your description. Usually, the structure consists of three parts, i.e.,

#1 Introduction: In the introduction, write the purpose of the diagram.

#2 Body of the text: Explain in detail every description of the diagram.

#3 Summary: In the end, sum up the idea of the diagram.

Complete Your Diagram in 8 Simple Step

#1 Read the title and write the introduction.

#2 Describe every detail in the body of your text.

#3 Add sequencing words to connect your sentences.

#4 Include the passive form in the body to tell the activity is done.

#5 Paraphrase your lines and avoid redundancy.

#6 Use synonyms.

#7 Summarise the idea of the diagram.

#8 Proofread your work and clear the errors.

Tips for Better Description of the Diagram

Use Connectors

Describing the diagram can be a series of events in a process. Hence, the correct usage of connectors is very much important. This will make your text look effective. A few examples are:

#1first of all

#2 firstly

#3 to begin with

#4 after that

#5 then

#6 next

#7 in the next stage

#8 following this

#9 subsequently

#10 Finally

Use Correct Vocabulary

Most students worry when they see the process of a diagram as it seems to have a complicated vocabulary. For example, in some diagrams, difficult and unrelated words are used, and their synonyms are mostly unknown. But this step is not difficult. In fact, process diagrams usually contain most of the vocabulary that you need to describe in the diagram. You just need to make some small alterations to the grammar to avoid redundancy and make it look good while reading.

Avoid Giving Biased Opinion

In this task, you are not allowed to give your personal opinions. You should simply describe what is given in the diagram. You cannot use words like “I think this is the reason for the damage or loss”, but you can certainly describe which process in the diagram led to the other without mentioning it as your opinion. Keep in mind that everything you are writing should be visible in the diagram.

Use Passive Voice

The use of passive voice is not very common in English, but it is commonly used when people describe the process of diagrams in the IELTS. When passive voice is used, we don’t know who is doing an action or what is causing the action. In passive voice, we emphasise the action and not on the person doing the action. In the same way, in the IELTS diagram task, we don’t know who is doing the action, and the concentration must be on the action done, i.e., the diagram.

For example, rather than saying “______ sent provisions,” we can instead say, “Provisions are received.” This is useful because we don’t know who is sending them, and we are not allowed to give our personal guesses or information in this task of IELTS. If we wanted to include the fact that the process results in receiving provisions, we could say it in a general way using passive voice. Hence, we need to use passive voice in IELTS Writing task 1.

Hold Back from Being Impersonal

In your text, words like “You, I, or My” shouldn’t be used anywhere; instead, keep your work general.

Instead of using words like, “We can see that” or “I think it’s notable”, use words like “It can be seen that” and “A notable feature of the diagram is”. Use of the later sentences will make the structure of your work a passive voice.

To inculcate all the above habits in your writing, try to attempt as many mock tests as possible and solve different types of questions, previous papers, sample questions before the exam to be well prepared. While writing the test, keep in mind what the evaluator wants, i.e., the ability to describe the information and proceed on that path. Move as per the time, and complete your task in 20 given minutes.

We hope that you received the answer for how to answer diagram questions in IELTS. Describing a diagram in an IELTS writing task is not a cakewalk, but with all the tips, effective strategies, and right preparation, you can perform well in the task and score a good band.


Continue reading IELTS Ninja’s numerous blogs and articles that will help you gain a clear perspective on how to score a good band. For more help, IELTS Ninja‘s personal mentor with years of experience will help you in every step towards your dream of migrating abroad for a better life. They will help you solve your doubts, keep track of your progress, and help improve in weak areas. Don’t miss the free demo class and experience the teaching methodology of IELTS Ninja before making the next-best decision to join them. For more details, visit the IELTS Ninja website now.

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Shilpa is a professional web content writer and is in deep love with travelling. She completed her mass communication degree and is now dedicatedly playing with words to guide her readers to get the best for themselves. Developing educational content for UPSC, IELTS aspirants from breakthrough research work is her forte. Strongly driven by her zodiac sign Sagittarius, Shilpa loves to live her life on her own notes and completely agrees with the idea of ‘live and let live. Apart from writing and travelling, most of the time she can be seen in the avatar of 'hooman' mom to her pets and street dogs or else you can also catch her wearing the toque blanche and creating magic in the kitchen on weekends.

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