Academic Writing Task 1 Vocabulary

Academic Writing Vocabulary

The Academic IELTS Writing Task 1 requires you to use several vocabularies to present the data given in a pie/ bar/ line/ mixed graphs or to describe a process or a flow chart. Being able to use appropriate vocabulary, presenting main trends, comparing & contrasting data and presenting the logical flow of the graph ensures a high band score in your Academic IELTS writing task 1. This vocabulary section aims to help you to learn all the vocabulary, phrases and words you need to know and use in your Academic writing task 1 to achieve a high band score. The examiner will use four criteria to score your response: task achievement, coherence and cohesion, lexical resource, grammatical range and accuracy. Since lexical resources will determine 25% of your score in Task 1, you have to enrich your vocabulary to hit a high score. To demonstrate that you have a great lexical resource you need to: 

  • Use correct synonyms in your writing.
  • Use a range of vocabulary.
  • Do not repeat words and phrases from the exam question unless there is no alternative.
  • Use less common vocabulary.
  • Do not use the same word more than once/twice.
  • Use precise and accurate words in a sentence.

It is advisable that you should learn synonyms and use them accurately in your writing in order to give the impression that you have a good range of vocabulary.

The general format for writing academic writing task 1 is as follows:

Introduction + Basic/ General Trends + Details Description + Conclusion.

Each part has a specific format and therefore being equipped with the necessary vocabulary will help you to write task 1 efficiently and will save a great deal of time.

 Vocabulary for the Introduction Part:

StartingPresentation TypeVerbDescription
The given / the supplied / the presented / the shown / the provideddiagram / table / figure / illustration / graph / chart / flow chart / picture/ presentation/ pie chart / bar graph/ line graph / table data/ data / information / pictorial/ process diagram/ map/ pie chart and table/ bar graph and pie chart …shows / represents / depicts / illustrates / presents/ gives / provides / describes / compares/ shows contrast / indicates / figures / gives data on / gives information on/ presents information about/ shows data about/ demonstrate/ outlines/ summarise…the comparison of …the differences ….the number of ….information on ….data on ….the proportion of….the amount of ….information on….data about…

Example : 

  1. The provided diagram shows data on employment categories in energy producing sectors in Europe starting from 1925 and till 1985.
  2. The given pie charts represent the proportion of male and female employee in 6 broad categories, divided into manual and non-manual occupations in Freedonia. 
  3. The chart gives information on expenditures of 4 European countries on six consumer products namely Germany, Italy, Britain and France.
  4. The supplied bar graph compares the number of male and female graduated in three developing countries while the table data presents the overall literacy rate in these countries. 
  5. The bar graph and the table data depicts the water use in different sectors in five regions.


  1. For a single graph use ‘s’ after the verb, like – gives data on, shows/ presents etc. However, if there are multiple graphs, DO NOT use ‘s’ after the verb.
  2. If there are multiple graphs and each one presents different type of data, use can write which graph presents what type of data and use ‘while’ to show a connection. For example -‘The given bar graph shows the amount spent on fast food items in 2009 in the UK while the pie chart presents a comparison of people’s ages who spent more on fast food. 
  3. Your introduction should be quite impressive as it makes the first impression to the examiner. It either makes or breaks your overall score.

Vocabulary for the General trends Part:

In general, In common, As is presented, Generally speaking, As is observed, As a general trend, As can be seen, Generally speaking, Overall.


  1. In general the employment opportunity has increased till 1970 and has dropped down afterward.
  2. As is observed, the figures for imprisonment in the five mentioned countries show no overall pattern of increase or decrease rather shows the considerable fluctuation from country to country.
  3. Generally speaking, USA had far more standard life than all the other 4 mentioned countries. 
  4. As can be seen, the highest number of passengers used the London Underground station at 8:00 in the morning and at 6:00 in the evening.
  5. Generally speaking, more men were engaged in managerial positions in 1987 than that of women in New York.
TrendsVerb formNoun Form
Increaserise / increase / go up / uplift / rocket(ed) / climb / upsurge / soar.a rise / an increase / an upward trend / a growth
Decreasefall / decrease / decline / plummet / plunge / drop / reducea fall / a decrease / a reduction / a downward trends /a  downward tendency /  a decline/ a drop
Steadinessunchanged / level out / remain constant / remain steady / plateau / remain the same / remain stable / remain statica steadiness/ a plateau / a stability/ a static
Gradual Increase————an upward trend / an upward tendency / a ceiling trend
Gradual decrease ————a downward trend / a downward tendency / a descending trend
Standabilitylevel(ed) off / remain(ed) constant / remain(ed) unchanged / remain(ed) stable / prevail(ed) consistency / plateaued / reach(ed) a plateau / stay(ed) uniform /immutable / level(ed) out/ stabilise/ remain(ed) the same.————–


  1. The overall sale of the company has increased by 20% at the end of the year.
  2. The expenditure of the office remained constant for the last 6 months but the profit rose by almost 25%.
  3. There was a 15% drop in the student enrollment of the University.
  4. The population of the country remained almost the same as it was 2 years ago.
  5. The population of these two cities increase significantly in the last two decades and it is predicted that it will remain stable in the next 5 years.


Use ‘improve’ /’an improvement’ to describe a situation like economic condition or employment status. To denote numbers use other verbs/nouns like increase.

Vocabulary to represent changes in graphs:

Type of ChangeAdverb formAdjective form
Rapid changedramatically / rapidly / sharply / quickly / hurriedly / speedily / swiftlydramatic / rapid / sharp / quick / hurried / speedy / swift
Moderate changemoderately / gradually / progressively / sequentially   moderate / gradual / progressive /  sequential
Slight changeslightly / slowly / mildly / tediouslyslight / slow / mild / tedious


  1. The economic inflation of the country increased sharply by 20% in 2008.
  2. There was a sharp drop in the industrial production in the year 2009. 
  3. The demand for new houses dramatically increased in 2002.
  4. The population of the country dramatically increased in the last decade. 
  5. The price of the oil moderately increased in last quarter but as a consequence the price of daily necessity rapidly went up.

 Vocabulary to represent frequent changes in graphs:

Type of ChangeVerb formNoun form
 Rapid ups and downswave / fluctuate / oscillate / vacillate / palpitatewaves / fluctuations / oscillations / vacillations /  palpitations


  1. The price of the raw materials fluctuated for the first three months.
  2. The graph shows the oscillations of the price of fuel from 1998 to 2002.
  3. The passenger number in this station oscillates throughout the day but early morning and evening are the two busiest time.
  4. The changes of car production in Japan shows a palpitation for the second quarter of the year. 
  5. The number of students in debate clubs fluctuated in different months as a rapid ups and downs could be observed in the last three months.

What criteria a band 9 graph response would satisfy?

Task Achievement: 
Fully satisfies all the requirements of the task.
Clearly presents a fully developed response.

Coherence and Cohesion:
Uses cohesion in such a way that it attracts no attention.
Skilfully manages paragraphing.

Lexical Resource:
Uses a wide range of vocabulary with very natural and sophisticated control of lexical features.
Rare minor errors occur only as ‘slips’.

You do not need to write down every bit of information presented in the graph. Rather, you are expected to write the most significant features of the graph and the highest and lowest point are two significant information you should not miss in your writing. Following is a list of useful vocabulary to learn by heart and to use them in your graph response.

Vocabulary to represent highest and lowest point in graphs:

Highest Pointpeak / culminated / climax / reach  a peak / hit a peak / touch the highest point / reach the vertexa peak / hit a vertex / get a vertex / get the highest point
Lowest Pointtouched the lowest point / get the lowest point /the lowest point /the lowest mark / bottommost point / rock bottom point/ bottommost mark


  1. The price of the oil reached a peak amounting $20 in February and again touched the lowest point amounting only $10 in July.
  2. Student enrollment in foreign Universities and Colleges increased dramatically hitting a peak of over 20 thousand in 2004.
  3. The highest number of books was sold in July while it was lowest in December.
  4. The oil price reached a pick in 2003 while it was lowest in 2006.
  5. The sell volume of the DVD hit a pick with 2 million copies sold in a month but after just three months it reached the bottom with only 20 thousand sold in a month. 

Vocabulary to represent comparison in graphs:

TypeWord(s) should be used
Similarabout / almost / nearly / roughly / approximately / around / just about / very nearly /
Just overjust above / just over / just bigger / just beyond / just across
Just shortjust below / just beneath / just sort / just under / just a little
Much morewell above / well above / well beyond / well across / well over
Much lesswell below / well under / well short / well beneath


  1. The number of high-level women executives is well beneath than the number of male executives in this organization where approximately 2000 people works in executive levels.
  2. About 1000 people died in the highway car accident in 2003 which is well above than the statistics of all other years.
  3. The number of domestic-violence cases was just below 500 in March which is just a little over than the previous months.
  4. The average rainfall in London in 2014 was just above than the average of other two cities.
  5. The salaries of male executives in thee out of four companies were well above than the salaries of female executives in 1998.

Compare and contrast

One syllable
Adjectives with one syllable form their comparatives and superlatives form. In your academic writing task 1, you will often use such comparison and contrast related words.

cheap » cheaper » cheapest   ||   large » larger » largest    ||    bright » brighter » brightest  etc.

good » better » best   ||   bad » worse » worst   etc.


  1. The fast food items in uptown restaurants were comparatively cheaper than that of city restaurants.
  2. The largest proportion of water was used in agriculture sector in most of the Asian countries while the European countries used largest percentage of water for industrial purposes. 
  3. The price of the book in store A is cheaper than the price of store B.
  4. The temperature decreased further and that made the weather condition worse.
  5. The temperature was better in the mid-April but in mid-July it became worse. 

Two syllables
Some adjectives with two syllables form their comparatives and superlatives:
pretty » prettier » prettiest    ||    happy » happier » happiest  etc.


  1. The customer were happier than now, according to the survey, as the price was cheaper in 1992.
  2. The overall production level of this company made the authority happier as it was doubled in the last quarter of the year. 

But many form their comparatives and superlatives using ‘more‘:
striking » more striking » most striking    ||    common » more common » most common || clever » more clever/cleverer » most clever/cleverest etc.

Three or more syllables

All adjectives with three or more syllables form their comparatives and superlatives using ‘more’ & ‘most’:
attractive » more attractive » most attractive   ||   profitable » more profitable » most profitable   ||  expensive »more expensive » most expensive.

1. The price of the custom made cars were more expensive in 2014 than it is now.

  1. The factory offered more attractive overtime rates and that motivated more employees to work for extra time. 

Using Appropriate Prepositions:

You must use the correct preposition in the IELTS writing task 1 to get a high score. Be accurate about the uses of to, by, of, off, in, on, for etc.


» Papers are sold by the ream.
» Oranges are purchased and sold by the dozen.
» Students enrollment in the University has increased by 2% this year.
» Eggs are counted in dozens.
» Rice is measured in kg.
» He is junior to me by 4 years.
» The employees are paid per week in this factory.
» All these products are made of glasses.

Rules of Time Preposition use:


»» Use preposition ‘in’ when you talk about years, months, decades, centuries, seasons.


Years= in 1998, in 2015 etc.
Months= in January, in December etc.
Decades= in the nineties, in the seventies etc.
Centuries= in the 19th century, in the 14th century, in the 1980s etc. 
Seasons= in summer, in winter, in autumn etc.

»» Use preposition ‘in’ to talk about past or future.


Past time= in 1980, in the past, in 1235, in the ice age, in the seventies, in the last century etc.
Future time = in 2030, in the future, in the next century etc.

»» Use preposition ‘in’ when you talk about a long period.


in the ice age, in the industrial age, in iron age, etc.


»» Use preposition ‘on’ when you talk about days (days of the weeks or special days).


Days of the week= on Sunday, on Friday, on Tuesday. 
Special days= on New Year’s Day, on your birthday, on Independence day, on holiday, on wedding day, etc. 

»» Use preposition ‘on’ when you talk about dates.

on July 4th, on 21st January, 2015, on 5th May etc.

»» Use preposition ‘on’  when you talk about times ( like morning / afternoon / evening / night) of a day. 

on Friday morning, on Saturday afternoon, on Sunday evening, on Monday evening etc.

However, notice the below list that shows further use of the preposition ‘in’ and ‘on’ for periods of the days versus periods. This is often confusing and mistakenly used by IELTS candidates. Look at those, notice the use and memorize it. 

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