It is less common in the writing test, but sometimes you will get an IELTS process diagram to describe.
This should follow the same format as any task 1:
Follow this link about how to write a task 1.
However, there are different types of task 1 (line graphs, pie charts, maps etc) and each requires knowledge of a certain type of language.
This lesson will look at how to write an IELTS process diagram for task 1.
To begin, look at this question:
A process will have a number of stages that are in time order. So you should start at the beginning, and describe each stage through to the last one.
In the example above, this is fairly clear. It begins with the digging of the clay, and ends with delivery.
Processes are not always this clear, and you may have to look more carefully to spot the beginning, and there may also be two things happening at the same time.
So it is important that you look at other sample processes to get a good understanding of how they can vary.
As with any task 1, you can begin by paraphrasing the rubric:
As you can see, this has been taken from the question, but it has not been copied. You need to write it in your own words.
An IELTS process diagram is different to a line, bar, pie chart or table in that there are not usually key changes or trends to identify. However, you should still give an overview of what is taking place.
The ‘public band descriptors’ state that to achieve a band 6 or more for ‘task response’ the student must provide an overview in a task 1.
As there are no trends to comment on, you can make a comment on, for example, the number of stages in the process and how it begins and ends:
Now you need to explain the IELTS process diagram, and there are two key aspects of language associated with this:
1) Time Connectors
A process is a series of events, one taking place after the other. Therefore, to connect your stages, you should use ‘time connectors’.
Here is the rest of the answer with the time connectors highlighted (notice that you simply go from the beginning to the end of the process):
These connectors are the same you would use to write a graph over time when you explain a series of changes.
These are some common IELTS process diagram connectors:
** If you use before, this means that you will be mentioning a later stage before an earlier stage, so you need to use it carefully. If you can use it properly though, it will get noticed.
Here is an example using stages four and five:
2) The Passive
When we describe an IELTS process that involves humans (a man-made process as opposed to a natural one), the focus is on the activities, NOT the person doing them.
When this is the case, we use the passive voice, not the active. For a natural process, such as the life-cycle of a frog, we use active as there is not a person doing the activity in the diagram.
This is a brief explanation of how to use the passive voice, but if you are new or unsure about using it, you should do some further study and practice.
Most sentences use this structure:
In the active voice (as above), the digger is doing the verb i.e. the digger is doing the digging.
When we use the passive voice, we make the object (the clay) the subject, and make the subject (the digger) the object. We also add in the verb ‘to be’ and the past participle (or Verb 3).
So throughout most of your description for your IELTS process diagram, you should be using the passive voice.
This is difficult as some verbs cannot take the passive. For example, 'to go' cannot be passive, so it is kept in the active voice:
This is why you need to make sure you practice the passive so you know exactly how to use it.
Also, as you will see from the description, it is more usual to to comment on who or what is doing the action so the 'by...." phrase is excluded.
Here is the same example description with uses of the passive highlighted:
Sometimes it may be appropriate just to use the same language that you are given in the IELTS process diagram to describe it, but you should try to vary it.
You may be able to use nouns from the diagram as your verbs. For example, the noun packaging in stage seven becomes:
Finally, the bricks are packed…
Follow this link from the model task 1 pages to see a full IELTS process diagram model answer for this process.
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