Aubrey Carter
"3 Keys IELTS Certified Coach"
Jessica Beck
"Director of IELTS Training"

How do you know what vocabulary to use on IELTS Writing Task 1?

It does change depending on the type of graph or chart you are given.

In order to score 7 or higher, your vocabulary also needs to be less common.

Today we’ll share high-scoring words for every type of essay.

Today’s question

A listener asked about “strong words” on IELTS Task 1.

Thanks for sharing the useful information! I hope we see more videos about Task 1 strong wor


We don’t describe vocabulary as “strong,” but instead would say “impressive” or “high-scoring.”

The vocabulary you choose will depend on which type of graph or chart you get.

Which numbers to include

On a Task 1 essay, you will only describe the most important numbers.

These are numbers that are particularly notable.

  • Biggest
  • Smallest
  • Especially remarkable

It’s vital that you never describe average, in the middle numbers.

In episode 1372, we shared that this will cause you to score a 4 for Task Achievement.

#1: Static

For a static essay, the graph or chart is showing one moment in time.

It is not showing how information changed over a period of time.

This could be pie charts, bar graphs or something similar.

You will want to include the most remarkable numbers.

These are the most and least impressive numbers.

For example, highest and lowest for each category.

Example: “X boasted the most massive number…”

Static vocabulary

The types of words you use for static essays will describe static numbers.

Instead of adverbs describing change, these will be for numbers at a single point in time.

You need less common, impressive vocabulary to describe lowest and highest points.

  • nadir: lowest
  • zenith: highest

Though these words are commonly used for celestial bodies, you can use them to describe any number.

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#2: Change Over Time

These essays are for graphs or charts that show how information changed.

It will likely show a range of dates, with lines or other indicators of change.

The vocabulary you use will indicate this change.

You need both less common verbs as well as adverbs to describe them.

  • Fluctuated wildly
  • Skyrocket noticeably
  • Plummet markedly

Strategy for identifying key numbers

A strategy from 3 Keys IELTS is to circle the most important numbers.

This is done during the brainstorming step.

For a static essay, this will be highest, second highest and lowest as well as anything exceptional.

For change over time, these are the biggest increases and decreases.

Read the business section

To prepare for Academic Task 1, read the business section of newspapers.

There you will find the type of language used to describe these numbers.

You will also see the types of charts and graphs you will write about.

The more familiar you are with these, the quicker you will be able to brainstorm and analyze the one you get.


On IELTS Writing Task 1, you need high-scoring, less common vocabulary.

This are specialized words for describing numbers and change.

You need different vocabulary for static and change over time essays.

In our online course, 3 Keys IELTS, we share every strategy you need for IELTS Task 1.

Whether you are taking the General or Academic exam, we have the perfect course for you.

Sign up today!

What questions do you have from today’s episode?

Please leave a comment below.

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