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

Today you’ll find out how students ruin their Task 1 scores.

This happens on every exam if a student makes these simple mistakes.

You’ll hear example sentences that lower Task 1 scores.

You’ll also get the solution for increasing to a 7 or higher.

Listen in to avoid these mistakes on test day!

For all the strategies you need for IELTS, sign up for 3 Keys IELTS!

What is the basic problem?

The main issue is reporting information incorrectly.

We see this mistake on both Academic and General Task 1.

For Academic Task 1, students aren’t taking the time to really think about the numbers.

What exactly is being shown on the graph?

  • Is it showing money spent?
  • Is it showing groceries purchased?

You may have seen a similar graph or chart and assume this one is the same!

If it is just a little bit different, you can end up reporting it incorrectly!

Sample of this mistake in the overall trend

In a student essay, Aubrey saw this mistake:

“Overall, the number of nuts and legumes plunged, while the amount of the other three categories climbed.”

On the chart, what actually plunged and climbed was the amount spent on these items.

It is inaccurate to say the quantity changed.

We don’t know the cost per item.

This mistake of incorrectly reporting the overall trend brings the Task Achievement down to band 5 or lower.

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Reporting information incorrectly

For this graph, numbers reported were amounts spent.

However, the student wrote the following:

“Regarding meat, beverages and produce, the quantity of drinks began remarkably declined, at 20%…”

This is a very common mistake.

Students will say ‘the amount bought’ when the chart shows the amount spent.

These are two totally different types of numbers.

Vocabulary must be used accurately

“Regarding meat, beverages and produce, the quantity of drinks began remarkably declined, at 20%…”

The student may be trying to use, “markedly declined.”

It’s also possible they meant to say, “began remarkably declining.”

Unfortunately, by using these incorrectly, the meaning is lost.

You must make sure you use vocabulary correctly and in the right context.

Vital to make increases and decreases clear

The student finished this sentence with the following clause:

“…whereas the other two categories, marked with about 60 euros.”

It is unclear if this information is increasing or decreasing.

Alter this to “…categories, plunging noticeably to about 60 euros in 2010.”

You need high level vocabulary to describe these numbers, but the information must be clear and accurate.

How can you avoid these mistakes?

First, read the essay topic carefully.

Don’t assume you’ve seen it before or understand it after a quick glance.

Pay attention to the numbers being reported and their labels.

  • Euros
  • Pounds
  • Dollars
  • Ounces
  • Kilograms

Be careful to use vocabulary correctly when describing them.

Make sure to clearly report information as increasing or decreasing.

Ensure all information reported is accurate!


There are some common mistakes that can be disastrous for IELTS Task 1 scores.

It is vital that you take the time to understand the topic.

You also must make sure to report all information accurately.

Use vocabulary in the correct context.

Make sure to clearly report if information is increasing or decreasing.

Avoid making common mistakes on test day by having strategies!

We have all the strategies you need in 3 Keys IELTS!

Sign up today!

What questions do you have from today’s episode?

Let us know in the comments below.

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