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

Today we’ll share an IELTS Task 1 mistake that you need to avoid on test day.

Many students make this error without realizing it.

Tragically, it can cause you to score band 4 on Task Achievement.

We’ll share how to avoid this mistake so you can get the IELTS score you need!

Task Achievement band 4

You may not have looked up the IELTS Writing band descriptor for band 4.

You’re likely assuming you’ll at least get a 6 or 7, so why worry about a 4?

Unfortunately, key mistakes can give you this score for Task Achievement.

Task Achievement band 4: Key features/bullet points which are presented may be irrelevant, repetitive, inaccurate or inappropriate.

The danger of inaccurate information

When you are writing an IELTS Task 1 essay, all the information you provide must be accurate.

Numbers, dates and figures must all be correct.

If it isn’t, your Task Achievement score will drop to a 4.

This is a tragic mistake that you want to avoid!

Labeling mistakes

A recent essay Aubrey provided feedback on contained a tragic error.

This caused the student to receive band 4 on Task Achievement.

The student had mixed up two of the labels on the chart.

The line marked “tablets” was described as “desktops” and vice versa.

These lines from the graph were referred to incorrectly in both the overall trend and the body paragraphs.

IELTS Task 1 essay

The following is the Task 1 topic for this sample.

The overall trend stated that sales of desktops had overtaken laptops over the period, whereas tablets rose slightly.

Unfortunately, this was inaccurate, as sales of tablets skyrocketed on the chart.

Likely, the mistake was mixing up the labels.

Again, in the body paragraphs, this mistake was seen.

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An easy, common mistake

It is not surprising that this mistake is made often by students.

You have a lot to think about when you’re writing Academic Task 1.

If you’re not careful, it’s very easy to mix up labels.

This can also happen for General Task 1.

If you aren’t careful, you can miss part of a bullet point or misunderstand it.

Task 1 strategies

In our 3 Keys IELTS course, we teach strategies for Task 1.

This includes a strategy for understanding and dividing information on a chart or graph.

Once the information is divided, you should circle the most important numbers.

For this graph, circle the beginning and end of each line as well as the highest and lowest.

Additionally, circle anything interesting or surprising.

How to avoid this error

It’s not enough to organize the information and determine the numbers that should be reported.

When brainstorming, glance back at the chart to make sure you are clear about labels.

This should be checked again while you are writing.

Check to make sure numbers are accurate and nothing has been mixed up.

Finally, when proofreading your essay, quickly check this again.


Today’s tips can help you avoid this common IELTS Task 1 error.

Apply these strategies as you write practice essays.

Be sure to brainstorm, divide information and double check that the information you’re reporting is accurate.

For all the strategies you need on test day, sign up for our online IELTS course.

What questions do you have from today’s episode?

Please leave a comment below.

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