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Planning and structuring IELTS Writing Task 1 Essay

Has this ever happened to you too?

Did you think of writing something good while the starting of your essay but ended up writing something else?

Well, then this article is for you.

One of the main reasons why students seldom get a good score in writing is due to the lack of appropriate planning. To my student, I often say “either you learn from your mistake or from others, but the  first one is going to cost you much”

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IELTS essay planning is the key to getting a band score of 7 or above in the IELTS writing test.  Remember the UPWP formula.

You should plan for at least 5 minutes before you start to write.

Benefits of planning:-

1. Good planning actually saves you time because you already know what you are going to write

2. Good planning leads to a more relevant answer because you will select the information that matters most

3. Good planning leads to a better structure and language because you know when to change the grammar, use cohesive devices and others

If you do not plan you have to think about the task, the ideas, the structure, linking phrases, vocabulary, grammatical structures all at the same time. This is impossible to do well. So plan first!

Stage Suggested time
(Total 20 minutes)
1 U
  • Read and understand the question and the given figure or facts.
  • 2 minutes
2 P
  • Plan what you are going to write in your four paragraphed essay
  • 2 minutes
3 W
  • Write your answer
  • 14 minutes
4 P
  • Proofread your writing
  • 2 minutes

The way to organise your four paragraphed essay is as below:-

Paragraph Content(Total 3/4 Paragraphs)
  • Introduction
  • 1-2 Sentences(s)
  • 20-25 words
  • 2 minutes
  • Overview
  • 20-25 words
  • 1-2 sentence(s)
  • 2 minutes
  • 1st Body Paragraph
  • 60 words
  • 4-5 sentences
  • 5 minutes
  • 2nd Body Paragraph
  • 60 words
  • 4-5 sentences
  • 5 minutes



Better we consider this example:-

You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

 The graph shows the trends in consumption of fast foods in Britain.

Write a report for a university lecturer describing the information shown below.
» You should write at least 150 words.

Consumption of fast food per person in gram in Britain.
Consumption of fast food in Britain per person (in gram). explaining line graph perfectly: money per week spent on fast foods in britain Explaining line graph perfectly: Money per week spent on fast foods in Britain ielts graph23 consumption fast food


Remember the four-stage planning process:-

  1. U(understanding)

i. the trend of fast food consumption in Britain is the question

ii. the figure is comparing the consumption of Hamburger, Fish and Chips, and Pizza.

iii. time period given is from 1970 to 1990

2. P(Planning)

i. for introduction

  • paraphrasing question plus dates

ii. for an overview

  • increasing and decreasing popularity of fish and pizza

i. for the first body paragraph

  • the most popular and the least popular item of 1970 and the amount of difference between them

ii. for the second body paragraph

  • the overall trend for the next 10-15 years to cover the date till 1980/1985
  • how fish and chips become the highest followed by hamburger and pizza becoming the lowest
  • Common Consumption

3. W(Writing)

The provided line graph compares the changes in the trend of fast food consumption in Britain within a time span of 20 years i.e from 1970 to 1990.


As is observed (starting with some phrase), more and more British people switch to Fish and chips, and Hamburger, however(connective word), Pizza becomes less favourite within the given period of time.

Diving deep(Phrase for body paragraph), in 1970 (write date either at the beginning of the sentence or at the last), Pizza is the most popular(superlative degree) instant food(lexical resource for fast food) whereas(connective word), Hamburger is the least (superlative degree- it is suggested to write the appropriate antonyms, most-least, highest-lowest but not most-lowest) preferred at 300 gm/person and 30 gm/person consumption units respectively, clearly the consumption of Pizza is ten times higher than that of Hamburger(comparing how big?).

Further, for the next 15 years(paraphrasing a period up to 1985) the consumption of Hamburger sees almost constant growth(using the noun form) in its lovers reaching around 100 units in 1985. Also(connective word to show similarity),  Hamburger follows a similar pattern, but until 1980 only to rise by 70 units(this time explain the total change in number). Contrastingly(connective word to show dissimilarity), the popularity of Pizza decreases(using the verb form) each year. Commencing from 1980, Fish and chips increase dramatically (explaining the nature of increment) to hit the highest in 1990 reaching 300 gm/person consumption. Following this, Hamburger becomes the second most opted food in the same year. However(connective word to show opposite trend), the most popular item of 1985 i.e. Pizza becomes the least popular with a fall in 100 units of consumption (comparing the same item in different dates). It is noteworthy to find the equal number of British peoples’ crave for Pizza and Fish, and Pizza and Hamburger in 1983 and 1986 respectively.


Checking for any errors.

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