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How to Write a High Scoring Task 1 Overview Paragraph

If you're preparing for the IELTS Writing test, you know that Task 1 is no walk in the park. It requires you to describe and analyse a chart, graph, or diagram in just 20 minutes. If you want to get a high band score in this part, you also have to write a cohesive and well-organized overview paragraph that summarizes the main trends and patterns in the data.

In this blog post, we'll give you a step-by-step guide on how to write a strong overview paragraph for Task 1. We'll show you what to include, what to avoid, and how to structure your sentences to make your writing clear and easy to understand.

So, whether you're a beginner or an advanced IELTS student, keep reading to learn how to ace your Task 1 overview paragraph and take your writing skills to the next level!

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IELTS Task 1 Overview Paragraph

How to Write a High Scoring Task 1 Overview Paragraph - IELTS Luminary

In IELTS Task 1, writing an overview paragraph is crucial to achieve a high score in the Writing section. The purpose of an overview paragraph is to provide a brief summary of the main features of the graph, chart or diagram that you will discuss in the body paragraphs. By doing so, you will demonstrate to the examiner that you have understood the key trends and patterns in the data and can organize your writing effectively.

Without an overview paragraph, your essay will lack coherence and structure, making it difficult for the examiner to follow your arguments. As a result, you will not be able to score higher than band 5 in the IELTS Writing section. It is, therefore, essential to dedicate time and effort to crafting a clear and concise overview paragraph. However, you can get our IELTS Task 1 comprehensive eBook where we have provided extensively everything that you need to ace this writing section. 

So, an overview paragraph should consist of 2-3 sentences and should outline the main features of the graph, chart, or diagram. It is important to keep in mind that the overview should not contain any detailed analysis or interpretation of the data. Instead, it should provide a broad perspective on the information presented and how it will be discussed in the body paragraphs.

Therefore, it is an opportunity to showcase your ability to summarise the data effectively. By writing a smart overview paragraph, you can make a positive impression on the examiner and improve your chances of achieving a high score in the IELTS Writing section.

Overview Paragraph Writing Strategy

To write a strong overview paragraph for IELTS Task 1, it is important to employ effective strategies. One of the most crucial strategies is to thoroughly understand the question and carefully analyse the diagram or chart. This is the foundation of any successful IELTS essay writing.

To begin, carefully read the question and understand what information is being presented. Identify the key trends, patterns, and features in the diagram or chart, such as the highest and lowest values, any significant changes or trends, and any outliers or unusual data points. These features will form the basis of your overview paragraph.

Next, decide which features you will focus on in your overview paragraph. You may want to group similar features together, such as trends over time, or compare and contrast different parts of the chart or diagram. As we have demonstrated in detail in our Task 1 eBook, it is important to make sure that your overview paragraph is balanced and covers the main features of the diagram or chart.


As you are writing your overview paragraph, it is important to keep it concise and to the point. Avoid providing too much detail or analysis at this stage; instead, focus on summarizing the key features of the chart or diagram.

Overall, understanding the question and carefully analysing the chart or diagram is critical to writing a strong overview paragraph for IELTS Task 1. By identifying the key features and focusing on the most important information, you can create a clear and effective summary that sets the tone for the rest of your essay. Well, if you want more personalised assistance with your IELTS Writing improvement, you can check here.

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How to Analyse A Task 1 Question

To write an effective overview paragraph for IELTS Task 1, it is important to identify the three major areas in the question sentence:

  • topic words or keywords,

  • micro keywords, and

  • action words.


These areas provide the necessary framework to ensure that your overview paragraph accurately and concisely summarizes the key features of the graph or chart.

The topic words or keywords are the most significant words in the question sentence that describe the main subject of the graph or chart. They provide a general idea of what the data is about and give direction to your analysis.


Micro keywords are the specific details that are important for understanding the data, such as units of measurement or time periods.


Finally, action words indicate the type of information that needs to be provided in the essay, such as describing a trend or comparing data.

When you identify the keywords and micro keywords in a Task 1 question, it helps you to quickly understand what the diagram is mainly about and what information is important to focus on. This can make it easier for you to find the main features of the diagram, like the highest and lowest sales numbers or how different products compare to each other. However, to dive deep into the details with examples, check our comprehensive eBooks, prepared just for you.

IELTS Vocabulary List with Meanings and Examples

Dynamic or Static Diagram

When approaching a Writing Task 1 question, it is important to recognize whether you are dealing with a dynamic or static diagram.


A dynamic diagram represents data that changes over time, while a static diagram shows data for a specific point in time. By understanding the nature of the diagram, you can employ the following strategies to develop an effective overview paragraph:


If it is a dynamic diagram:

  • See the starting and finishing points of data

  • See the trend line of data how it changes over the time. See whether it is increasing or decreasing, or remaining stable over the period.

  • Find if there are significant changes in the general trend line.

  • Locate the highest and the lowest points that the data reached

If it is a static diagram:

  • See where are the extreme values

  • Locate the significant differences

  • Look if there is any exception

  • Find if there are similarities

We have discussed all these points in extensive detail in our popular Task 1 eBook, you can check here if you are interested.


Please note, you should not explain any data in detail. Instead, state the major features in general terms and save the details for the body paragraphs. By following this approach, you can ensure that your overview paragraph is clear, concise, and effectively summarizes the main features of the diagram.

Overall, by analysing the diagram carefully and following the strategies discussed on this page, you can create a strong and effective overview paragraph that sets the tone for the rest of your essay.

How to Identify The Main Features

Identifying the main features is crucial for achieving a high band score in IELTS Task 1 report writing. This is because the main features are the key elements of the diagram that you must accurately and effectively describe in your report. Failure to identify and describe the main features can result in a low band score, as it will demonstrate a lack of understanding of the data and an inability to effectively communicate the information.

To identify the main features in an IELTS Task 1 diagram, follow these steps:


Understand the type of diagram: The first step is to identify the type of diagram you are presented with. Common types of diagrams in IELTS Task 1 include bar graphs, line graphs, pie charts, tables, and diagrams showing processes or cycles.

Read the title and labels: The title and labels of the diagram provide valuable information about what the diagram represents. Read them carefully to understand the topic and scope of the diagram.

Identify the main trend: Look for any significant trends or patterns in the data. This might include an increase or decrease over time, a comparison between different groups or categories, or a relationship between different variables.

Identify the key features: Look for any significant data points, unusual or extreme values, or other features that stand out. This might include maximum or minimum values, spikes or dips in the data, or other important points of interest.


Note any changes or comparisons: If the diagram shows a comparison between different groups or categories, or changes over time, be sure to note these in your report.

Consider the scale and units: Understanding the scale and units used in the diagram is important for accurately interpreting the data. Be sure to note the units used on each axis, and any changes in scale or units throughout the diagram.

Overall, identifying the main features is essential for effectively communicating the information presented in the diagram. By following these steps, you can ensure that you accurately and effectively describe the main features of the diagram, and achieve a high band score in IELTS Task 1 report writing.

After identifying the main features of the diagram, you can simply summarize them in one or two clear sentences. This summary will serve as the overview paragraph of your report.


Let's put our previously discussed strategy into action and craft an overview paragraph using the following example.

The pie charts indicate changes in the proportions of energy produced in a country from 1983 to 2003.

Summarize the information by selecting and reporting the main features and make comparisons where relevant.

Pie Chart 1 - Proportions of Energy Produced in A Country from 1983 to 2003 - IELTS Task 1 Overview Paragraph
Pie Chart 2 - Proportions of Energy Produced in A Country from 1983 to 2003 - IELTS Task 1 Overview Paragraph

If you analyse the pie chart question above, you will find the followings:

Topic words: energy production

Micro keywords: changes in the proportions, 1983, 2003

Action words: This is simply the instruction sentence, which is always same (Summarize the information by selecting and reporting the main features and make comparisons where relevant.) for all the types of task 1 questions. It wants you to summarise the information, describe the main feature and compare between the significant features, if relevant. Therefore, summarising, describing and comparing are typically the action words for all the task 1 question types.

So, now you know that the diagram is about the changes in the proportion of energy production in 1983 and 2003. You are instructed to describe the significant changes and compare the relevant features.

If you can analyse a Task 1 diagram this way, it will not be difficult to write a high band report.

After completing the question analysis, you need to find the major features in the diagrams. Just 2 features are enough to discuss as you are required to write only around 150 – 200 words withing the limited time (about 20 minutes).

Identify the major features

To analyse a pie chart in IELTS Task 1, you can follow these steps:


  1. Understand the Title: Carefully read the title of the chart or graph as it provides crucial information about the topic and what it represents.

  2. Identify Units of Measurement: Units of measurement can vary and can include amounts, time, age, or percentages. In some cases, units may not be specified, but they can be inferred from the title or other information presented.

  3. Calculate the total: Make sure you have the total of the data represented in the pie chart.

  4. Identify the largest and smallest sectors: Determine which sectors are the largest and smallest in terms of their proportion of the total.

  5. Highlight key information: Highlight any particularly important or interesting information shown in the chart, such as a large sector representing a significant portion of the total.

  6. Compare sectors: Compare the size of each sector to describe the distribution of the data.

  7. Determine Time Periods: It is essential to identify if the data represents the past, present, or future, as this information will determine the appropriate tense to use.

  8. Similarities: In addition to observing significant increases and decreases, also look for similarities or constancies over a period of time.

So, coming across the checklist, these are the major features that we have identified in the pie charts:

  1. Oil constituted the largest energy share in both periods

  2. Natural gas and coal experienced the most significant change

We will simply state these main features using one or two sentences which will be our overview paragraph.

Let's form the paragraph:

"Overall, the nation's energy production was dominated by oil in both years, with a noticeable shift in the proportional share of coal and natural gas."

Great job, we're done with the Overview paragraph for the Task 1 Pie Chart question. It was simple, we just highlighted the main features that were easy to spot in the chart without going into much detail. We'll save the specifics for the body paragraphs where we'll elaborate further.

Don't forget to check the following resources:

Check the detailed discussion on all the question types

Pie Chart                 Bar Chart      

Line Graph               Map

Table Chart              Process Diagram 

Multiple Graphs

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