IELTS Energy 314: How to Paraphrase the Question on IELTS Writing Task 1

In Writing Task 1, the first sentence of your essay should paraphrase the question.

paraphrase question ielts writing task 1

Although many IELTS teachers tell you this, some don’t tell you exactly how to do it.

In fact, some teachers tell you to just change a couple words.

That won’t work!

If you copy too much of the IELTS Writing Task 1 question, this will not be enough.

A sentence that is copied too closely to the test question will be crossed out and not counted as part of your essay, possibly bringing your score down because you will fail to hit that 150 words.

I’ve even seen students copy a 4-5 word chunk from the question. These will also be crossed off and not counted as part of your essay.

You can change the sentence structure by making it passive, or swapping the subject and object. You can also introduce longer phrases into it, such as naming all the countries or categories shown on the diagram.

In addition, of course, you must try to paraphrase, or use as many of your own words as possible that mean the same thing as the question.

Let’s look at some examples.

The charts below show the results of a survey about what people of different age groups say makes them most happy.

Paraphrase tips:

  • Never put the word below in your paraphrase.
  • Instead of charts, you could say diagrams, phrases, figures, graphs or representations.
  • At the beginning of your sentence, write In these diagrams, we are being shown…
  • Instead of show, you could use exhibit, demonstrate or display.
  • To paraphrase people of different age groups, you could write those of different generations, or a range of different ages.
  • When trying to paraphrase, try going more specific or more extreme. Instead of happy, write joyful, more exuberant, or satisfied.
  • Never put the last sentence of the question (Summarize the main features…) in your essay.

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Quick extra tip: if there are 1 or 2 years, it is a Static essay. If there are more than 3 years, it is a Change Over Time essay.

The chart below gives information about Someland’s main exports in 2005, 2015 and future predictions for 2025.

  • Change the structure. Information about the principle goods sold for 3 years is provided in the chart.

Practice this by paraphrasing as many test questions as you can on ieltsbuddy or ielts-exam.net.

Then, go back to each question and practice writing the overall trend.

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Tell us what you think in the comments section below!

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  • 1) chart : plan , map , diagram , phrase , figure , graph , representation
    2) show (V) : display, present, exhibit , indicate, note, point , explain, reveal, tell, prove , demonstrate
    3) generations : a range of different ages
    4) happy : joyful , satisfied, pleased, contented, more exuberant
    5) main : chief , principle, foremost
    6) … gives information : .. is provided in the …