The academic writing tasks
The academic writing module consists of two tasks. It is designed to assess whether you have the following skills:
The ability to interpret visual information such as graphs, tables, charts or diagrams
- The ability to express your ideas clearly
- The ability to develop an argument into an essay of at least 250 words
- The ability to communicate in Academic English with appropriate grammar and vocabulary
You will be given two answer sheets – one for task 1 and one for task 2
You can write your answers in pen or pencil. You should therefore take a pen, pencil, sharpener and eraser with you to the examination center.
Task 1 carries one-third of the total marks. You are not supposed to spend more than 20 minutes on this task.
Task 2 carries the two-thirds of the marks. Your total marks in both tests are then translated into a score on the 9-band scale.
Academic writing task 1
Task 1 is to write a report based on information given in a chart, graph, table or diagram. It tests your ability to transfer visual information into text using your own words. Sometimes you will be given a diagram of the device. You will then have to explain how it works. Alternatively, you may have to look at a flow chart and describe the main stages in the process. You might also be asked to compare and contrast the information given in two graphs or charts.
To score well in this test, you should have the following skills.
- Ability to present, describe, interpret and compare data
- Ability to explain how something works
- Ability to use appropriate and accurate language
Here is an overview of the different visual units you will have to encounter.
You will have seen them in your mathematics textbooks. A pie chart is a chart circular in shape. It will be divided into sectors which usually show the percentages of something. Together, the sectors create a full circle. Pie charts are commonly used to present business data.
Line graphs are used to show how something changes over time. They have an x-axis (horizontal) and a y-axis (vertical). The x-axis usually shows the period of time over which something is measured. The y-axis usually shows what is being measured. Line graphs are used to show trends.
Like line graphs, bar graphs, too, have a horizontal and a vertical axis. Bar graphs consist of rectangular bars which can be horizontal or vertical in orientation. They are used to show how something has changed over a period of time.