EXPLAINING INCREASE AND DECREASE IN IELTS WRITING TASK 1

Hello from the Blog Author

Hello everyone, it’s been a while since I posted my last IELTS material on this blog. I’ve been missing for a while, finishing some projects in 2018, especially those related to publication. I recently presented my very first publication in an international conference, and this is one of the many reasons why I stop writing on my blog (sorry guys). The paper itself is about the role of multimodal text in marketing communication. If you are interested in this sort of thing, I will tell you a little bit about how exciting the conference was, in the next post, of course.


I am also busy (only recently) working on my very first book which is now waiting to get to the last stage of editorial. It took me almost two years writing that book, and it still took me a while to work (again) with my editor. But, yeah, I hope everything is gonna just be fine and that the book will be published soon. The book is an IELTS Preparation Book actually, so you may be interested in reading it 😁


Okay, so let’s just get down to business. You’ve bee missing for soooooo long, Mr. Author, so what the he*l are you up to now?


Well, I wrote a comprehensive (or yet to be?) material on writing task 1 not too long ago (you can read the article  here), but there are several points that I kinda forgot to include. These points are some of the most essentials of IELTS writing task 1, so I don’t want to miss it.

For your information, I took an IELTS test back in August 2016 (only to try finding out what’s so difficult with the test in one of the most well-known test center in my city). I got all 7.5 for Listening, Reading, and Speaking. But I got 6.0 for writing and this makes me think for a while, what is wrong with my writing? It is interesting to find out that writing is, so far, the most wicked part of the test which forces me to re-take another test and pay another $200 something 😠



Here are some of the problems why I got an extremely low score in my writing:

First, illegible hand writing. Okay, this is probably one of the biggest issues for people with ruthless pragmatism like me. I never consider aesthetic as something important in writing. But it is not an excuse not to make your writing readable. There is a possibility that my hand writing is too terrible to even give me .5 extra score 😢


TIPS: In the era of technology, I write mostly on computer and smartphone (like on this blog, for example). I keep taping on my gadget and never touch paper and pen. Well, this is no good, pal. IELTS writing requires the test takers to write using pencils, so you may want to go back to conventional way of writing stuff and stop taping on your gadget. Spend some time around paper and practice to produce a hand-written-writing (both task 1 and task 2). It may be difficult, but with practice, you will soon get used to it.



Second, time management. I try to remember what I had done so wrong that I got 6.0 in IELTS writing. And then I remember how I rushed at the very last moment of my writing task 2, writing some not-so-thoughtful-sentences because I was about to run out of time. This is ugly. This happens because I have to focus on giving my best hand writing. Looking for ideas while trying to meet the writing criteria and giving the best effort to make my hand writing readable is not an easy task.
TIPS: Do a lot of writing practice. Getting used to hand writing will do you a great help.



Third (and this is probably the biggest mistake), using the same word/expression/sentence structure over and over again. Not paraphrasing words in your writing will significantly reduce your point in ‘lexical resource’ criteria. One thing that needs paraphrasing (especially in the case of bar graph, line graph, pie chart, and table) is the explanation regarding increase and decrease. Let’s take this image as an example.
TIPS: Read an explanation below 👇



ielts writing task 1 bar graph
IELTS Writing Task 1 – Bar Graph




When I firs took the test, I always use one way of explaining the increase of the number of people using cars and the proportion of bus passengers, and that was of the point achieved. This is soooo wrong. So, for the data given above I wrote in my second paragraph:


The number of people taking bus started from the highest point of around 39% at the beginning of the period. It then gradually decreased and only represented around 15% at the end of the period. In contrary, the proportion of people choosing cars represented less than 9% in the first period. It steadily increased and eventually reached the highest point of around 38% four decades later.



You see that I always explain the point achieved by bus and car, and this has to be avoided. In my previous explanation on writing task 1, I said that there are two ways of explaining increase and decrease. The first one is by using the point achieved and the second one is by using the difference. I recently found out that there are at least four ways of explaining increase and decrease. This post is meant to be a little revision for my previous writing.


First, by using point achieved
If we take the case of bus as an example, it will be like this:
The number of people taking bus started from the highest point of around 39% at the beginning of the period. It then gradually decreased and only represented around 15% at the end of the period




Second, by using the difference
If we take the case of bus as an example, it will be like this:
The number of people taking bus started from the highest point of around 39% at the beginning of the period. It then experienced 24% decrease and reached the lowest point in the year of 2000




Third, by using multiplication (only the case of increasing percentage)
If we take the case of car as an example, it will be like this:
In contrary, the proportion of people choosing cars represented less than 9% in the first period. The percentage quadrupled four decades later.

Now try to remember information presented in this table

Multiplied by
The Verb version
or simply put it like this
1
Single
2
Double
Two times higher
3
Triple
Three times higher
4
Quadruple
Four times higher
5
Quintuple
Five times higher






Fourth, using fraction
If we take the case of bus as an example, it will be like this:
The number of people taking bus started from the highest point of around 39% at the beginning of the period. It is almost reduced by a half in the year of 2000.


Now try to remember information presented in this table
Number
Increased by
Decreased by

1/2
a half a half
1/3
one third
one third
1/4
a quarter
a quarter
3/4
three quarter
three quarter
1/5
one fifth
one fifth

As far as I know, the use of fraction is very common in the case of bar graph and pie chart.



That’s it. Four ways of explaining increase and decrease in IELTS writing task 1. I hope this will help you better do paraphrasing to increase your point in lexical resource. I also hope that this will help you improve your overall writing score. If you have any comment or feedback (or even criticism), please share it on the comment section. If you have (an)other way(s) of explaining increase and decrease, I will appreciate discussion on how it should be done.

Cheerio 👋

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