Do I need an overview for an IELTS Diagram?

There is a simple answer to this question. YES!

For IELTS writing task 1 (academic paper), the overview is the most important paragraph. It is the paragraph that contains all the key features to help the reader grasp the main information contained in the diagram.

You need to look at the stages and summarise them into one statement (max two statements). It is important that the examiner finds your overview quickly and easily, so always start with “Overall, …”.

The overview is part of the marking criterion of Task Achievement. See below how it affects your score:

  • Band 5 = no clear overview
  • Band 6 = an overview is presented
  • Band 7 = a clear overview of main trends or stages

You can see how important this overview is. Even when you are given a diagram, you must give details of the main stages in your overview.

To see a model answer for a diagram and other useful tips for writing task 1 academic, click here:

For anyone taking the IELTS GT test, you will be asked to write a letter. Always follow the order of the prompts given. Each prompt will be one paragraph. Add more detail to each paragraph from your imagination to make the letter realistic. Make sure you understand who the letter is to and what the purpose of the letter is. This will help you decide your tone and style. See this page:

All the best



  1. Devinder Singh says

    Hi Liz,
    I gave IELTS exam a day before yesterday and try to remember everything whatever I learnt from your free lessons, however during tests the situation was little bit different. I got distracted during listening and therefore I lost completely, hence not able to recall all wordings they used(thats another mistake). Also I forgot to write apostrophe(‘) in many places. Results are pending.

  2. Hi
    March 02 Academic
    Task 1: line graph or rail track in length with maximum usage in four countries.
    Task 2: Country should prouduce all food eaten by their populations and import less as possible. To what extent you agree or disagree
    Reading the texts where too lengthy

  3. Hello
    1 March 2019 speaking
    Part 1
    Related to crowd, hometown, pollution, sharing thing to other
    Part 2
    Talk about a person who is handsome or beautiful you met or seen.
    Part 3
    Related to cloth, model cloth advertising, hill station.

    Writing 2 march
    Some people believe that teenagers should learn all subjects in school. Some people believe that they should learn only the subject which they find interesting.
    Discuss both view give your own opinion.

    Task 1
    barchart and table of salary evaluation in UK of different worker.

    Listening was too easy reading was moderate.

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