This IELTS Writing Task 1 post deals with how to write a cycle diagram and how to use different verb forms in the answer to task 1. Have a look at the title of the diagram and then try to write the answer yourself. Then, find the best model answer and match your writing with it. There should be some dissimilarity between the answers. However, observe if there is any big difference in use of tense, especially, verb structures. This simple yet easy model answer presented here should provide a minimum of 7.5-8.0 band score in writing task 1. Some important vocabularies from the model answer are also explained at the end of this post.
The diagram shows the life cycle of a special type of tuna fish.
Now, consider the following points before you write your answer for this diagram.
Have a look at the title and the picture again and try to determine the tense which you will use in your answer.
Point 1: What tense structure should you use?
There is no use of past or future tenses. So, the answer that you will write should not contain any past or future tense, rather you need to use the present tense in every paragraph you write. If you write any sentence in past or future form in this answer, you will surely be penalized.
Try to write your answer in Present Indefinite Tense. Here are some structures with example sentences:
There + is/are + number + noun + extension
There are 6 stages in the diagram… … .. . .
Subject + am/is/are + adjective + noun
This is a continuous process.
Subject (3rd person singular number) + main verb+s/es + extension
Juvenile tuna fishes eat voraciously.
Point 2: How many paragraphs should you write?
If you scrutinize the diagram, you can see some interesting things. Look at the color differences. There are two color parts in the diagram; grey part and white part (labeled in the diagram too). This means that the life cycle of a tuna fish is divided into two sections, namely the Plankton period and the Nekton period. So, you can describe the diagram in two main bodies. In body 1/paragraph 1, you can describe the plankton phase and in body 2/paragraph 2, you can discuss the nekton phase.
Point 3: How to describe the cycle?
Cycle diagrams mainly depict natural processes. In most cases, you will be given such a diagram on environmental issues like the water cycle, pollution, gas movements, animal life cycles etc. The labels in the diagrams will provide you with the necessary information. You have to use the information in your answer. You should try to use the verbs from the information and change the form of the verbs or use synonyms for those verbs in your Writing Task 1 answer. You must not use the same verb over and over again; rather find some suitable synonyms for them. There are different stages which follow an arrow. This makes a sequence for the cycle. You must not miss the sequence when you write your answer. There might be some additional information labeled in the diagram. You should try to use them as well.
Point 4: Word count?
Word count is crucial in IELTS both Writing tasks. So, you should have an idea of how much to write on different writing tasks. Some diagrams may compel you to write more than 200 words because there is so much information to cover. However, writing too many words will not earn you better scores. More than 150 words mean 151 words or more. As you will not get extra marks for the extra words, avoid writing too many words. Try to write some condensed sentences so that you need not write more words than necessary.
Point 5: Personal opinions? NO!
It will be a dangerous job and will surely cost you marks or score if you provide any opinion, reasons, impacts or effects and solutions if not illustrated in the diagram. Never write them at all. Avoid using any words, linkers or phrases which indicate opinion, reasons, impacts or effects and solutions.
Consider the above-mentioned points and get a great band score.
Now let’s have a look at the model answer.
The depicted diagram illustrates the life cycle of a typical tuna fish. It is apparent from the diagram that the life cycle of this fish is an ongoing process and there are six stages in total.
The picture clearly shows that the life cycle of this special type of tuna fish initiates in deep water with mating between male and female species which are sexually mature in the Nekton period. In stage 2, female tunas lay eggs of about 0.04 inches in open water. With spawning of eggs Plankton period starts. In 24 hours tuna larvae hatch from those eggs and they survive by using oil from egg sac of their body. In the fourth stage, tuna larvae transform into juvenile tunas which learn how to become shoal member in open water and eat voraciously.
Thus, in 60-90 days they complete their Plankton period and start their Nekton period in stage 5. These tunas become free swimmers and stay in big shoals. In the sixth stage, adult tunas are ready for mating again. The average lifespan of these tunas is 15-30 years.
To conclude, the diagram shows that this typical tuna fish passes around 15 to 30 years to complete the life cycle.
Word count: 200
Related vocabulary with explanations:
Depicted: displayed, illustrated, presented, shown, given,
Illustrate: show, demonstrate, display,
Typical: classic, special,
Apparent: visible, evident, clear,
Ongoing: continuing, life-long, continuous,
In total: altogether, all in all, in sum,
Initiate: start, begin, commence,
Mating: to have sex, to join together,
Species: type, kind, class,
Mature: grown-up, adult, full-grown, fully developed,
Spawning: seeding, starting point,
Larvae: the first condition of fishes after hatching from eggs
Hatch: emerge, produce, appear,
Survive: stay alive, live, live on, endure,
Egg sac: the front lower part of larvae where oil is available for their survival
Transform: change, convert,
Juvenile: young, babyish
Shoal: a place where a sea, river, or another body of water is shallow
Voraciously: hungrily, avidly, insatiably,
Adult: fully grown, grown-up
Lifespan: length of life, the period of life,
Conclude: sum up, end, finish
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Here are some other diagrams that you can practice: