Overviews for IELTS Writing Task 1 – Global literacy

In Writing Task 1, identifying the main trends, differences, or stages is a key skill.

Practise with the question below, and then write an overview.  

Click on the tabs to see mine.


Write down the main differences

The chart below shows the proportion of adults able to read and write in different regions of the world.

Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.

IELTS Writing Task 1 Literacy

Now write down the main differences before proceeding to the next tab    

Clear Overview

Comments on overviews

You need a clear overview to get a band score 7 for Task Achievement.


Task Achievement, Band score 7

Task 1 Examiners' Criteria Task Achievement


The word stages refers to processes, and in questions with figures you need to think about trends and differences.

If a question has changes over time, like in this one, it's best to mention both trends and differences.

If there are no trends, like in the one about Australian poverty, I would find at least two differences to mention.

Make it easy for the examiner to give you a 7 - use the word overall, and put your overview in a separate paragraph.

The overview is the first thing the examiner looks for, so don't hide it in the introduction or at the end.

Finally, if there's a total or an average, as in the question about literacy or the one about Australian poverty, I would consider it to be the most important information, so I'd include it in the overview.

For more information on Task 1 questions see here.

See my Task 1 model answers here.

See sample marked students' Task 1 answers here.

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Minh Le
Minh Le
5 years ago

Hi Tony, I am afraid that you don t realize me as ur old student. I am gonna take the test next March so appreciate your little comments for my following answer: ) . Thanks in advance Tony. What illustrated in the bar chart is the variations in the percentage of literate adults categorized by gender in seven different regions all over the world according to a research in 2010. From an overall perspective, it can be seen clearly that adult literacy is more popular among males than females in average with 87% for the former and 77% for the… Read more »

5 years ago
Reply to  Minh Le

Hi Minh Le

You’re right – I don’t recognise you 🙁

The organisation of your answer is good, and you’ve selected and highlighted information correctly.

There are some problems with your grammar.

I’ll just mention a few, but there are others. Can you fix them?

> What illustrated in the bar chart
> adult literacy is more popular
> two gender

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