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In order to do well in this section, you need to know specific vocabulary

related to describing trends.

Verbs to describe an upward trend

The following verbs can be used to describe a trend or pattern that goes up.

climb (past: climbed)

go up (past: went up)
grow (past: grew)
increase (past: increased)
jump (past: jumped)
rise (past: rose)
rocket (past: rocketed)

Sentence examples using words that show an upward trend:

The number of enrolments increased significantly between 2005 and

Production rose from 800 units in May to 1000 units the following

Verbs to describe a downward trend

The following verbs can be used to describe a trend or pattern that goes

decline (past: declined)

decrease (past: decreased)
drop (past: dropped)
fall (past: fell)
go down (past: went down)
plummet (past: plummeted) = to fall or drop suddenly in amount or value
plunge (past: plunged) = to fall or drop suddenly in amount or value

Plunge and Plummet, when describing trends, have the same meaning.

Sentence examples using words that show a downward trend:

Prices of Model X dropped significantly once Model Y became available
on the market.
Company profits decreased in 2013 by 15%.

Words and phrases used to describe a stable trend

To describe a more or less stable pattern, you can use the following

maintain (past: maintained)

remain (past: remained)
stay (past: stayed)

Adverbs used when describing trends

Adverbs describe HOW something happens. They usually come after a verb.

sharply, rapidly, quickly, steeply

considerably, significantly, substantially
steadily, gradually, moderately
slightly, slowly

To see the degree of intensity of these adverbs, look at the chart below.

Academic Writing Task 1 Summary Chart

Nouns used when describing trends
dip (a momentarily small drop in the level of something)
fluctuation (= an irregular rising and falling in number or amount; a
peak (= the highest point)
slump (= a severe or prolonged fall in the price, value, or amount of
variation (= a change or difference in condition, amount, or level)

Quick IELTS Academic Writing Tips when describing

Do not describe every small upwards or downwards movement. You need to
look at the important trends or characteristics and give a general overview.

You will normally use verbs in the past tense when describing trends though
always look for dates to confirm which tense to use.

Do not write about things that do not appear in the graph. You shouldn't give
an opinion, just describe the information that appears.

Even if your grammar (and vocabulary) is perfect, you will lose marks for not
showing an accurate understanding.
IELTS Writing - Academic Task 1 -
The following words and phrases will help you describe trends:
a rise
an increase
a surge
Nouns a growth
a peak

a fluctuation
a variation
a period of stability
a plateau

a fall
a decrease
a decline
a dip

to rise
to increase
to surge
to grow
to peak
to skyrocket

to fluctuate
to vary

to fall
to decrease
to decline
to dip
to dive
to plunge

to show an upward trend

to show a downward trend
to hit the highest point
to hit the lowest point
to reach a peak
to show some fluctuation
to fluctuate wildly
to remain stable
Phrases to remain static
to remain unchanged
to stay constant
to reach a plateau
to level off
to flatten out
the highest
the lowest
the second highest
the third highest
compared to
compared with
relative to

Adverbs steadily

Adjectives significant

There was a substantial increase in the value of stocks on March 15th.
House prices rose dramatically in July.
The number of tourists visiting New York fell sharply in October.
The percentage of students walking to school continued to rise gradually over the ten
year period from 2000-2010.
There was a sharp increase in employee turnover after the strike.
Interest in environmental issues has risen steadily over the last 10 years.
1. Percent the word percent comes after a number

More than 25% of the students are from Brazil.
More than 25 percent of the students come from Brazil.
2. Percentage - The word percentage comes after words like the, a, this and that. Often,
it is preceded by an adjective.
A small percentage of residents have lived in the building for more than 20 years.
The percentage of students who live on campus has fallen sharply since the fire.
3. For numbers up to ten, write the numbers in words. For numbers over 10, you can
write the numbers in numbers.
Five percent of the employees were late this month.
More than 50 percent of the students handed in their assignments late after the long
4. If the sentence starts with a number, always write it in words.
Examples: Wrong: 25 students were from China.
Right: Twenty-five students were from China.
Take note of the following prepositions which you will need to describe dates, numbers and
In December,
In 2005,
From 2001-2010,
By 1998,
Between 1965-1969
Increase of 25%
Decreased by 10%
Fell from 200 in July to 150 in August
Compared to
Compared with
Relative to

IELTS Writing Task 1: make a list of collocations

Collocations (explained in more detail in this lesson) are groups of words that are often
found together.
I'm sure you already know several common collocations for writing task 1 (e.g. a
significant rise, reach a peak), but why not make a list of as many as possible? Let's
start the list by looking through my recent task 1 lessons.
Collocations for any topic:
distinct stages
final steps
at the... stage
a significant rise
over a/the period
Collocations for specific topics:
produce electricity
the capture of energy
take energy, convert energy
global turnover
sales figures, worldwide sales
See if you can add to the list. I'll give you

It's easy to make small mistakes when describing ages and age groups. Here are some
examples that should help.
One person:
He is 10 years old.
He is a 10-year-old.
He is aged 10.
More than one person:
The children in the class are all 10 years old.
It is a class of 10-year-olds (or "10-year-old children").
The children in the class are all aged 10.
Age groups with more than one person:
The chart shows the preferred hobbies of children (who are) between 10 and 12
years old.
The chart shows the preferred hobbies of 10- to 12-year-olds (or "10- to 12-
year-old children").
The chart shows the preferred hobbies of children aged 10 to 12.
Have you ever tried writing several different introductions for the same question?
It's a useful exercise. Take this question for example:
The table below shows the proportion of different categories of families
living in poverty in Australia in 1999.

(Cambridge IELTS 4, page 31)
Here are 3 introductions that paraphrase the question in different ways. Notice
that I sometimes use words from the table to help me.
1) The chart compares percentages of Australians from six different family types
who were classed as poor in 1999.
2) The table gives information about poverty rates among six types of household
in Australia in the year 1999.
3) The table compares different categories of Australian families in terms of the
proportion of people living below the poverty line in each one.