Describing processes in IELTS Writing Part 1
Writing
Describing processes in IELTS Writing Part 1

Fun fact: most of the birthdays in my family are in November and December. That usually means one thing this time of year: a lot of baking! So, as I sit down to start writing, I still have ingredients and recipes on my mind, which explains my examples for today. If you bear with me, I’ll give you my super-popular vegan muffin recipe in IELTS format at the end of the blog.  As you may know, in IELTS Part 1 Writing, there are four basic types of tasks you might encounter: development, comparison, processes or maps. The first two of these are fairly common and may even be combined in one task. Therefore, much of the language preparation materials available focus on the type of language we need in describing how things have changed and how they compare to each other. However, occasionally, the task might involve a more unusual set of language. In a recent blog I have looked at what language you should demonstrate if you happen to get a map in the text and Emma has written another blog to help you with key vocabulary for maps. So, today, I’m going to look at what kind of language you need to demonstrate when faced with a process to help you prepare for all eventualities. In this type of writing there are three key areas you should work on to gain a higher mark: tense, voice and a specific type of linking called sequencing.  The first thing you need to do, is to look at the tense in which the task is written. Unless the task clearly indicates that the process took place in the past or is a planned process, your main tense would be the present simple. This is obviously good news, because the present simple is by definition ‘simple’. However, there are a couple of things you should pay attention to, including the third person singular ‘s’ and therefore the connection between the subject and the verb. For example: ‘Sophie bakes really fabulous muffins’.  This example also shows us why we need to pay attention to voice when we describe a process. Although, it is true that I bake exceptionally well, it is highly unlikely that you will be talking about a person doing things in Part 1 Writing of the IELTS Test. Most of the time, you can’t see who does things in the process picture: The objects and what happens to them are much more important than the person who makes these things happen. By definition, we need the passive in these kinds of situations.     Look at these examples: Somebody adds the oil to the flour.❌ Oil is added to the flour. ✅ We pre-heat the oven. ❌ The banana and soya milk are mixed in a blender. ✅  You might be able to gain some additional marks for using some more complex tenses in particular situations as long as you always remember to use the right voice and as long as your thoughts are linked clearly and the order in which things happen in the process is clear to the reader. In order to be able to do this easily, you may want to study sequencing words and expressions. These include simple expressions such as ‘first’ and ‘then’, but if you prepare well, you can impress the examiner by using some more difficult ones such as ‘subsequently’ or ‘meanwhile’ correctly. So, as promised, here is my recipe for delicious vegan muffins written in the style of a Part 1 Process Writing. You’re welcome! Sophie     Firstly, the oven is preheated to 190°C for fan ovens and 205°C for electric ovens. In the first stage of the muffin production process, 330 grams of flour, 220 grams of caster sugar and two heaped teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda are carefully mixed in a large bowl using a spoon. This mixture is set aside while the egg replacement mixture is produced. In this stage of the process, a blender is used to whip 290 millilitres of vegan milk (e.g. soya) and a large banana into a smooth liquid. Next, the liquid is added to the bowl together with 110 millilitres of vegetable oil and one or two tablespoons of vanilla or almond extract. At this stage any additional optional ingredients are added to the bowl – these might include, for example, cocoa powder, chopped nuts, or poppy seeds. All ingredients are then mixed into a smooth dough using a mixer on a medium setting. The mixture is then poured into a muffin pan or carefully spooned into strong cupcake paper and placed on the middle shelf of the oven for 17 minutes after which the finished muffins are removed carefully and allowed to stand for at least 15 minutes before consumption. (203 words)

Sophie Hodgson

14 December, 2020

Describing processes in IELTS Writing Part 1

Describing processes in IELTS Writing Part 1

Fun fact: most of the birthdays in my family are in November and December. That usually means one thing this time of year: a lot of baking! So, as I sit down to start writing, I still have ingredients and recipes on my mind, which explains my examples for today. If you bear with me, I’ll give you my super-popular vegan muffin recipe in IELTS format at the end of the blog.

As you may know, in IELTS Part 1 Writing, there are four basic types of tasks you might encounter: development, comparison, processes or maps. The first two of these are fairly common and may even be combined in one task. Therefore, much of the language preparation materials available focus on the type of language we need in describing how things have changed and how they compare to each other. However, occasionally, the task might involve a more unusual set of language. In a recent blog I have looked at what language you should demonstrate if you happen to get a map in the text and Emma has written another blog to help you with key vocabulary for maps. So, today, I’m going to look at what kind of language you need to demonstrate when faced with a process to help you prepare for all eventualities.

In this type of writing there are three key areas you should work on to gain a higher mark: tense, voice and a specific type of linking called sequencing.

The first thing you need to do, is to look at the tense in which the task is written. Unless the task clearly indicates that the process took place in the past or is a planned process, your main tense would be the present simple. This is obviously good news, because the present simple is by definition ‘simple’. However, there are a couple of things you should pay attention to, including the third person singular ‘s’ and therefore the connection between the subject and the verb. For example: ‘Sophie bakes really fabulous muffins’.

This example also shows us why we need to pay attention to voice when we describe a process. Although, it is true that I bake exceptionally well, it is highly unlikely that you will be talking about a person doing things in Part 1 Writing of the IELTS Test. Most of the time, you can’t see who does things in the process picture: The objects and what happens to them are much more important than the person who makes these things happen. By definition, we need the passive in these kinds of situations.

 

 

Look at these examples:

Somebody adds the oil to the flour.

Oil is added to the flour.

We pre-heat the oven.

The banana and soya milk are mixed in a blender.  

You might be able to gain some additional marks for using some more complex tenses in particular situations as long as you always remember to use the right voice and as long as your thoughts are linked clearly and the order in which things happen in the process is clear to the reader. In order to be able to do this easily, you may want to study sequencing words and expressions. These include simple expressions such as ‘first’ and ‘then’, but if you prepare well, you can impress the examiner by using some more difficult ones such as ‘subsequently’ or ‘meanwhile’ correctly.

So, as promised, here is my recipe for delicious vegan muffins written in the style of a Part 1 Process Writing. You’re welcome!

Sophie

 

 Vegan Muffin

Firstly, the oven is preheated to 190°C for fan ovens and 205°C for electric ovens. In the first stage of the muffin production process, 330 grams of flour, 220 grams of caster sugar and two heaped teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda are carefully mixed in a large bowl using a spoon. This mixture is set aside while the egg replacement mixture is produced. In this stage of the process, a blender is used to whip 290 millilitres of vegan milk (e.g. soya) and a large banana into a smooth liquid. Next, the liquid is added to the bowl together with 110 millilitres of vegetable oil and one or two tablespoons of vanilla or almond extract. At this stage any additional optional ingredients are added to the bowl – these might include, for example, cocoa powder, chopped nuts, or poppy seeds. All ingredients are then mixed into a smooth dough using a mixer on a medium setting. The mixture is then poured into a muffin pan or carefully spooned into strong cupcake paper and placed on the middle shelf of the oven for 17 minutes after which the finished muffins are removed carefully and allowed to stand for at least 15 minutes before consumption. (203 words)


top-tip

If you struggle with tenses, take a look at Cambridge Grammar for IELTS to make sure you make the right choices in the test.

Sophie Hodgson

Sophie has been supporting students on their IELTS journey since 2003 and feels privileged to have watched them succeed. While most people probably do not like taking tests, Sophie believes that preparing for the IELTS exam can be both interesting and fun. She loves language and structure and enjoys exploring both with her students to help them achieve their aims.

More about the author

filter tags

Recommended For You

recommended book image
IELTS Grammar for Bands 6.5 and above

IELTS Grammar for Bands 6.5 and above provides clear explanations and extensive practice of all the grammar you need for IELTS. Grammar is presented through listening material, so your listening skills will also develop while you study. It includes a wide range of tasks from IELTS Academic and General Training Reading, Writing and Listening sections. Previous title Cambridge Grammar for IELTS *Book Depository is an online bookstore which offers free worldwide delivery. Alternatively, you can find it at your local bookstore or online shop.

Skill bar

Stay up-to-date