Proceedings of The 4th International Conference on New Trends in Teaching and Education
An Analysis of Task Type and Density of Information of Official Academic IELTS Task 1 Graph Writing Prompts
Dr. Hilda Freimuth
Research has shown that task type and density of information on graph prompts can influence the interpretation of the graph and possibly test scores. Given this, the author of this study analysed 35 official Cambridge Task 1 academic IELTS writing prompts to determine their level of difficulty for test-takers. The study is based on research that the simpler the task type and the fewer the data points on a graph, the better lexical performance of the test-taker. These two features were therefore closely investigated in the prompts. Findings revealed that data points ranged significantly from seven to sixty-six, with an average of 18.7 per prompt. For this study, prompts with sixteen data points were categorized as ‘simple’. The study found that 49% of the official IELTS Exam Task 1 graph writing prompts fell into the category of ‘simple’ in terms of data points. The study also found that 23% of the prompts consisted of more than one type of graph with 54% displaying more than one graph in the prompt itself, making it more complex. With this study defining ‘simple’ as one graph with no more than sixteen data points, only five out of the thirty-five prompts or 14% of the official IELTS exam prompts were categorized as ‘simple’. The bar graph made the highest number of appearances in the prompts at fourteen in all, with the line graph a close second at eleven. The pie chart appeared nine times in the prompt and the table eight times.
keywords: IELTS, academic writing, graph prompts.