IELTS Task One Process Diagram

If you're looking to improve your IELTS task one writing, you've come to the right place. On this page you can find a band nine model answer for an IELTS task one process diagram question. You'll also find useful structure and vocabulary to answer this question type.

IELTS Band Nine Model Answer

This is my model answer for an IELTS task one process diagram. The key vocabulary is underlined and you can find the meanings of those words below.

The diagram below shows the life cycle of a salmon. Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features and make comparisons where relevant.

An IELTS task one answer showing a process diagram of the life of a salmon.

This diagram describes the life cycle of salmon. Overall, over a roughly ten-year lifespan, these fish move from being tiny fry in the upper river to large open water fish. The diagram describes the three life stages the salmon move through in this process. 

Initially, salmon eggs are laid in the gentle current of the upper river, where they can be protected by reeds and small stones. These small fish, called ‘fry’, live in the upper river for around six months as they grow to be as long as eight centimetres. After this time, they grow to be ‘smolt’, juvenile fish of around fifteen centimetres, who can survive in the faster flowing lower river. They can live there for up to four years. 

At around four to five years old, the fish become adult salmon. Adult salmon are far larger than fry and smolt, reaching lengths of over seventy centimetres, which is over four times the size of smolt. They live in the seas and oceans for five year before returning to the upper rivers where they lay their eggs. After this, the eggs hatch, more fry are born, and the life cycle begins again.

How to answer process diagram questions

How to Structure a Process Diagram

The structure of a process diagram is similar to how we would typically structure a task one answer.

  • I’ve started with an introduction which tells you what the diagram is.
  • Next, the outline gives a description of the key points of the diagram.
  • Finally, I have two body paragraphs which go into more detail about the diagram.

Process Diagram Vocabulary

There is not too much specialist vocabulary for a process diagram. However, you should be able to explain the order in which things happen and show how time passes in the diagram. Some of the phrases I’ve used for this are:

  • Over a ten-year lifespan
  • Initially
  • After this time,
  • At around four to five years old
  • After this

I’ve also highlighted some useful vocabulary that came up in my answer.

You could probably get away with answering this question without knowing that salmon is a kind of fish with pink oily meat. However, I wanted to point out that the plural of ‘salmon’ is just ‘salmon’ because there are some IELTS ‘band nine model answers’ online that get this wrong 😬.
The length of time a person or animal lives.
A word for describing the first stage of something.
The past tense and past participle of lay. We use lay and laid to describe when fish and birds produce and egg.
Current is used to describe the flow of water or another liquid. ‘Gentle current’ is a common collocation.
If someone or something is juvenile it or they are close to adulthood but not quite there yet.
Reaching lengths of
This phrase is used to say that something can get to a certain length. You will see a similar structure in phrases like’reaching heights of’, ‘reaching sizes of’, and ‘reaching temperatures of’
Four times the size of
In English, if something is double the size of something else, we can say it is ‘twice the size of’ or ‘two times the size of’ something else. We also have ‘thrice the size of’ or ‘three times the size of’. However, after four, there isn’t a commonly used term so we just say ‘four/five/six times the size of’. You can also use this with other factors like ‘four times the height of’ or ‘four times the price of’.
When an animal emerges from an egg, the egg hatches.

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