IELTS Academic Writing Task 1: Milk Sales

Feb 24, 2024 | IELTS Test

The Academic version of IELTS Writing Task 1 is the toughest part of the test for most. 

We strongly advise practising this kind of task as much as you can before your test day. 

You might like to answer the question below before reading our analysis of how it should be answered and our model answer…

You should spend about 20 minutes on this task. 

The line graph shows the sales of whole milk and semi-skimmed milk over the course of a year in one supermarket.

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

You should write at least 150 words. 

milk sales line graph watermarked


This task presents a typical IELTS Task 1 line graph comparison, focusing on the sales figures of semi-skimmed and whole milk over a year. The graph’s simplicity, with only two data sets represented over twelve months, allows for a detailed analysis without omitting any data points. The clear upward trend in semi-skimmed milk sales, contrasted with the relatively stable figures for whole milk, provides a straightforward focal point for analysis.

In preparing the summary/overview, we note the dramatic increase in semi-skimmed milk sales against the backdrop of steady whole milk sales. This contrast not only guides the analytical focus but also highlights the significant growth trend for one product over the other.

Regarding structure, the analysis suggests a three-paragraph format for clarity and coherence. The first paragraph rephrases the task prompt and introduce the key findings, emphasising the dramatic growth in semi-skimmed milk sales and the stability of whole milk sales. The second and third paragraphs then detail the sales figures for semi-skimmed and whole milk, respectively, elaborating on monthly trends and notable fluctuations.

This approach streamlines the description, making it accessible and manageable within a typical Task 1 word count. By following this structured method, the analysis effectively communicates the data’s key points, ensuring a comprehensive and clear presentation.

Model Answer

The line graph presents the comparative sales figures of semi-skimmed and whole milk over the span of a year in a local store. Sales figure are measured in units. Initially, in January, semi-skimmed milk sales start at approximately 75 units, contrasting with whole milk’s 175 units. As the months progress, semi-skimmed milk seems to peak in September at just over 400 units before dropping to around 390 in November. However,  sales then soared to over 450 units by year end. 

Whole milk sales exhibit a more consistent pattern with minor fluctuations. Their highest point is in January at around 175 units. Sales then gradually fade to around 150 units in June before bouncing back to end at roughly 160 units in December.

Overall, while the sales of whole milk remained largely static, sales of semi-skimmed milk increased dramatically over the year and consistently widened the gap between both types of milk. 

How to Continue Your IELTS Study

If you would like to get some IELTS practice, answer the same question and purchase one of our Writing Correction Packages to get feedback.

If you would like to watch a video about how to write IELTS General Task 1 letters, visit this page.

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