You need to make predictions in many parts of the IELTS test.
In this lesson you’ll learn how to make predictions using a variety of structures, from the simple ‘will’ to the more complex structures that demonstrate your range and flexibility (Band 7 criteria) and increase your score.
How to make predictions in Academic Task 1
IELTS Writing Task 1 ‘dynamic’ graphs (which show changes over time) are usually in the PAST tense.
So most of the time my advice is just: use the Simple Past.
But sometimes there is a graph which asks you to analyse FUTURE trends or changes, like the one you can see below.
The expressions that you’ve learnt to describe change (It increased slowly, It fell gradually etc) are still essential.
Now you have to use them with the FUTURE Tense.
Look at the Task below and write a few sentences about the ‘projected costings’ and ‘expected expenditure’ shown.
Then check what kind of Band Scores you’re achieving (see estimated grades below) and learn how to push up to the next Band Score.
Simple ways to make predictions
1. Use ‘will + verb’ (Band 5)
e.g ‘Costs will increase slowly’.
This is the easiest way to make predictions but it will limit you to 5 because it will become repetitive (as you will see in this sentence!) and the examiner will get bored!
2. Use ‘Going to’ (Band 5.5)
‘Going to’ is slightly more advanced, as you need to change the form of ‘be’ depending on singular or plural:
‘Costs are going to increase’.
‘The cost is going to increase’.
‘could/may/might + verb’
For some variety you could use modals – ‘Costs might/may/could increase slowly’.
3. It is predicted that (Band 6)
It is predicted that costs will increase.
It is expected that costs will increase.
It is likely that costs will increase.
Method 3 is simple, because you just learn the expression and add ‘will/going to’.
Advanced ways to make predictions
4. ‘be likely to + verb’ (Band 6.5)
Costs are/ The cost is
- likely to increase
- predicted to increase
- expected to increase
- set to increase.
5. ‘There will be a + adjective + noun’ (Band 7)
Sentences beginning with ‘There is/are/was/were etc’ add variety.
In the past tense it works like this:
Costs increased slowly = There was a slow increase in costs.
Sales fell dramatically = There was a dramatic fall in sales.
6. ‘There is likely to be a (adjective) (noun) in (costs)‘. (Band 7+)
Use the same phrase we learnt in #3:
It is likely that there will be a slow increase in cost(s).
Take it up a level by adding ‘There is likely to be a slow increase in costs’.
Practise using these structures
Look at the table and pie chart above and try writing a response before you look at the model below.
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Making predictions in IELTS Reading
This Reading lesson about The Water Crisis gives you good examples of predictions in context.
It shows how Reading, and analysing what you read, can help develop your Writing skills.
The grammar of predictions, will also help you match this paragraph with the correct heading.
34 Global warming is bound to affect rainfall patterns, though there is considerable disagreement about its precise effects. But it is likely that, as sea levels rise, countries in low-lying coastal areas will be hit by seawater penetration of groundwater. Other countries will experience changes in rainfall which could have a major impact on agricultural yield – either for better or for worse. In broad terms, it is thought that rainfall zones will shift northwards, adding to the water deficit in Africa, the Middle East and the Mediterranean – a grim prospect indeed.