Quiz - Using Tenses to Describe Trends

Using tenses to describe trends

Focus on tenses

In the IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 you might have to describe a trend that covers the past, the present and the future, so you’ll need to use a variety of tenses.

Need to revise your tenses first? Practise here.

Always check the dates on the illustration so you use the best tense to describe the data!

The graphs below show a prediction to 2018 by the International Monetary Fund of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth.

GDP Graph

The timeline covers the past, the present and the future, so when responding to the question, you need to remember to use the right tenses, for example:

Past Simple (completed actions)

Example: In 2009 GDP dropped to -2.5%, the lowest growth across the period.

Present Perfect (Describing a recent event)

Example: GDP has increased from 1.6% in 2013 to 2.6% currently.


To talk about the future use a verb such as predict or estimate with will or going to.

Example: IMF predicts that there will be only small changes to GDP from 2015 to 2018.

Practice questions

Now you try! Download the worksheet and practise describing the data shown in the ‘World Bank Forecast’ graph below, using past simple, present perfect and a future tense.

World Bank Graph