financial-2860753_640%20(1)_edited.jpg
  • Nick Kemp

Task 1 Report: Salmon Life Cycle


Question: The diagram above show the life cycle of a species of large fish called the salmon. Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.


Band 8+ Sample Answer:


(Intro & Overview) The flow chart illustrates the natural life cycle of the salmon. Overall it goes through four different stages of development: eggs (embryos), fry, smolt, and the adult fish. After initially hatching in a slow moving river, each Salmon spends roughly equal amounts of its 10 year cycle in fast flowing freshwater and open seas.


(Detail 1) To begin with the adult salmon lay eggs upriver, where the current is slow. Eggs stay incubated in the stony riverbed enjoying protection from reeds until they are ready to hatch. Once this has taken place, and having spent a total period of around 5-6 months, the baby salmon or ‘fry’ (at around 3-8 cm in length) migrates downriver where the current is faster. Once there, it will spend about 4 years of its life and continue to develop.


(Detail 2) After the period has finished, the salmon is around 12-15 cm long and is now referred to as a ‘smolt’. Its next step is to head for the open sea, where it will finally develop into an adult salmon over a period of 5 years, ending up with a total body length of 70-76 cm. At the end of this process, adult salmon are ready to migrate back to freshwater, where the egg-laying process will begin once more. (211 words).


Words: Nick Kemp, former IELTS examiner.

Image: Cambridge