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IELTS Writing Task 1: How to Describe a Line Graph and a Bar Graph (Academic)

ielts writing taskThe IELTS Writing Task1 (Academic) provides the student to write explaining a Line/Bar Graph/Pie Chart/Double Line Graph/Table. The Student/candidate needs to write/explain the data available from the Graph or Table, as is the case may be. The writing has to be within minimum 150 words, but not exceeding the limit by +50 words. This test is for checking up a student’s eligibility of selecting and reporting the central idea of the given material. The skill of the student is also tested on describing and comparing a given set of data and identifying the significance/trends of a process in well composed English with a wide range of vocabulary and perfect grammar.

A student might start writing on an impressive note, using suitable introductory expressions like:

The Graph indicates or illustrates…

From the given set of data in the graph, it is understandable…

As the data available from the graph depict that…

A practical example: The Graph clearly depicts that the sale of two wheelers in India has been rising year on year.

A student might also start writing in case of time expressions:

During the last 5 years/ Over the coming 6 months it is expected to…/ Between 2004 and 2008…

A practical example: Over the last 5 years, USA’s car market has seen an 18% growth in sales.

Now let’s exhibit a ‘Model Answer’ to execute ‘How to explain a Line Graph’, in the test. If you are a candidate going to appear for the ‘IELTS Academic Writing Test’, its’ worthy for you to learn the skill. In the test you will get either a Line/Bar Graph or a Pie Chart/ Table. You would have to choose one from them and describe that in not less than 150 words (as already mentioned). So let us first start with a Line Graph and present a sample description.

Please Note: All the data used in the Graphs are imaginary.

Sales of Three Types of Vehicles in the Indian Market from The Year 2011 To 2016

The Line Graph indicates year wise sales of three types of vehicles in the Indian Market. The horizontal axis represents the years and the vertical axis represents the sales of the vehicles in millions.

As indicated in the Graph, from the year 2000 onwards, the sale of ‘Two-Wheelers’ got a great boost and continued till early 2014. Thereafter, sales continue to go higher but at a lower pace. In the case of ‘Four Wheelers’, the period 2011-2013 saw a mixed trend in sales, but after that there was a steady growth in sales. Sales of ‘Commercial Vehicles’ saw, an up-down-up movement in sales from 2011 onwards. But from the year to 2014 a steady growth in sales continued.

The Graph depicts that ‘Two- Wheelers’ are the 1st choice for the people in the Indian Market. Though 2014 onwards the craze of buying ‘Two- Wheelers’ has reduced a little. Somehow the buyers of ‘Four-Wheelers’, lose interest in buying till early 2013. After that, a slow uptrend appeared and continued until 2016. The launch of different useful ‘Commercial Vehicles’ might be one of the reasons for growth in sales.

So how to explain a Line Graph with given set of data is shown, the above writing is within 188 words. Candidates should remember that the ‘Explaining’ procedure must be completed within 20 minutes, and though they need to write at least 150 words, strictly not less than that.

Now let us present a Bar Graph and see how to describe it. In the test, you will get one more Bar Graphs. You will have to choose one and describe the information given in the Graph within minimum 150 words (maximum 180-190 words).

Death in India Caused By 6 Major Diseases

The Bar Graph represents a comparative diagram of ‘Number of Deaths in million’ caused by six fatal diseases in India, over the last 6 years. The different colors in the Graph represent different years.

Death by ‘Heart Attack’ has been reduced substantially. Death caused by ‘Cancer’ has remained the same. ‘High Blood Sugar’ alarmingly becoming a killer disease. Death by ‘Renal Failure’ has been controlled a little. The number of deaths caused by ‘Mosquito-Borne’ diseases ‘Dengue’ and ‘Malaria’ are not controlled.

The reduced number of deaths by ‘Heart Attack’ indicates, people have become somewhat health conscious. Death by ‘Cancer’ remains unchanged; major reasons are people’s reluctance towards quitting smoking and chewing tobacco. Too much of tension and  anxiety are some of the major reasons causing ‘High Blood Sugar’. Delayed treatment and indiscipline lifestyle terminate lives. Death due to ‘Renal Failure’ is curbed, though it would have been even less if ‘Blood Sugar’ were controlled, as ‘Prolonged High Blood Sugar’ is one of the reasons of damaging the kidneys. ‘Dengue’ and ‘Malaria’ both are ‘Mosquito-borne’ diseases and the increase in death indicates the negligence of responsible authorities.

Note: The above Graph is described fully with one introductory sentence, a body and finally the conclusion. The writing has kept within 184 words, which is acceptable considering the subjects of the Graph.

Now let us present an example of a pie chart:

Please Note: The figures used in the Graph are collected at random and not correct probably.

Population of India Divided Religion Wise


The above Pie Chart represents the ‘Percentage’ of the population divided according to religion. The different colors represent the different segments as indicated by the Graph.

The information of the ‘Pie Chart’ depicts clearly that the Hindus are the majority with 77.56% of the total population. Then comes the Muslim population, which counts for 15.64% of the total population. Christians are seemingly falling into minority class with only 2.3% of the total population. There are so many people in the India who belong to different religions, though they are an absolute minority with a total percentage of 4.5% only.

The above ‘Pie Chart’ nicely portrays the presence of people belonging to the 3 major religions in three segments and all the other people of different religions in another segment. To a foreigner, it might seem to be as strange as anything. In spite of the presence of so many different religions and huge population, India is a secular country. How such a huge number of people of so many different religions stay in peace, keeping the fraternity intact is really surprising to anybody.

Selecting the information while describing a graph: This is highly important. If you can’t select the ‘Key’ information it would be harmful to your score. In a given Graph there might be more than two information, in such cases, you will have to pick and choose a meaningful segment and describe the trend.

The ‘Reporting Structure’: As mentioned above in the ‘Note’, you should have, 1) An introduction, 2) A Body, 3) A Conclusion. Using a short two-sentence introduction introducing the Graph and your report would be good enough. Describe the Graph you get in the ‘Body Section’ and do it in details and in sequence. Your conclusion should depend on the contents of the Graph, but be precise and make it compact but not missing any important information.

The perfection of Grammar and a ‘Wide Range of Vocabulary’: You will have to write flawless formal English with a wide range of vocabulary to lift your score. Spelling mistakes are penal offense. Clarity of the contextual meaning is a must.

Apart from ‘Line Graph’ and ‘Bar Graph’, there are several types of graphs which you may face in the ‘IELTS Writing Task1 Academic’. You must read and understand the central idea perfectly and follow the other suggestions accurately. In our next coming articles, we will discuss various types of graphs and table with suitable examples. If you are a candidate appearing for the ‘IELTS General Training Test’, you need to read the ‘IELTS Writing Task1 Training Test’, which you will get in our next blog post.


Originally posted 2017-03-19 03:16:23.

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