IELTS Writing Tip 6: introducing the graph

HOW DO WE BEGIN?

This post will focus on Task 1. As you may know, Task 1 is all about how you are able to present visual information – i.e. the data from the graph.

How do you start though?

 

Quick tip:

 

When writing an introductory sentence in Task 1, you basically need to make sure it consists of two parts (well, usually). First, what is the graph about? Second, what trend(s) can you see from it?

 

Example

 

The graph below shows the unemployment rates in the US and Japan between March 1993 and March 1999.

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

 

 

You might want to write something like this for a start:

 

The line graph reveals the levels of joblessness in the US and Japan from March 1993 to March 1999 measured in percentages.

 

As you can see from the sample opening sentence above, you should include the following information:

 

  • Type of the graph (line graph)
  • What the graph is about (the levels of joblessness in the US and Japan)
  • Time frame (from March 1993 to March 1999)
  • Unit of measurement (percentages)

 

So your opening will look like this…

 

The line graph reveals the levels of joblessness in the US and Japan from March 1993 to March 1999 measured in percentages.

 

After introducing the graph, now it is time to give an overview. How do you do this? Looking at the graph, what do you find eye-catching? This is where you have to be a little bit observant to be able to notice the main trends. If you look at the graph above, you can see that, in Japan, the unemployment increased, whereas in the US, it decreased. Thus, you can say:

 

Overall, it is noticeable that the percentage of jobless people in Japan increased, while in the US it decreased.

 

Is that it?

 

Yes, almost. If you look back at the question and the sample introductory sentence, notice that the introductory sentence is not copied and pasted from the question. This technique is called paraphrasing. You must paraphrase some or all of the background information by using your own words. How can you do this quickly? We’ll look at this topic in our next post.

 

Practice

 

Below are two examples of data. Try to introduce the graph and give an overview for each graph.

 

  1. The graph below shows how people buy music.Summarize the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.
  2. The bar chart shows the divorce rates in two European countries from 2011 to 2015.Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.
  3. The line graph below shows the average monthly temperatures in three major cities.Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.