Writing Task 1 | Bar Charts Series

IELTS Lessons, written by Sam Morgan and Tom Speed

This lesson is an interactive presentation lesson from our Academic Writing Task 1 Course. If you like the lesson, join the course! Please view it full-screen and horizontally if you are on a mobile device. The traditional lesson format can be found below the presentation.

The traditional lesson format can be read below.
 
In the previous class you analysed a simple bar chart and picked out the key features and trends to include in the overview as well as studying important prepositions which must be used with data.
In this lesson you will analyse a much more complex bar chart and think about the structure of a task 1 answer/report.

Exercise 1

Study the chart below and then complete the statements which follow with a word or number from the box.
You should spend about twenty minutes on this task.

The graph below shows the contribution of tourism, construction and agriculture to the Egyptian economy from 1982 to 2003.

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

Write at least 150 words.
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Vocabulary Note
Notice that we can use the verb ‘experience’ followed by a noun of change (such as ‘an increase/decrease’ when describing data.

For example, both sectors experienced an increase in income.

Try and use this academic collocation in order to improve your lexis (vocabulary) band score.


Exercise 2

Below is a sample task 1 answer. The linking words have been removed. Choose the appropriate word to complete each sentence.
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Exercise 3

Why is each of the linking words used? Complete the chart using the linking words you added to the sample report in the previous exercise.
Contrast Linking Words Note
‘While’ and ‘however are not usually used at the beginning of a paragraph whereasin contrastcan be used at the beginning of a paragraph.


Exercise 4

What is the purpose of each paragraph in the report?
1 The bar chart illustrates the amount of money contributed to the Egyptian economy by three sectors over 21 years. Overall, there was an increase in the contribution of tourism and construction until the year 2000, followed by a decrease to the end of the period, while the contribution of agriculture remained stable throughout.
This paragraph...
introduces the topic of the data and provides details such as amounts which show the main trends.
introduces the topic and provides a general overview of the main trends in the data without any specific details.
introduces the topic of the data and provides the writer’s opinion about the data.



2 The tourism and construction sectors followed a roughly similar trend. Both started at low points in 1982 at 0.2 and 1.1 billion dollars respectively. By 1995, both stood at 2.2 billion dollars. They reached a high point in 2000 with tourism at 4.2 overtaking construction at roughly 3.2 billion dollars. From 2000 to 2003 there was a decline in the contribution of both sectors. In 2001 and 2002 tourism stood at 3.2 but in the final year of the period (2003) it fell significantly to 1.7 billion dollars. Construction finished the period contributing 2.5 billion dollars.
This paragraph...
provides details which support the major (most important) trend that was described in the overview.
provides details about the minor (least important) trend which was mentioned in the overview.
provides details, such as amounts of money and years, for all of the trends which were mentioned in the overview.



3 In contrast, income from the agriculture sector started and ended the period at 1.5 billion dollars. However, there were minor fluctuations. For example, in 2001 agriculture fell to 1.8 billion dollars but recovered by the following year.
This paragraph...
provides details which support the description of the major (most important) trend that was described in the overview.
provides details which support the description of the minor (least important) trend mentioned in the overview.
provides details, such as amounts of money and years, for all of the trends which were mentioned in the overview.




​So...
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Exercise 5

​In the previous class you studied a sample report. Reread the sample report and then answer the question below.
From Bar Charts Basics:
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The bar chart illustrates the income generated by tourism in Egypt in certain years between 1982 and 2003. Overall, there was a higher income from tourism at the end of the period than at the beginning with an increase in income from 1982 to 2000 followed by a decline.

In 1982, income from tourism stood at the lowest amount of the whole period at roughly 0.3 billion dollars. Between 1982 and the year 2000, income from tourism in Egypt increased significantly. In 1993 it increased by 1.5 billion dollars to approximately 1.8 billion. 2 years later the figure stood at 2.3 billion and in a further 2 years it was just below 3 billion dollars. Income from tourism reached a peak in 2000 at around 4.3 billion dollars.

In 2001 income from tourism dropped slightly to 3.8 billion dollars and it remained stable at this level in the following year. In 2003 there was a significant drop in the contribution of tourism as it fell from 3.8 billion to the same level as in 1993 at roughly 1.8 billion dollars.
How is this task report structured?
Body Paragraph 1 discusses the main trends and body paragraph 2 describes the minor trends.
Both body paragraphs contain information about the major and minor trends.
Changes in the data are described chronologically. That means the report starts in 1982, at the beginning, and then describes each change until the end of the period in 2003.



Good work! You should be able to see that there are many different ways of organising your data descriptions. The most popular ways are either chronologically (exercise 5 - often good for simple charts) or by major and minor trends (exercise 2 - often good for complex charts). With each task you write, you must decide which type of organisation you want to use.
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