Writing Task 1 | Pie Charts Series

IELTS Lessons, written by Sam Morgan and Tom Speed

​It is very common that two pie charts comparing the same sectors in two separate years must be analysed in Academic writing task 1. In this class you will learn how to analyse pie charts and how to structure a report about them.

Also check out our previous pie chart lessons:
Analysing Pie Charts 1
Linking Words and Pie Chart Analysis

The pie charts show the distribution of visitors to 4 different types tourist attractions in the UK in two years.
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Exercise 1 | Understanding the Graph

​Study the pie charts and answer the true or false questions below.

True or False?

1. The data in the pie charts is from the past.
2. The same 4 types of attractions are represented in both years.
3. There were more visitors in 1981 than 1999.
4. Museums and galleries were the most popular attractions in both years.
5. The percentage of people visiting theme parks remained the same in both years.
6. The least popular form of attraction in both years was wildlife parks and zoos.
7. Wildlife parks and zoos were three times as popular in 1999 than in 1981.
8. The popularity of historic houses and monuments did not change.

3 Tips for a high band essay

  1. The two pie charts show the statistics in two years only. It is not possible to say what happened between 1981 and 1999, only what the statistics were in those two particular years. Therefore, the vocabulary you use to talk about changes over time in a line graph (rise, fall, fluctuate, peak etc.) cannot be used.
  2. Candidates often forget to give important details, such as the overall number of visitors in each year. Make sure you mention this information.
  3. In the introduction, make sure you provide an overview of the main features of the two pie charts. Concentrate on highlighting the categories with the highest/lowest percentages. Don’t include any actual statistics in your overview, save these for the body paragraphs.


Exercise 2 | Writing about Data

Below is a high band example essay. The percentages have been deleted. Complete the essay with the correct statistics.

Add the data

The two sets of data reveal the percentage of people visiting different types of attractions in two separate years in the UK. Overall, 1999 had a far higher number of tourists than 1981 and the most popular type of attraction in both years was museums and galleries while wildlife parks and zoos remained the least popular.
The most visited type of attraction in both years was museums and galleries. In 1981 the figure stood at % of visitors and there was a significant gap of % between visitors to this type of attraction and the second most popular, which was theme parks at %. However, the percentage of visitors to museums was % less in 1999 than in 1981 standing at only % and so the difference in the percentage of visitors to museums and theme parks stood at only % as % of people visited theme parks in that year.
In both 1981 and 1999 the least popular type of attraction was wildlife parks and zoos with % and % of visitors respectively. It is important to note that percentage of visitors more than doubled for this type of attraction. In contrast, the percentage of people visiting historic houses and monuments was the same in both years.

How is the task structured?

​There are 3 paragraphs. The 1st is an introduction and the 2nd and 3rd contain details. After the introduction, it is very important that you find a logical way to separate the details of the graph into 2 paragraphs.  
​What information is in Paragraph 1?

​The first paragraph is an introduction, and includes a paraphrase of the text above the pie charts. This is followed by an overview. Notice that no data (no percentages) is included in the overview. We put data in paragraphs 2 and 3.
What information is in Paragraph 2?

​This paragraph includes detailed information about (and comparisons of) the two most popular tourist destinations: Museums/Galleries and Theme Parks.
What information is in Paragraph 3?

Paragraph 3 contains the details of numbers of visitors to the two least popular tourist destinations: Wildlife Parks/Zoos and Historic Houses/Monuments.

We can see that the details of these pie charts have been separated into 1) the two most popular and 2) the two least popular tourist attractions. An alternative way to structure this task is to divide the details into 1) year 1981 and 2) year 1999.

​When you write, you must decide how you want to separate your detail paragraphs.


Exercise 3 | Important Vocabulary

Select a word or phrase in the text, then select a box that matches the meaning. 

We hope you enjoyed this lesson! Remember to practice what you have learned when you write your own task 1 responses. 

We often find that students find it difficult knowing what prepositions (in/on/at/by etc) to use when referring to data. Luckily we have a class to help you with that:
Prepositions to go with statistics and data

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