Writing Task 1 | Tables Series

IELTS Lessons, written by Sam Morgan and Tom Speed

In previous classes, you learnt how to start your task 1 table essay by stating the topic of the data and by writing an overview containing the most important trends or features of the data. In this class you will learn how to organize information and write body paragraphs.

Study the following table.

The table below gives information about the average percentage of money per month spent by consumers on fashion/clothing, entertainment/leisure and transport in 5 different countries. 

Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.
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*These statistics are fabricated for use as learning materials


Exercise 1

​It is important than you can recognize the main trends and key features of the data and organise your task 1 answer appropriately.  The following activity will help you to do so.
Are the following statements about the statistics true or false?
1. The most important trend or feature of the data is that the average monthly consumer spending on transport is extremely similar in four of the five countries.
2. The most important trend or feature of the data is that the highest percentage of average monthly consumer spending in the 5 countries is on entertainment/leisure.
3. The second most important trend or feature is that average consumer spending on fashion/clothing is the lowest sector of spending in four of the five countries.
4. The second most important feature or trend of the data is that the lowest value, 4%, is found for average monthly consumer spending on transport in Singapore.
5. It is interesting to note that the average percentage of consumer spending on fashion/clothing is roughly similar in the European countries but is higher in the two Asian countries.
6. It is important to note that spending on entertainment/leisure in the UK stands at 31.1%.
7. The average monthly consumer spending on transport is considerably lower in the two Asian countries than in the three European countries.
8. The average monthly consumer spending on transport is considerably higher in the two Asian countries than in the three European countries.
9. An important feature of the data is that the average monthly consumer spending on fashion/clothing stands at 7.2%.
10. An important anomaly in the data is that the average spending on transport in Singapore is lower than on fashion/clothing.

Planning Note

​Spend a few minutes analyzing the data before you start writing. Look for the highest and lowest values. Also look for similarities and surprising data.


Exercise 2

Complete the following sample task 1 answer with words/ percentages from the box
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22   ·  four   ·  lowest   ·  highest   ·  33   ·  4   ·  Interestingly   ·  respectively  
Click or touch a word above
The data illustrates the average percentage of money spent on 3 types of goods and services by consumers in 5 countries. Overall, consumer spending is on entertainment/leisure in all 5 countries and on fashion/clothing with the exception of Singapore.
Entertainment/leisure takes up the largest percentage of consumer spending in each country. It is highest in Singapore at .5% and lowest in France at .4% . The sector with the lowest average monthly consumer spending in four of the countries is fashion/clothing. , it is lowest in Europe where it ranges between 8.1% in France and 5.3% in the UK while in Hong Kong and Singapore it is higher at 11.6% and 15.8% respectively.
The lowest consumer spending in Singapore is on transport at % , the lowest spending on any sector in any country. In the other countries, transport is the sector with the second highest consumer spending. Spending on transport in the 3 European countries is similar at 23.4%, 21.3% and 19.6% in Germany, France and the UK , considerably higher than in the two Asian countries.
Vocabulary Note

Interestingly – use this to signal particularly interesting information. Accurate use of adverbs will increase your lexical resource band.
Respectively – use this word to connect two or more pieces of data in the order that you write them.


Exercise 3

​The sample essay above is well organised. This activity will help you to understand how it is organised and so help you to organise your own task 1 writing work.
Organise the sentences so that they show the organisation of the sample essay above.
1 The data illustrates the average percentage of money spent on 3 types of goods and services by consumers in 5 countries. 2 Overall, consumer spending is highest on entertainment/leisure in all 5 countries and lowest on fashion/clothing with the exception of Singapore.

3 Entertainment/leisure takes up the largest percentage of consumer spending in each country. 4 It is highest in Singapore at 33.5% and lowest in France at 22.4%. 5 The sector with the lowest average monthly consumer spending in four of the countries is fashion/clothing. 6 Interestingly, it is lowest in Europe where it ranges between 8.1% in France and 5.3% in the UK while in Hong Kong and Singapore it is higher at 11.6% and 15.8% respectively.
7 The lowest consumer spending in Singapore is on transport at 4%, the lowest spending on any sector in any country. In the other four countries, transport is the sector with the second highest consumer spending. Spending on transport in the 3 European countries is similar at 23.4%, 21.3% and 19.6% in Germany, France and the UK [respectively], considerably higher than in the two Asian countries.

[179 words]

1. A paragraph which presents any less important features as well as anomalies in the data.
2. A sentence which states the second most important feature/trend in the data.
3. The first sentence of the first body paragraph restates the most important trend/feature in the data.
4. A sentence which tells the reader the topic of the data.
5. A sentence which gives an overview of the main trends or features seen in the data.
6. A sentence which present statistics from the text which give evidence of the main trend/feature.
7. A sentence or sentences which present statistics from the text which give evidence of the second trend/feature.

Structure Note

This is how the task answer above is structured. Remember there are many ways of structuring these tasks.

Introduction


  • Topic of data – paraphrase the information given about the table
  • Overview – state the most important trends/features in the data

Body Paragraph 1

  • State the most important trend/feature in the data
  • Support the general statement above with specific data
  • State the second most important trend/feature
  • Support the general statement above with specific data

Body paragraph 2

  • Provide any less important but still relevant trends/features in the data
  • Provide any information about anomalies or surprising data that you haven’t already mentioned


Exercise 4

The following sample task 1 essay has a different organization. Read it, then answer the questions below.
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The data illustrates the average percentage of money spent on 3 types of goods and services by consumers in 5 countries. Overall, consumer spending is highest on entertainment/leisure in all 5 countries and lowest on fashion/clothing with the exception of Singapore.

Entertainment/leisure takes up the largest percentage of consumer spending in each country. It is highest in Singapore at 33.5% and lowest in France at 22.4%. In four countries, transport is the sector with the second highest consumer spending. Spending on transport in the 3 European countries is similar at 23.4%, 21.3% and 19.6% in Germany, France and the UK respectively, considerably higher than in the two Asian countries. Spending in Hong Kong for example stands at 14.2%.

The sector with the lowest average monthly consumer spending in four of the countries is fashion/clothing. Interestingly, it is lowest in Europe where it ranges between 8.1% in France and 5.3% in the UK while in Hong Kong and Singapore it is higher at 11.6% and 15.8% respectively. The lowest consumer spending in Singapore is on transport at 4%, the lowest spending on any sector in any country.

​[186 words]

Are the following statements about the organisation of this answer true?
1. The introduction of Sample Essay 1 and Sample Essay 2 are organized the same way and convey the same information.
2. Body paragraph 1 of Sample Essay 2 begins with the most important feature of the data, the highest value category (entertainment/leisure).
3. Body paragraph 1 continues with the second most important feature of the data, the lowest value category (fashion/clothing).
4. Body paragraph 1 continues with the second highest value category (transport).
5. Body paragraph 2 contains only anomalies and exceptions to the main trends/features.
6. Body paragraph 2 contains information about the lowest value category (fashion/clothing).

Sample essay 1 and 2 are organized differently but contain the same information. They are both equally valid and would receive an equal band score.

We hope this helps you organise and write great Table Task answers. For more Writing Task 1 lessons, head to our Academic Writing Task 1 ​page.
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