IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 Explaining Tables or Charts

IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 Explaining Tables or Charts

If you are planning to take the IELTS Academic test, you are advised to have adequate synonyms for each word in your vocabulary and apply them appropriately in your writing. The IELTS Task 1 of the ‘Academic Writing Test’, requires you to use a good range of ‘Typical/Suitable Vocabulary’ to present the given set of data provided in the form of graphs/charts or tables. If you be able to do that maintaining the logical flow of the given material, you can ensure to hit a high band score in the IELTS Academic Writing Task 1. To excel in the test, you should aim for learning the ‘Typical/Suitable Vocabulary’ as mentioned. Your score would be determined on 4 criteria and on how expertly you can handle them. They are:-

1) Task Achievement: To understand and perform the given Task with due diligence.

2) Cohesion and Coherence: Cohesion is the state of sticking together. Coherence is a Logical, orderly and consistent relation of parts.

3) Lexical Resource: Lexical Resource is used to mean ‘A database consisting of one or more dictionaries’. It may be monolingual,    bilingual or multilingual. 25% of your marks would come from your expertise in ‘Lexical Resource’.

4) Grammatical accuracy: It is absolutely a major criterion and responsible for 25% of your marks.

To hit a high score you have to demonstrate your skills elegantly. Some ways to do so are:

  • Your writing must showcase appropriate synonyms, inappropriate use of a synonymous word might be very costly.
  • You have to skillfully use a wide range of vocabulary.
  • You have to avoid repeating words and phrases used in the question paper, here you have to paraphrase skillfully.
  • You should avoid using too common words. It should be wise to use good synonyms instead.
  • You should try not to repeat any of the words more than once or twice.
  • You should use precise sentences and accurate/suitable/applicable word(s).

The General Format for Academic Writing task 1 is as below: 

  • You should write an Introduction > Try to write a two-sentence, meaningful introduction.
  • You should explain the Basic or the General Trends in detail > Here you get a chance to exhibit your range of vocabulary.
  • You should write an ‘Appropriate and meaningful Conclusion’.

Use Specific Format each part. You must be equipped with a suitable vocabulary to write Task 1 like a skilled writer keeping in mind that saving time is extremely important because Task2 would take 40 minutes to complete. Describing a specific set of information given in a table does not differ from describing a Graph or a Pie chart. Keep in mind that: You must write your explanation in not less than 150 words and preferably not exceeding 200 words.

Year-wise percentage of attendance in Secondary Schools of India

Different Types of Schools in India Year Wise % ofAttendance Year Wise % ofAttendance Year Wise % ofAttendance Year Wise % ofAttendance
Year 2000  2005  2010 2015
Government Schools (In City) 62% 68% 70% 78%
Government Schools (In Villages) 24% 28% 32% 44%
General English Medium Schools 52% 49% 54% 59%
‘Convent Run’ Schools 80.5% 82% 84% 89%

The ‘Table’ shows the year wise percentage of attendance in four different types of schools in India. The percentage of attendance is recorded with a gap of 5 years.

As the given table depicts, across time, from the year 2000 to 2015 there is a steady and healthy increase in the percentage of attendance in all the four types of schools. The attendance in convent run schools is much higher compared to the other three types of schools. Initially, the village schools show a noticeably poor percentage in attendance. While the ‘General English Medium’ schools show less percentage of attendance compared to the ‘Convent’ run schools.

All in all, the continuous higher percentage indicates that the relevant authorities are concerned about improving the education of the country. The poor attendance in the year 2010 in the ‘Government-Run’ village schools shows a big leap in the year 2015, indicating that, the ‘Government’ must have taken an effective measure to improve literacy in the villages. Noteworthy, attendance in convent run schools indicates the solid infrastructure and focus towards the healthy growth of the corresponding authorities.

The above sample example is a good example to describe the given data. But, to hit a higher band (Band 8 or Band9) your writing needs to be much better than this. You may feel confused that if the above one is not a ‘Great Sample’, then why did I write it. I have done it with purpose, as I want to exhibit the difference between the ‘Ordinary’ and the ‘Extraordinary’ or a ‘Good Example’ and a ‘Great Example’. So let me represent another example with slightly more complicated data.

You spend more or less 20 minutes for this Task.  The table below shows the average band scores of Indian Students from different language groups. Summarize the information selecting and reporting the main features and compare them as applicable.

Scores of Indian Students of Different Languages Groups in the IELTS Test 2014

Language group Listening Speaking Reading Writing Overall Score
Hindi 7.5 7.3 8.3 8.9 8
Malayalam 7.8 7.5 7.6 8.6 7.4~7.5
Tamil 7 7 7.3 8.1 7.35~7.5
Others 7 7.1 7 7.5 7.25~7

The given ‘Table’ illustrates the ‘IELTS Academic Test Scores’ of Indian students of different language groups. Apart from the three major languages, there are so many other languages in India which have concluded in the ‘Others’ group.

Hindi is the major spoken language of India and visibly the ‘Hindi Spoken Students’ has eminently accomplished the top of the table. While the ‘Others’ group has bottomed the comparative chart.  The Hindi and the Malayalam groups perceptibly have shown their strength in the writing test scoring 8.9 and 8.6 respectively. On the contrary, the Tamil and the ‘Others’ group have exposed their weaknesses in the ‘Listening, Speaking and Reading Test’. Noticeably all the three ‘Major Language’ groups have shown their strength in the ‘Writing Test’ securing Band Scores of 8.5 to 8.9.

After scrutinizing the table minutely we can conclude that, on average, the Indian students are best at writing. While comes to speaking none of the four language group manage to secure a Band Score of 8. The observation distinctly indicates that on average the Indian students are less skilled in speaking and listening (understanding by listening).

Well, I think it’s’ good enough to describe how you should write to hit a higher Band Score. Now let me be specific with some ‘must-knows’ for securing a good score at the writing test Task 1. Notice that, I have paraphrased the heading ‘The Table below shows the average band scores of Indian Students from different language groups‘. Don’t ever copy the headline you get in the instruction. Moreover, as mentioned above you should know ‘Typical/Suitable Vocabulary’ for explaining a table/chart, in your vocabulary, they are the keywords to start describing tables/charts or graphs. Now let me discuss, what are the types of words or phrases that fall in ‘Typical/Suitable Vocabulary’ for explaining a table/chart.

Typical vocabulary for the introductory part should conclude words like: The provided/ The presented/ The given… and some more. While you want to write about the type of the presentation, your vocabulary should contain words like The table data/ The diagram/ The figure / The graph/ / The chart / The flow chart / The presentation/ The pie chart / The bar graph/ The line graph and so on. The ‘Suitable Vocabulary’, while using verbs for describing a Table/Chart or whatever you get, you should use words like: enumerates / illustrates / depicts / provides / describes / expresses/ outlines/ compares/ indicates / figures gives data on / gives information on/ demonstrates/ summarizes and so on. While you describe or explain the given material, you can use a group of words like The differences/ the comparison of the data/ the information/the number of/ the comparative data/ the trend of the/ the proportion of …. and so on.   For example, you may write like: The given  Line Graph illustrates …..

The ‘Typical Vocabulary’ for writing the general trend should contain words like Generally speaking, As observed in the.., It is distinctly visible, It is clear at the first glance, At the onset and so on.

For example:

  • As observed in the line Graph the opportunity for employment has taken a downward trend since the year 1980.
  • It is distinctly visible from the given line graph that the Indian share market got a big hit in the year 2008.
  • At the onset, it is clear that drinking while driving became a passion for the young US citizens.
  • Generally speaking ‘Death Caused’ by ‘Heart Attack’ in India has curbed a little, due to public awareness.

What the examiner looks for assessing your writing?
The Examiner will mainly look for:

  • Your ‘Range of Vocabulary’ and how wisely you have used them.
  • The accuracy of your reporting or the presentation by picking and choosing the most important information in the given material.
  • Whether there is any misinterpretation or misconception in reading and explaining the trend.
  • Your expertise in organizing the paragraphs and logical sequencing of given data.
  • Your overall fluency and clarity of your presentation.

So, we can conclude that describing a Table or a Chart is not a very tough task at all. You just need to follow the above-discussed steps and you should also add some chosen words with their synonyms. You must have noticed that I have mentioned a ‘Typical/Suitable’ words and have explained them as well. Learning those words and using them wisely would bring you a high score.