Writing a Graph Description – Lección 22




How to write a GRAPH DESCRIPTION

ACADEMIC IELTS – Lección 22

In order to describe a graph, you have to identify the key information featured and within which type of graph the information is presented.

You have several types of visual aids used in the IELTS Academic Writing module:

  • a pie chart
  • a table
  • a line graph
  • a flow chart
  • 2 visual aids that complement one another, etc.

Although there might be a great variety of visual aids, the same principles of organisation and steps for writing the graph description apply:

  • Read the title and labels on the graph.
  • Read the instructions.
  • Try and note down some synonyms for key words / phrases.
  • Start writing your introductory sentence (avoid writing word for word phrases or information provided with the graph).
  • Analyse the information provided in the graph(s), always trying to find an overall trend (what are the units, what is the time frame, what are the changes?): What is the significant information? Are there any obvious exceptions to general trends?
  • Now you can write your introductory paragraph.
  • Now plan your body paragraphs (if there is enough data, you can dedicate 1 paragraph to 1 main trend).
  • Now you can write your 2 or 3 body paragraphs describing and analysing the main trends. It is important to include key figures and information.
  • Write your conclusion restating the main trend(s) in the graph/ visual aid, using different words (= paraphrasing).
  • Don’t forget to proofread your work before submitting it, so as to check spelling, syntax as well as organisation (cf. Use of linking words, indents…).

Useful Expressions

Upward/rising trends

to go up, to increase, to soar, to rocket, to climb, to rise, to double, to grow, to become greater….

a rise, an increase in….

the trend is upwards…

Downward/falling trends

to go down, to decrease, to plummet, to drop, to dip, to fall, to halve, to reduce, to lessen…

a drop, a decrease….

the trend is downwards…

Other trends

to slow down…

to stabilise…

to come to a halt, to a standstill, to a stop…

to stop…

to remain stable

to fluctuate (to go up and down)

Slight changes

slowly, slightly, somewhat, rather, moderately, to a certain extent, to some degree, faintly…

gradually, steadily…

Considerable changes

significantly, greatly, substantially, markedly, considerably, very much…

dramatically…

Graph vocabulary

the axes (horizontal and vertical), the Y axis, the X axis

General comparisons / approximations

Overall…

about / approximately / roughly / around…

just above / a little more than / just over / slightly under / marginally above / barely 5% under…

nearly / close to / approaching….

precisely / exactly….

Figures / Projections

a percentage

hundreds / thousands / millions of….

a proportion (pie charts) of…

a million, two million….

It is projected to remain stable / to rise….

it is estimated to….

cubic metres…

Introductory sentences

An important point to note is that…

It is quite clear from this data that…

The chart / graph / table indicates that…

This could be due to….

In spite of this….

The data suggest that…

The most significant fact is that…

Template

The graph shows/illustrates/analyses/summarises the number of …. from (i.e. location, age group, profession) …… for the years from ………. to ………… . We can clearly see that there has been a large increase in the number of ………… while figures for ………… from ……………….. as well as ……………. have only shown a slight growth.

The numbers ……….. have risen considerably over this time period. In (year)……… there were nearly …………………., similar to the figure for …………….. and just over double that for ……………………………. . Since (year) ………………… there has been a steady increase.

The figures for ……………….. from other parts of the world show similar trends; first a dip ………………… from (year) …… to (year)………….., then slow growth from (year) …… to (year), while the corresponding figures for  ………….. were roughly ………………….. and ………………….. respectively.

To sum up, in recent years …………………………… has become increasingly popular ………………………., especially for …………………………………………… who currently outnumber those from ………………….. and …………….. combined.  

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