IELTS bar chart writing task 1 overview and tips
1. Introduction to IELTS Bar Chart Writing Task 1
Bar chart or Bar graph, in IELTS Writing Task 1, share several similar features with Line chart which has two axes (x-axe and y-axe). This feature helps people see how a trend has changed over time. On the other hand, instead of lines, IELTS Bar chart Writing Task 1 contains rectangular bars in horizontal or vertical orientation that illustrate the ratio of each category.
Being a visual representation of data using bars, bar graphs aim to simplify the data and show the difference between volumes and things of categories more easily.
These are some examples for IELTS Bar chart Writing Task 1:
2. Structure of IELTS Bar Chart Writing Task 1
To write an IELTS Bar Chart Writing Task 1, you need to get to know the structure to stick to. To be specific, there are four different parts:
In this very first part, you need to take theses criteria into account:
- Topic (e.g. frequency of eating at fast food restaurant)
- Place (e.g. the USA)
- Time period (e.g. 2003-2013)
- Unit of measurement (% of people)
Then, you have to paraphrase the information given in your own words in about one or two sentences.
e.g. The bar chart compares the proportion of Americans who had meals at fast food eateries in three separate years (2003, 2006 and 2013).
You need to look at the general trend of the graph as well as some highlighted features (highest, lowest, equal figures, etc.). This part should be also described in approximately 1 to 3 sentences.
e.g. Overall, most Americans went to fast food restaurants once a week, between 2003 and 2006, and once or twice a month in 2013. People eating fast food daily accounted for the lowest percentage in all three years.
As usual, you should separate this part into two different paragraphs that describe details of the bar chart. Each paragraph should consist of 3 to 4 sentences.
You can refer to 2 ways to split up the body:
- Group comparison items together and divide into two paragraphs
(e.g. paragraph 1 – increasing trend; paragraph 2 – fluctuating trend)
- Each body paragraph describes the data of each category (e.g. country, males and females, city, etc.)
>>> Read more: IELTS writing task 1 line graph
3. Steps to write an IELTS Bar Chart Writing Tasks 1 essay effectively
3.1. Step 1: Analyse the question
When reading the question, identify these features and highlight or underline those:
- Brief description of the chart
(e.g. The bar chart below shows the expenditure that people in two different countries spent on consumer goods in 2010.)
- Type of the chart:
bar chart, line chart, table, pie chart, etc.
dynamic or static chart
- Requirements: Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.
The task asks you to select and report main features, and compare those features. Remember that you do not need to list all the features, just pick out key features that are outstanding.
Also, the word limit and time alloted should be noticed: you should spend 20 minutes to complete Task 1 with at least 150 words.
3.2. Step 2: Point out main features of the bar graph
You need to answer these questions:
- What information do both horizontal and vertical bars give?
- What is the period of time?
- What are the most outstanding features?
- Are there any similarities among categories?
- How to group the data? (for Body part)
Now, you’re about to begin your essay.
3.3. Step 3: Write the essay
Remember that the structure includes 4 paragraphs:
- Paragraph 1: Introduction
- Paragraph 2: Overview
- Paragraph 3: 1st detailed features
- Paragraph 4: 2nd detailed features
3.4. Step 4: Re-check your essay
Make sure that you won’t lose any point for incorrect spellings or ungrammatical structures. So, don’t forget to double check your IELTS Bar Chart Writing Task 1 before moving to Task 2.
➡️➡️ See more: IELTS Writing Practice Test
4. IELTS Bar Chart Writing Tasks 1 Tips
4.1. Making the most of transition words
Throughout the essay, you need to continuously use linking words to maintain the connection among ideas. Use those words properly, suitably and your score will be higher.
Apart from some linking words like Next, Besides, In addition, etc., you should use other in-between linking words such as compared to, in comparison with, opposing, whereas, while, etc.
4.2. Be careful with word and time limit
You will have a total of 60 minutes for the IELTS Writing test, so try to spend around 20 minutes for the IELTS Writing Task 1. Also, with the requirement of at least 150 words, you need to write the task with three parts (Introduction, Overview, and Body).
4.3. Don’t express your point of view
IELTS Bar Chart Writing Task 1, as well as other types of Academic Writing Task 1, will be a task of describing or illustrating a graph, so there will be no personal opinions given on the task.
4.4. Use proper vocabulary and grammar
A wide range of vocabulary and sentence structures will be an advantage for your IELTS Bar chart Writing Task 1 essay, which can boost your lexical score. To consult more vocabulary for IELTS Task 1, please visit this article IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 on our web.
IELTS Bar Chart Writing Task 1 will no longer be a barrier for you if you prepare enough for the test and practice as much as possible. With IELTS TEST PRO, you can refer to a variety of model samples and useful tips for you to deal with this type of chart in IELTS Writing Task 1.