How to Write an IELTS Bar Chart Response in Academic Writing Task 1

How Long Should
my Response Be?

As part of familiarizing yourself with How to talk about an IELTS Bar Chart in Writing Task 1,  you need to know how long your response should be. You have about 20 minutes to prepare your response, and should expect to write at least 150 words.

You must finish within those two minutes, so it’s a lot easier to get everything in and get a good score if you follow a basic format.

A Word About

Paraphrasing is a key component of your score in the response to IELTS Writing Task 1. It’s well worth spending some time practicing this skill.

Paraphrasing means saying the same thing in your own words. it does not mean substituting a couple of synonyms for the words in the statement.

Although you can use synonyms, it’s probably easiest to work with a possessive. Identifying which word you can use as a possessive forces you to rephrase the statement in a way that expresses the same meaning but differently.

In this Bar Chart Task, I’ve used a possessive for ‘men and women’. “Percentages of men and women in employment” has become “men’s and women’s employment rates”.

Paraphrase, don’t Parrot!

Writing Correction

You can upload your written responses to our writing correction service. I’ll read them and provide you with lots of feedback and practice material to help you improve on any problem areas.

How to talk about a IELTS Bar Chart in Writing Task 1

When you prepare your response to an IELTS Bar Chart, your focus should be on writing well, expressing yourself efficiently, and ticking the examiners boxes.

Your examiner will be looking at your organization, vocabulary, phrasing, sentence variety, grammar, and tenses.

Below, you’ll find some tips on how to How to Write About an IELTS Bar Chart in Academic Writing Task 1, but if you need more help please talk to us about tutoring

Read and Understand the Question

The first thing you need to do is read and internalize the question. The question provides you with a graph and asks you to prepare a short academic presentation.

A typical bar chart question looks like this:

These charts show the percentages of men and women in employment in three countries.

Describe and explain the information you see depicted in the graph.

What conclusions can you draw?

How to Start a Bar Chart Response

When preparing for IELTS Writing Task 1, it is important that you understand how to formulate your introduction. Your introduction should paraphrase the question so that the examiner knows what you are talking about. 

Your introduction might look like this:

The charts illustrate men’s and women’s employment rates for Canada, South Korea, and Sweden during 2005 and 2015. Employment percentages are shown on the vertical axis, and countries are shown on the horizontal axis.

How to Prepare your Overview

When you prepare your overview, the goal is to provide the examiner with a high-level view of the graph. Imagine that the graph is on the other side of the room, so no details are visible. NONE!

For example, your overview might look like this:

Overall, the proportion of working people increased during the period, with employed women showing the most significant increase.

With your introduction and overview complete, the next thing you need to do is talk about two trends. 

How to Talk about Trend 1

With this Bar Chart, it makes sense to talk about men as the first trend and women as the second trend.

Start the paragraph by identifying the trend and then add details that support your statement.

For example, your presentation about your first trend might look like this:

In all three countries the number of employed men exceeded that of women with Sweden having the highest rate of male employment – approximately 80% in 2005, followed by South Korea with 70% and Canada with 60%. By 2015, Canada had seen the greatest rise to 70%, Sweden had revealed an equal and concurrent drop, and South Korea’s employed men had risen by a mere 5%.

How to Talk about Trend 2

With your introduction, overview, and first trend complete, the next thing you need to do is talk about your second trend – men. 

Start the paragraph by identifying the trend and then add details that support your statement.

Your presentation about your second trend might look like this:

The proportion of employed women was lower than men in all of the countries during both years. It was below 50% everywhere in 2005, but the figures had risen by 2015. By then, over half of Canadian and Swedish women were working. South Korea’s numbers were significantly lower, rising from 30% in 2005 to 35% in 2015

How to Draw Concluding Remarks

Your concluding remark may be very much like your overview – just make sure you use different words!

Your concluding remark might look like this:

In conclusion, we can see that while all three countries witnessed an increase in employed women, South Korea was the only country where over twice as many men as women were employed during both years.

This video provides you with more tips for How to talk about a IELTS Bar Chart

More IELTS Preparation Lessons

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