How to Write a Clear Overview – Dynamic Graph (Academic Writing Task 1)


It is important to include an overview that summarises the main trends differences or stages when writing your answer for Academic Writing Task 1. If you do not include an overview, your score for Task Achievement cannot be more than 5 and this may have a negative effect on your overall score for Task 1 (which is calculated as an average of four criteria – click here for more information).

Here are the assessment criteria for Task Achievement for Academic Writing Task 1:

Band 5

Band 6

Band 7 +

Recounts detail mechanically with no clear overview

Presents an overview with information appropriately selected

presents a clear overview of main trends, differences or stages


Notice for Band 7 you must present “a clear overview” – so, what makes a clear overview?

The overview acts as a summary of the main features or trends shown in the graph. It gives the general picture – you do not need to include any specific data in your overview.

The overview usually comes after the introduction and you should signal your overview to the examiner by using one of the following phrases:

  • Overall, it is clear that…
  • Overall, it is noticeable that…
  • It can clearly be seen that…

Let’s look at writing an overview for line graphs, bar charts and pie charts. When writing the overview, you must first decide whether the information is dynamic, with the data changing over a period of time, or static (click here for more info), with just one fixed time period referred to or no specific time period.

In our first example, let’s look at a dynamic chart, graph or table.

Example 1 – a dynamic chart/graph/table


We can see that this is a dynamic graph as the time frame is from 1990 to 2004. What is the overall picture here? Look for the overall changes or trends – are they up or down or is there no significant change over the time period?



UK – overall trend downwards but rate fluctuated

USA – overall trend upwards with some fluctuation

Japan – overall trend downwards with some fluctuation

Now let’s write it as an overview:

From the graph, it is obvious that the unemployment rates changed a lot in each country.

Do you think this a clear summary of the main trends for unemployment in the three countries?

It is true that the rates changed over the time period, but this overview does not summarise those trends for the three countries – ask yourself were they up or down or did they stay the same?

Here is an example of a clear overview:

It is noticeable that the overall trend in the UK and Japan was downwards with some fluctuation over the time period, whereas in the USA it was upwards, albeit with some volatility.

Useful Vocabulary:

It is noticeable that…

The overall trend in…

Upwards / Downwards

Whereas (contrast)

Albeit (although)

Fluctuation / Volatility (some change up and down)

Example 2 Dynamic Graph – Football Attendance



Germany - highest attendance - upward trend

England - second highest - upward

Spain third - fluctuating but overall downward

France - fourth then lowest - downward

Italy - last then fourth - downward

Overview: Watching football is more popular in Germany than in the other four countries.

Clear overview: It can be seen that football match attendance had an upward trend in Germany, which had the highest average figures, and England, whereas the trend was downward in Spain, Italy and France, which ended the period with the lowest attendance figures.

Useful Vocabulary:

It can be seen that…

An upward trend

A downward trend

The highest / The lowest

To end the (time) period

Example 3 Dynamic Graph – Car Engines

Look at this line graph and write an overview in the comments section below.


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