How to Write a Clear Overview – Static 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 will be pegged at 5 and this may have a negative effect on your overall score for Task 1.

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 (click here for more info), with the data changing over a period of time, or static, with just one fixed time period referred to or no specific time period.

Let’s look at a static chart, graph or table.

In a static or fixed chart there is either no time referred to or there is a fixed time. In this situation, the main features would be the largest and the smallest of each category and any similarities.

Example 1: The graph below shows the membership profile of a health club in London.

Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features and make comparisons where relevant. Write at least 150 words.

Notes: more women than men, 18-35 most popular, 50+ least popular

Overview: Both men and women, of all different age groups, are members of the health club

Clear overview: It can be clearly seen in this chart that more women than men are members of the health club. It can also be seen that health club membership is most popular with the 18-35 age group and least popular with the over-50s.

Key vocabulary:

More x than y…

Most popular / least popular

the highest / the lowest

Example 2: The graph below shows unemployment rates in six European countries in 2017.

Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features and make comparisons where relevant. Write at least 150 words.

 

Notes: Greece – highest, Hungary – lowest, Lithuania and Slovakia same rate

Overview: The graph shows that there are more unemployed people in Greece than in the other countries.

Clear overview: It is evident from the graph that Greece has the highest rate of unemployment of the six countries, while Hungary has the lowest rate. Lithuania and Slovakia have the same rate of jobless people.

Key vocabulary:

The highest / the lowest

The same

Jobless  = unemployed

 

Example 3: Look at this line graph and write an overview in the comments section below.

 

The chart below shows world energy production from all energy sources in 2010.

Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features and make comparisons where relevant. Write at least 150 words.

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