How to Write a Clear Overview – Two Information Sources (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 two sources of information – this can be line graphs, bar charts, tables or pie charts in different combinations. These types of tasks, where you have to analyse two tables or charts, are becoming more and more common in Academic Writing Task 1.

When writing the overview, you must first decide if the information is directly linked – if it is, then treat the information like a dynamic graph (as in Example 1).

Sometimes the information is not linked but on the same general theme (see Example 2)

Example 1: The charts below show world energy production from all energy sources in 1990 and 2010.

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

Overview: In 1990, coal was the most important source, followed by hydroelectric, nuclear and gas. In 2000, coal was still the most important, followed by gas, hydroelectric and nuclear.

Clear overview: Overall, it is clear that coal was the most important energy source. The share of hydroelectric, nuclear and oil fell between 1990 and 2010, while the share of coal, gas and others, such as wind and solar energy, rose in the same period.

Key vocabulary:

The most important…

The share of…

While

Example 2

In this example there is no direct link between the two graphs/charts.

The graphs below show how people travelled to work and car ownership in a European country between 1950 and 2000.

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

Overview: Cars are the most popular way to get to work followed by buses, trains and others. Car ownership also rose between 1950 and 2000.

Clear overview: It can be seen that by 2000, cars became the most popular way to travel to work, while less journeys were made by bus, rail, cycling and walking. Car ownership also rocketed over given the time period.

Example 3 – write your overview in the comments section below

The charts below show inbound tourism to the UK between 2006 to 2010 and the purpose of the visit.

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

Year

Number of visitors (millions)

Average spend per visit (GB Pounds)

Average nights per visit

2006

32.713

486

8.4

2007

32.778

487

7.7

2008

31.888

511

7.7

2009

29.889

554

7.7

2010

29.803

563

7.6

 

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