• christopherianwils

IELTS Line Graph Answer Step by Step

Updated: Jul 27

Here is the 5 steps process I recommend for planning and writing an IELTS line graph answer:

1) Analyse the question

2) Identify the main features

3) Write an introduction

4) Write an overview

5) Write the details paragraphs


Here’s our practice question:

The graph below shows radio and television audiences throughout the day in 1992.

Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.

Write at least 150 words.


Step 1 – Analyse the question

The format of every Academic Task 1 question is the same. Here is our practice question again with the words that will be included in all questions highlighted.

The graph below shows radio and television audiences throughout the day in 1992.

Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.


Every question consists of:

  • Sentence 1 – A brief description of the graphic

  • Sentence 2 – The instructions

  • The graphic – chart, graph, table, etc.


Sentence 2 tells you what you have to do.

You must do 3 things:

1. Select the main features.

2. Write about the main features.

3. Compare the main features.


All three tasks refer to the ‘main features’ of the graphic. You do not have to write about everything. Just pick out 2 or 3 key features and you’ll have plenty to write about.


Step 2 – Identify the Main Features

The graphic in IELTS line graph questions should not be difficult to interpret. Each question has been created to test your language skills, not your mathematics ability.

All you are looking for are the main features. These will usually be the easiest things to spot. There will be lots of information in the graphic to help you identify them.

Here are some useful questions to ask?


  • What information do the 2 axes give?


  • What are the units of measurement?

  • What are the time periods?

  • What can you learn from the title and any labels?

  • What is the most obvious trend?

  • Are there any notable similarities?


So, what main features stand out in our practice graphic?

The timeline will give you the biggest clues as to the most significant trends. Look for general trends.

There are 2 main features/trends in this line graph:

Main feature 1: The peak time for TV audiences is in the evening (8 pm).

Main feature 2: The peak time for radio audiences is in the morning (8 am).


The general trends you select will be the starting point for your essay. You will then go on to add more detail. However, with just 20 minutes allowed for Task 1, and a requirement of only 150 words, you won't be able to include many details.


Step 3 – Write an Introduction


In the introduction, you should simply paraphrase the question, that is, say the same thing in a different way. You can do this by using synonyms and changing the sentence structure. For example:

Question:

The graph below shows radio and television audiences throughout the day in 1992.


Introduction (Paragraph 1):

The graph illustrates the proportion of people in the UK who watched TV and listened to the radio over 24 hours from October to December 1992.


Step 4 – Write an Overview (Paragraph 2)

In the second paragraph, you should report the main features you can see in the graph, giving only general information. The detail comes later in the essay. You should also make any clear comparisons you spot.

This is where we write about the general trends. Here are the ones we picked out above.


Main feature 1: The peak time for TV audiences is in the evening (8 pm).

Main feature 2: The peak time for radio audiences is in the morning (8 am).


Now form these ideas into two or three sentences with a total of around 40 words. State the information simply using synonyms where possible. No elaborate vocabulary or grammar structures are required, just the appropriate words and correct verb tenses.

For example:

Overview (Paragraph 2):

Overall, a significantly greater percentage of the TV audience watched in the evening while the radio had the most listeners in the morning. Over the course of each day and night, more people watched TV than listened to the radio.


Step 5 – Write the 1st Detail Paragraph

Paragraphs 3 and 4 of your IELTS line graph essay are where you include more detailed information about the data in the graphic. In paragraph 3, you should give evidence to support your first key feature. Don’t forget to make comparisons when relevant.

Here is our first main feature again:

Main feature 1: The peak time for TV audiences is in the evening (8 pm).


And this is an example of what you could write:

Paragraph 3:

Less than 10% of people watched TV between 1 am and 12 noon but at 4 pm this figure increased rapidly, reaching a peak of almost half the population at 8 pm. After this, the graph records a sharp decline in viewers, reaching a low of only a tiny percentage by 3 am.


Step 6 – Write the 2nd Detail Paragraph


For the fourth and final paragraph, you do the same thing for your second key feature.

Main feature 2: The peak time for radio audiences is in the morning (8 am).


Here’s an example of what you could write:

Paragraph 4:

Radio, on the other hand, shows a very different trend. The most popular time for listeners to be tuned in was just after 8 am when around 27% of the population was listening. After a brief peak, the numbers dropped steadily to barely 2%, apart from fluctuations at around 4 pm and 10.30 pm. The percentage of listeners remained low overnight before beginning a rapid ascent from 6 am to 8 am high.







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