In Academic Task 1 of the Writing module, you are expected to write a short descriptive report based on visual information or data. This visual information may be presented as pie charts. Pie charts are circular charts divided into sectors usually illustrating percentages. In this blog, we’re going to tell how to effectively describe a pie chart in IELTS Writing task 1. To get a band 9 for your answer, you should follow this answer structure:
- General overview
- Specific features
Let’s look in detail at how to apply this structure to answer a sample IELTS pie chart question.
Here is how to approach this task:
Introduction: Say what the diagram shows in your own words. Do not copy the question or you will lose marks. Follow this with sentences describing the main features supported by reference to the diagram such as dates and figures.
Body: Give further details, describe other features, and provide significant differences. Make comparisons where relevant. Support with figures from the diagram.
Summarizing sentence: End with one or two sentences that give an overall summary of the main features. Don’t include your own opinion.
Remember, you have only 20 minutes for this task. You should write at least 150 words.
Possible Answer for the Above Sample
The two pie charts compare the percentages of online sales across different retail sectors in Canada in the two different years, 2005 and 2010.
Overall, the online sale of electronic items and home furnishing products dropped, however, the craze for food and video games increased during the five years.
To begin with, in 2005, the majority of online sales was accounted for in the electronics and appliance sector with 35%, however, this percentage had dropped to 30% by 2010. During the same five-year period, the number of people deciding to buy food and beverages online increased and the transactions went from just 22% to 32%, making it the retail sector with the largest proportion of the online market.
In 2005, the home furnishing industry boasted an impressive 25% of the total online sales in Canada. However, by 2010, the figure had fallen considerably to 15%. Interestingly, online sales of video games eventually overtook sales of home furnishing, although video games still represented only 23% of the market.
Step-by-Step Approach to Answer Pie Chart Essay in Writing Task 1
Step 1: Analyze the question
The format of every Academic Task 1 pie chart question is the same. It will show a piece chart and ask you to summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features and making comparisons where it is necessary.
Read the question carefully about what you need to do. Then read the pie chart quickly before on to the next step.
The writing task is designed to test your language skills and not your mathematics ability. Pie charts always show percentages or proportions. You need to look for the main features. These will usually be the easiest things to spot if you find answers to the following questions:
Step 2: Identify the Main Features
- What are the units of measurement?
- What can I learn from the titles and any labels?
- What is the most obvious trend?
- Are there any similarities?
Step 3: Write an Introduction
In the introduction, you should simply paraphrase the question. This means you need to say the same thing in a different way. You can do this by using synonyms and changing the sentence structure.
Step 4: Write a General Overview
In the second paragraph, you should give only general information about the main features you identified. The details need to be mentioned later on in the essay.
Step 5: Write Paragraphs for the Main Features
Step 6: Proofread your essay
Try to complete your task 3-5 minutes before the 20-minute time slot so you can proofread your essay. This will help you correct any grammatical or spelling mistakes.
You could use either simple present tense or simple past tense. Whichever tense you choose, remember to be consistent throughout your whole essay.
Now that you know how to answer a pie chart question in your IELTS Writing Task, you should start practicing answering sample pie chart questions. Start slowly at first and keep practicing until you can write a complete essay in around 20 minutes.
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