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This is an IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay from the new Cambridge IELTS 17 book of past test papers on the topic of a bar chart showing how families in one country spent weekly income in 1968 and 2018.

You can read essays and guides for the other IELTS Cambridge books, including Cambridge 17, here:

The Complete Guide to IELTS Cambridge 17

The Complete Guide to IELTS Cambridge 16

The Complete Guide to IELTS Cambridge 15

The Complete Guide to IELTS Cambridge 14

The Complete Guide to IELTS Cambridge 13

Dave

IELTS Cambridge 17 Task 1 Essay: Average Weekly Spending

The bar chart provides information about how families in a country spent weekly income in both 1968 and in 2018.

The bar chart details average spending per week for families in a given country in the years 1968 and 2018. Looking from an overall perspective, it is readily apparent that while spending for food, fuel and power, clothing and footware, and personal goods declined, the inverse was true for the remaining categories, with only household goods unchanged. Although spending on food was by far the most common in 1968, by 2018 leisure occupied the majority of the family budget, followed closely by housing.

In 1968, families spent on average 35% of their weekly income on food, greatly outstripping other budgetary concerns, each of which represented between 5% and 10%. Among these, fuel and power was the lowest at 6%.

By 2018, spending patterns diverged more widely. Food represented a still significant 17% of the budget, trailing housing at 19% (a 9% overall rise) and leisure at 22% (a 13% increase). Transport also displayed a notable growth to 14%. Fuel and power, clothing and footware, and personal goods all fell to 4%, 5%, and 4%, respectively. Household goods was the only expense to remain fixed, at 7%.

Analysis

1. The bar chart details average spending per week for families in a given country in the years 1968 and 2018. 2. Looking from an overall perspective, it is readily apparent that while spending for food, fuel and power, clothing and footware, and personal goods declined, the inverse was true for the remaining categories, with only household goods unchanged. 3. Although spending on food was by far the most common in 1968, by 2018 leisure occupied the majority of the family budget, followed closely by housing.

  1. Paraphrase what the bar chart shows.
  2. Write a clear overview summarising the differences.
  3. This one is a little complex so it needs a second sentence for the overview.

1. In 1968, families spent on average 35% of their weekly income on food, greatly outstripping other budgetary concerns, each of which represented between 5% and 10%. 2. Among these, fuel and power was the lowest at 6%.

  1. Begin writing about the data for the first categories.
  2. Make sure you compare as much as possible.

1. By 2018, spending patterns diverged more widely. Food represented a still significant 17% of the budget, trailing housing at 19% (a 9% overall rise) and leisure at 22% (a 13% increase). 2. Transport also displayed a notable growth to 14%. Fuel and power, clothing and footware, and personal goods all fell to 4%, 5%, and 4%, respectively. 3. Household goods was the only expense to remain fixed, at 7%.

  1. Write about the final other parts of the graph – include everything!
  2. Compare the categories.
  3. Finish with the rest of the data.

Vocabulary

What do the words in bold below mean? Make some notes on paper to aid memory and then check below.

The bar chart details average spending per week for families in a given country in the years 1968 and 2018. Looking from an overall perspective, it is readily apparent that while spending for food, fuel and power, clothing and footware, and personal goods declined, the inverse was true for the remaining categories, with only household goods unchanged. Although spending on food was by far the most common in 1968, by 2018 leisure occupied the majority of the family budget, followed closely by housing.

In 1968, families spent on average 35% of their weekly income on food, greatly outstripping other budgetary concerns, each of which represented between 5% and 10%. Among these, fuel and power was the lowest at 6%.

By 2018, spending patterns diverged more widely. Food represented a still significant 17% of the budget, trailing housing at 19% (a 9% overall rise) and leisure at 22% (a 13% increase). Transport also displayed a notable growth to 14%. Fuel and power, clothing and footware, and personal goods all fell to 4%, 5%, and 4%, respectively. Household goods was the only expense to remain fixed, at 7%.

Answers

For extra practice, write an antonym (opposite word) on a piece of paper to help you remember the new vocabulary:

details shows

average spending per week amount of money every 7 days spent on average

in a given country in a random nation

Looking from an overall perspective, it is readily apparent that overall

declined decreased

the inverse was true for the opposite is the case for

remaining categories other groups

unchanged remained the same

by far the most common a lot more popular

occupied represented

majority most of

family budget how much money a family spends on average

followed closely by right after that

weekly income money earned each week

greatly outstripping much more than

other budgetary concerns different things to spend money on

each of which all of them

represented stood for

Among these in this group

lowest least

spending patterns ways money is spent

diverged more widely were less similar

represented stood for

significant meaningful

trailing behind

displayed showed

notable growth significant rise

respectively in turn

expense money spent

remain fixed stayed the same

Pronunciation

Practice saying the vocabulary below and use this tip about Google voice search:

ˈdiːteɪlz 
ˈævərɪʤ ˈspɛndɪŋ pɜː wiːk 
ɪn ə ˈgɪvn ˈkʌntri 
ˈlʊkɪŋ frɒm ən ˈəʊvərɔːl pəˈspɛktɪvɪt ɪz ˈrɛdɪli əˈpærənt ðæt 
dɪˈklaɪnd
ði ɪnˈvɜːs wɒz truː fɔː 
rɪˈmeɪnɪŋ ˈkætɪgəriz
ʌnˈʧeɪnʤd
baɪ fɑː ðə məʊst ˈkɒmən 
ˈɒkjʊpaɪd 
məˈʤɒrɪti 
ˈfæmɪli ˈbʌʤɪt
ˈfɒləʊd ˈkləʊsli baɪ 
ˈwiːkli ˈɪnkʌm 
ˈgreɪtli aʊtˈstrɪpɪŋ 
ˈʌðə ˈbʌʤɪtəri kənˈsɜːnz
iːʧ ɒv wɪʧ 
ˌrɛprɪˈzɛntɪd 
əˈmʌŋ ðiːz
ˈləʊɪst 
ˈspɛndɪŋ ˈpætənz 
daɪˈvɜːʤd mɔː ˈwaɪdli 
ˌrɛprɪˈzɛntɪd 
sɪgˈnɪfɪkənt 
ˈtreɪlɪŋ 
dɪsˈpleɪd 
ˈnəʊtəbl grəʊθ 
rɪsˈpɛktɪvli
ɪksˈpɛns 
rɪˈmeɪn fɪkst

Vocabulary Practice

I recommend getting a pencil and piece of paper because that aids memory. Then write down the missing vocabulary from my sample answer in your notebook:

The bar chart d_______s a___________________________k for families i___________________y in the years 1968 and 2018. L___________________________________________________________t while spending for food, fuel and power, clothing and footware, and personal goods d_________d, t_____________________________r the r_________________s, with only household goods u_______________d. Although spending on food was b________________________n in 1968, by 2018 leisure o__________d the m_________y of the f_____________t, f____________________y housing.

In 1968, families spent on average 35% of their w___________e on food, g_______________________________g o______________________s, e___________________________d between 5% and 10%. A____________e, fuel and power was the l_________t at 6%.

By 2018, s______________________s d____________________y. Food r_________________d a still s_____________t 17% of the budget, t____________g housing at 19% (a 9% overall rise) and leisure at 22% (a 13% increase). Transport also d__________d a n____________________h to 14%. Fuel and power, clothing and footware, and personal goods all fell to 4%, 5%, and 4%, r________________y. Household goods was the only e__________e to r______________d, at 7%.

Listening Practice

Learn more about this topic by watching from YouTube below and practice with these activities:

Reading Practice

Read more about this topic and use these ideas to practice:

https://www.nerdwallet.com/article/finance/how-to-budget

Speaking Practice

Practice with the following speaking questions from the real IELTS speaking exam:

Shopping

  1. What do you usually shop for?
  2. Do you often go to malls?
  3. Do you shop online a lot?
  4. How common are shopping centers in your country?

Writing Practice

Practice with the related IELTS chart below:


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