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This is an IELTS writing task 1 sample answer essay on the topic of underground railway systems in six major cities including the date opened, kilometres per route, and average passengers per year.

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IELTS Task 1: Underground Railway Systems

The table displays the date opened, number of kilometers and passengers each year in millions for subway systems in various cities. Looking from an overall perspective, it is readily apparent that the earlier underground railways tend to be longer and now serve more passengers per year relative to the more recent ones. Tokyo stands out for serving by far the most passengers and London for being both the oldest and largest.

London opened first (1863) and is nearly twice as expansive (394 kilometers) as the second largest subway, in Paris, which opened in 1900 and is 199 kilometers long. However, Paris now has more passengers compared to London (1,191,000,000 to 775,000,000). Tokyo was the next oldest having been constructed in 1927 with routes measuring a total of 155 kilometers and being made use of by 1,928,000,000 passengers annually.

The more modern subways are Washington D.C. (1976), Kyoto (1981), and Los Angeles (2001). Washington is the largest of the 3 at 126 kilometers with 144,000,000 yearly passengers. Kyoto is by far the smallest (11 kilometers) and serves relatively few individuals (45 million). Similarly, the Los Angeles subway is 18 kilometers in cumulative length and only 50,000,000 people travel on it each year.

Analysis

1. The table displays the date opened, number of kilometers and passengers each year in millions for subway systems in various cities. 2. Looking from an overall perspective, it is readily apparent that the earlier underground railways tend to be longer and now serve more passengers per year relative to the more recent ones. 3. Tokyo stands out for serving by far the most passengers and London for being both the oldest and largest.

  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. London opened first (1863) and is nearly twice as expansive (394 kilometers) as the second largest subway, in Paris, which opened in 1900 and is 199 kilometers long. 2. However, Paris now has more passengers compared to London (1,191,000,000 to 775,000,000). 3. Tokyo was the next oldest having been constructed in 1927 with routes measuring a total of 155 kilometers and being made use of by 1,928,000,000 passengers annually.

  1. Begin writing about the data for the first categories.
  2. Make sure you compare as much as possible.
  3. There is a lot of data so this essay is a little longer than normal.

1. The more modern subways are Washington D.C. (1976), Kyoto (1981), and Los Angeles (2001). 2. Washington is the largest of the 3 at 126 kilometers with 144,000,000 yearly passengers. 3. Kyoto is by far the smallest (11 kilometers) and serves relatively few individuals (45 million). 4. Similarly, the Los Angeles subway is 18 kilometers in cumulative length and only 50,000,000 people travel on it each year.

  1. Write about the final other parts of the graph – include everything!
  2. Compare the categories.
  3. This table has lots of data so your writing might be a little long.
  4. 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 table displays the date opened, number of kilometers and passengers each year in millions for subway systems in various cities. Looking from an overall perspective, it is readily apparent that the earlier underground railways tend to be longer and now serve more passengers per year relative to the more recent ones. Tokyo stands out for serving by far the most passengers and London for being both the oldest and largest.

London opened first (1863) and is nearly twice as expansive (394 kilometers) as the second largest subway, in Paris, which opened in 1900 and is 199 kilometers long. However, Paris now has more passengers compared to London (1,191,000,000 to 775,000,000). Tokyo was the next oldest having been constructed in 1927 with routes measuring a total of 155 kilometers and being made use of by 1,928,000,000 passengers annually.

The more modern subways are Washington D.C. (1976), Kyoto (1981), and Los Angeles (2001). Washington is the largest of the 3 at 126 kilometers with 144,000,000 yearly passengers. Kyoto is by far the smallest (11 kilometers) and serves relatively few individuals (45 million). Similarly, the Los Angeles subway is 18 kilometers in cumulative length and only 50,000,000 people travel on it each year.

Answers

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

displays shows

kilometers .62 miles

passengers people riding on them

subway systems underground railway systems

various different

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

tend to be are usually

relative to compared to

stands out for is noticeable because of

nearly twice as expansive almost double the size of

second largest next biggest

compared to in contrast to

next oldest almost as old

constructed built

measuring a total of the total length of

being made use of by used by

annually each year

more modern subways more recent undergrounds

the largest of the 3 the biggest of all

by far much more

relatively in comparison

Similarly not so different

cumulative in total

each year every year

Pronunciation

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

dɪsˈpleɪz 
ˈkɪləʊˌmiːtəz 
ˈpæsɪnʤəz 
ˈsʌbweɪ ˈsɪstɪmz 
ˈveərɪəs 
ˈlʊkɪŋ frɒm ən ˈəʊvərɔːl pəˈspɛktɪvɪt ɪz ˈrɛdɪli əˈpærənt ðæt
tɛnd tuː biː 
ˈrɛlətɪv tuː 
stændz aʊt fɔː 
ˈnɪəli twaɪs æz ɪksˈpænsɪv 
ˈsɛkənd ˈlɑːʤɪst 
kəmˈpeəd tuː 
nɛkst ˈəʊldɪst 
kənˈstrʌktɪd 
ˈmɛʒərɪŋ ə ˈtəʊtl ɒv 
ˈbiːɪŋ meɪd juːz ɒv baɪ 
ˈænjʊəli
mɔː ˈmɒdən ˈsʌbweɪz 
ðə ˈlɑːʤɪst ɒv ðiː 3
baɪ fɑː 
ˈrɛlətɪvli 
ˈsɪmɪləli
ˈkjuːmjʊlətɪv
iːʧ jɪə

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 table d_______s the date opened, number of k__________s and p____________s each year in millions for s___________________s in v_______s cities. L______________________________________________t the earlier underground railways t__________e longer and now serve more passengers per year r__________o the more recent ones. Tokyo s_____________r serving by far the most passengers and London for being both the oldest and largest.

London opened first (1863) and is n__________________e (394 kilometers) as the s______________t subway, in Paris, which opened in 1900 and is 199 kilometers long. However, Paris now has more passengers c_________o London (1,191,000,000 to 775,000,000). Tokyo was the n__________t having been c___________d in 1927 with routes m_______________________f 155 kilometers and b_______________________y 1,928,000,000 passengers a________y.

The m______________________s are Washington D.C. (1976), Kyoto (1981), and Los Angeles (2001). Washington is t________________________3 at 126 kilometers with 144,000,000 yearly passengers. Kyoto is b_____r the smallest (11 kilometers) and serves r_________y few individuals (45 million). S________y, the Los Angeles subway is 18 kilometers in c____________e length and only 50,000,000 people travel on it e________r.

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://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/world-best-metro-systems/index.html

Speaking Practice

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

Cities

  1. Have you ever lived in a city?
  2. What do you enjoy most about living in the city?
  3. Which city would you like to live in in the future?
  4. Do most people in your country live in cities?

Writing Practice

Practice with the related IELTS chart below:


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