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This is an IELTS writing task 1 sample answer essay from the real academic exam on the subject of higher education (a bar chart).

There are a couple of key areas to note before you start writing.

First, this graph shows change over time so you will have to describe the full trend for full marks on your overview.

Secondly, there is a lot of data but you must include all of it.

Finally, it is important to structure and compare the data.

Read how I did that below!

Dave

Before reading, practice your listening skills by listening to the audio file and trying to draw the bar chart:

IELTS Writing Task 1 Sample Answer Essay: Higher Education Bar Chart (Real Past IELTS Exam/Test)

The bar chart shows the percentage of young people in higher education in 2000, 2005 and 2010.

Courtest of IELTS Nguyen-Huyen

The bar chart details changes in the proportions of young people studying in higher education across 4 countries and at 3 intervals of 5 years from 2000 to 2010. Looking from an overall perspective, it is readily apparent that, with the exception of country B where growth was flat, all countries experienced rises. Country D had the highest overall numbers throughout, while country A overtook country C and country B was generally lowest.

Looking first of all at the overall leader, country D, 60% of young people studied higher education in 2000 followed by a slight uptick to 65% in 2005 and a final upswing to 80%. In contrast, country B had far lower levels at 40% in both 2000 and 2010, with a small dip in between to just under 40%.

Country A had 37% of youngsters studying in university at the beginning of the period, trailing country C by approximately 13%. Both countries underwent increases in 2005 (by 11 and 2%, respectively) before country A surged ahead to nearly 60% and country C’s growth stagnated at 53%.

Analysis

1. The bar chart details changes in the proportions of young people studying in higher education across 4 countries and at 3 intervals of 5 years from 2000 to 2010. 2. Looking from an overall perspective, it is readily apparent that, with the exception of country B where growth was flat, all countries experienced rises. 3. Country D had the highest overall numbers throughout, while country A overtook country C and country B was generally lowest.

  1. Paraphrase what the graph is showing.
  2. Begin your overview. You must include all areas and say whether they increase/decrease.
  3. Also include the ranking and any other notable areas.

1. Looking first of all at the overall leader, country D, 60% of young people studied higher education in 2000 followed by a slight uptick to 65% in 2005 and a final upswing to 80%. 2. In contrast, country B had far lower levels at 40% in both 2000 and 2010, with a small dip in between to just under 40%.

  1. Begin to write about some of the data. I chose to compare the low and high in this paragraph.
  2. Compare and be sure to include all data.

1. Country A had 37% of youngsters studying in university at the beginning of the period, trailing country C by approximately 13%. 2. Both countries underwent increases in 2005 (by 11 and 2%, respectively) before country A surged ahead to nearly 60% and country C’s growth stagnated at 53%.

  1. Describe the data for the other countries.
  2. Be sure that you are always comparing and you don’t miss out on any data.

Vocabulary

What do the words in bold below mean?

The bar chart details changes in the proportions of young people studying in higher education across 4 countries and at 3 intervals of 5 years from 2000 to 2010. Looking from an overall perspective, it is readily apparent that, with the exception of country B where growth was flat, all countries experienced rises. Country D had the highest overall numbers throughout, while country A overtook country C and country B was generally lowest.

Looking first of all at the overall leader, country D, 60% of young people studied higher education in 2000 followed by a slight uptick to 65% in 2005 and a final upswing to 80%. In contrast, country B had far lower levels at 40% in both 2000 and 2010, with a small dip in between to just under 40%.

Country A had 37% of youngsters studying in university at the beginning of the period, trailing country C by approximately 13%. Both countries underwent increases in 2005 (by 11 and 2%, respectively) before country A surged ahead to nearly 60% and country C’s growth stagnated at 53%.

Answers

details describes

proportions percentages

higher education university

intervals periods

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

exception what is different

growth was flat stayed the same

throughout all during the period

while at the same time

overtook surpassed

generally lowest overall at the bottom

overall leader highest in general

slight uptick small increase

final upswing large increase

far lower levels not nearly as high

small dip tiny decrease

just under a little less than

beginning of the period at the start of the time surveyed

trailing behind

approximately around

underwent experienced

respectively in turn

surged ahead increasing past

nearly almost

growth stagnated stopped increasing

Pronunciation

ˈdiːteɪlz
prəˈpɔːʃənz 
ˈhaɪər ˌɛdju(ː)ˈkeɪʃən 
ˈɪntəvəlz 
ˈlʊkɪŋ frɒm ən ˈəʊvərɔːl pəˈspɛktɪvɪt ɪz ˈrɛdɪli əˈpærənt ðæt
ɪkˈsɛpʃən 
grəʊθ wɒz flæt
θru(ː)ˈaʊt
waɪl 
ˌəʊvəˈtʊk 
ˈʤɛnərəli ˈləʊɪst
ˈəʊvərɔːl ˈliːdə
slaɪt ʌptɪk 
ˈfaɪnl ˈʌpswɪŋ 
fɑː ˈləʊə ˈlɛvlz 
smɔːl dɪp 
ʤʌst ˈʌndə 
bɪˈgɪnɪŋ ɒv ðə ˈpɪərɪəd
ˈtreɪlɪŋ 
əˈprɒksɪmɪtli 
ˌʌndəˈwɛnt 
rɪsˈpɛktɪvli
sɜːʤd əˈhɛd 
ˈnɪəli 
grəʊθ stægˈneɪtɪd 

Listen and repeat:

Vocabulary Practice

Remember and fill in the blanks:

The bar chart d___________s changes in the p_______________s of young people studying in h___________________n across 4 countries and at 3 i__________s of 5 years from 2000 to 2010. L_____________________________________________________________________t, with the e___________n of country B where g______________t, all countries experienced rises. Country D had the highest overall numbers t____________t, w_________e country A o__________k country C and country B was g________________t.

Looking first of all at the o____________r, country D, 60% of young people studied higher education in 2000 followed by a s______________k to 65% in 2005 and a f______________g to 80%. In contrast, country B had f___________________s at 40% in both 2000 and 2010, with a s_____________p in between to j_____________r 40%.

Country A had 37% of youngsters studying in university at the b_____________________________d, t______________g country C by a___________________y 13%. Both countries u_______________t increases in 2005 (by 11 and 2%, r_______________y) before country A s______________________y 60% and country C’s g______________________d at 53%.

Listen and check:

Writing Practice

Write about the bar chart below then check with my sample answer:


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