Thursday, April 21, 2016

Best Practices in Dealing with Data Interpretation in the IELTS Writing Test

Every person studying for the IELTS examination has experienced the difficulty and confusion in data interpretation in the writing sub-test of the examination.

The first task of the Writing test in the Academic module is to interpret a given data. The data can vary from pie charts, bar graphs, line graphs, tables and even a combination of different data. Interpreting these data is tricky and might pose a problem if you do not know what to consider in your writing. Here is how you can write an essay for the Writing Task 1 of the IELTS Academic test. 


  • Start with a good introduction.The introduction can be made up of one to two sentences that will show what the writing task is. You can paraphrase the tile of the graph including the time frame is it is indicated in the graph. Do not copy the question word per word. 

  • Provide an overview of the graph. Indicate the trend that is noticeable in the graph given. You should not put any details on this. At this stage, you are preparing your reader on what you are going to describe in the essay. Look at the graph and study the lines, bars, and percentage. Choose the one that stands out.

  • Going into details. It is time to be more specific on what you will be interpreting in the essay. One thing you can do is to group together data that show the same patterns. In this way, you will be able to identify the similarities and differences of the variables. Another way is to look at the top three highest and lowest points in the graph. Focus on the explanation on these providing details including years and numbers. Be careful with the numbers. Some candidates interchange the details that make everything messed up.

To write a good interpretation of these details, you must be able to explain or describe them well by the use of vocabulary. Here are some points to remember:

  • Comparatives and Superlatives
    To compare and contrast figures, the comparative and superlative forms of adjectives and adverbs should be used. In this way, it will clearly show that one variable is better or worse than the other one or the rest of the group.

  • Transition words
    The use of transition words show similarities and differences and even changes that happened in the graph. For example, words such as however, while, although, and but shows that the change is surprising or unusual in the trend. 

  • Vocabulary
    A good essay is written with carefully chosen words to correctly convey its context. As much as possible, use words that are appropriate for the graph. Do not repeat the same vocabulary words as this may cause a low score. There are synonyms and word expressions the can be used. 

Interpreting data in the writing task is difficult so practice is recommended for all IELTS test takers. Find someone who can help you improve your writing. Other even enroll in IELTS classes to have one-on-one coaching with IELTS instructors. Learn more and expose yourself with different data used in the writing task to be familiar with and score well in the test. 

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