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How to Answer Multiple Diagrams for IELTS Writing Task 1

There will be several diagrams or graphs. You must find connections and comparisons among them. This question is feared by many students due to the numerous diagrams. However, the truth is that this is a really simple question to answer. An popular technique is simply writing one paragraph for each diagram.

 

Remember, don't write everything you see in the diagrams, rather focus on only 1 or 2 major features in each chart, graph, or table. This suggestion applies to all types of IELTS Writing Task 1 questions.

 

On this page, you will find a step by step detailed demonstration of answering a Task 1 Multiple Graph question. We will dive deep into the details following our recommended 7 step approach:

  1. Analyse the question

  2. Identify the major features

  3. Remember the 4 paragraph structure

  4. Paraphrase the question sentence

  5. Write an overview paragraph

  6. Write the body paragraph 1

  7. Write the body paragraph 2

In fact, we'll employ this 7-step strategy for all of the questions in the Academic Writing Task 1 of the IELTS test. We advise you to keep in mind this 7 Step Strategy. It's quite easy. Start using this approach while you write. You will undoubtedly notice the extraordinary advantage. However, if you need help with your writing from an actual IELTS examiner, please check this page. 

Let's now answer the following question and formulate the response using the 7 Step Strategy.

Example

You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

The charts show average levels of participation in education and the highest education level of adults from 2000 to 2010 in Singapore.

Write at least 150 words.

IELTS Writing Task 1 Multiple Graphs or Multiple Diagrams Band 9 Strategy
IELTS Writing Task 1 Multiple Graphs or Multiple Diagrams Band 9 Strategy

Source: Cambridge English IELTS Past Papers

1. Analysing the Question

We need to find three major areas in the question sentence: 

  • Topic Words / Keywords (General area of the question topic)

  • Micro Keywords (It helps us prepare a specific answer, rather than being general)

  • Action Words (The words that tell you what you need to do)

Topic Words: average level of education and high school participation

Micro Keywords: adult male and female; primary/secondary/high school/university/ master qualification; years counted: 5 (2000, 2002, 2004, 2008, 2010)

Action Words: Compare (Action words are the words that call for action. However, these words might not always be stated directly, in such case, you must comprehend what the examiner requires of you. For instance, if you need to discuss more than one diagram or problem, you may merely compare the key characteristics).

You must identify the key elements in the diagrams once you have finished the question analysis section.

2. Identifying the Major Features

Diagram 1 

  • Maximum ratio gap: In 2010

  • Maximum total: In 2010

  • Average number of years spent at school by adult males > adult females

 

Diagram 2

  • Highest in 2000: High school 

  • Highest in 2010: University

  • Highest change: Master 

  • University  (increased)

  • Primary (decreased).       

3. Remembering the Essay Structure

We can complete the essay using only 11 sentences! Yes, it is that much simple! Take a look how we place the 11 sentences in our 4 paragraph essay structure.

 

1. Paraphrasing the Question Sentence

Paraphrase the question statement using just one or two sentences. 

 

2. Overview Paragraph

Sentence 1: summary statement 1(preview of the essay without presenting data)

Sentence 2: summary statement 2 (more preview without presenting data)

Sentence 3: outline sentence (State how the discussion will proceed.)

 

3. Body Paragraph 1

Sentence 1: first major point

Sentence 2: second major point

Sentence 3: extension sentence 1 (compare/combine the major points stated above)

Sentence 4: extension sentence 2 (extension of the previous sentence, or adding an exceptional feature).

4. Body Paragraph 2

Sentence 1: exceptional feature 

Sentence 2: extension of the exceptional feature

Sentence 3: final sentence (wrapping-up the whole essay, completely based on the discussion above, nothing new)

Let's develop the answer step by step applying the above-stated 4 paragraph essay structure.

4. Paraphrasing the Question Sentence

This is the first paragraph of our IELTS Task 1 essay. This paragraph is all about paraphrasing the question statement. That means you will restate the question sentence in your language without changing the meaning of the original sentence. If you want to write this paragraph perfectly, you need to have a good grip on paraphrasing techniques. We have a full article on how to paraphrase. We suggest you take a look in case you need.

 

This paragraph conveys an impression to the examiner how well you have understood the question.

Let's look at the actual question statement that we are using on this page:

"The charts show average levels of participation in education and the highest education level of adults from 2000 to 2010 in Singapore."

We can paraphrase the statement above as:

"The graphics show how long Singaporean adults spent in school on average and how their highest degree of education evolved between 2000 and 2010."

That's it, quite simple. Our first paragraph is complete, and you have already used 24 out of 150 words. Let's move to the next part of the essay, the Overview Paragraph.

5. Overview Paragraph

Overview is the second paragraph of our IELTS Writing Task 1 essay. This is the most important paragraph as well. Because without an overview paragraph in Task 1, you cannot expect more than band 5 in IELTS Writing section. Therefore, you need to take a very special care for this paragraph. We suggest you take a tour through our detailed discussion on how to write an Overview paragraph.

An Overview simply means a summary of the main features that you are going to discuss in the body paragraphs. Don't use any data in this paragraph, just state the obvious feature that you see in the diagrams. You are writing this paragraph to convey a general idea about your essay to the readers.

 

Overview Paragraph Structure

Remember our Overview paragraph structure:

Sentence 1: summary statement 1(preview of the essay without presenting data)

Sentence 2: summary statement 2 (more preview without presenting data)

Sentence 3: outline sentence (State how the discussion will proceed. This is optional.)

Let's form the paragraph:

Sentence 1(Summary Statement 1)

"Overall, adult males had more schooling than adult females did, and the difference between the two genders grew with time."

Sentence 2(Summary Statement 2)

"Although the majority of people had high school or university degrees in 2000 and 2010, it was the primary qualification that had the biggest shift throughout this time."

Sentence 3(Outline Sentence) [This is optional]

"The following paragraphs are going to explain the major features in detail."

Complete Overview Paragraph

"Overall, adult males had more schooling than adult females did, and the difference between the two genders grew with time. Although the majority of people had high school or university degrees in 2000 and 2010, it was the primary qualification that had the biggest shift throughout this time."

Quite simple. Previously we wrote 24 words for the first paragraph (paraphrasing the question sentence). And just now we have added 48 more words to write the 2nd paragraph (Overview paragraph). That means we've completed the 1st two of our 4 paragraph IELTS Task 1 essay. Therefore, we're already halfway through. It's time to  move to the Body Paragraph 1 and Body Paragraph 2 respectively.

6. Body Paragraph 1

In the overview paragraph, we have given just a general statement of significant features, we haven't discussed any detail. Now it's time to explain them in the two body paragraphs.

Body Paragraph 1 Structure

Remember our Body Paragraph 1 structure:

Sentence 1: first major point

Sentence 2: second major point

Sentence 3: extension sentence 1 (compare/combine the major points stated above)

Sentence 4: extension sentence 2 (extension of the previous sentence, or adding an exceptional feature).

Let's form the paragraph following the above-stated structure:

Sentence 1(First Major Point)

"Rising from 9 years in 2000 to 12 in 2010, adult males' schooling years increased more than 30 percent."

Sentence 2(Second Major Point)

"On the other hand, adult females' number of years in school remained almost stagnant over the time."

Sentence 3(Extension Sentence 1)

"From 8 in 2000 to 9 in 2010, female schooling years experienced only 1 year increase, which was almost 20% less than that of males."

Sentence 4(Extension Sentence 2)

"However, total annual number of both male and female average schooling years rose steadily over the 10 years."

Complete Body Paragraph 1

"Rising from 9 years in 2000 to 12 in 2010, adult males' schooling years increased more than 30 percent. On the other hand, adult females' number of years in school remained almost stagnant over the time. From 8 in 2000 to 9 in 2010, female schooling years experienced only 1 year increase, which was almost 20% less than that of males. However, total annual number of both male and female average schooling years rose steadily over the 10 years."

We have just added 79 more words in the essay to write the first body paragraph. That means we have already completed 75% of our IELTS Task 1 essay! See how simple it is! We are just describing the major features that are very obvious in the pictures.

We've written 24 for the first, 48 for the second and 79 words for the third paragraph. That means we have already used 151 words for an IELTS Task 1 essay question, and we have one more paragraph to write. That means we have already written the minimum required number of words for a Task 1 essay.

 

Many students might fear of adding more words in this situation. We tell you, don't panic, there is nothing wrong with adding few more words, as long as it's not too many. In fact, we recommend our students use 170-220 words, and never exceed 250. 

 

However, one thing you must remember, don't write less than 150 words, not even 149. If you write less, you will lose marks.

 

Awesome! Let's move to the final paragraph, the Body Paragraph 2. Remember, we have a complete discussion on how to write an IELTS Task 1 body paragraph. Feel free to check that article anytime.

7. Body Paragraph 2

Body paragraph 2 is the final paragraph of our IELTS Task 1 essay. This is the easiest paragraph in the whole essay. Because here we're just stating other features briefly in the first sentence, adding another overall comparison statement in the second sentence, and then writing a final sentence summarizing the whole essay. Lets's apply our structure for the second body paragraph:

 

Body Paragraph 2 Structure

Sentence 1: exceptional feature 

Sentence 2: extension of the exceptional feature

Sentence 3: final sentence (wrapping-up the whole essay, completely based on the discussion above, nothing new)

Let's form the paragraph following the above-stated structure:

Sentence 1(Exceptional Feature)

"The biggest damaged category was Primary Qualification, which had a dramatic fall from 25.77% in 2000 to 2.1% in 2010."

Sentence 2(Extension of the Exceptional Feature) 

"In fact, rates for elementary, secondary, and high schools all experienced significant drops, whilst rates for universities and graduate programs sharply rose."

Sentence 3(Final Sentence)

"Finally, with the steady rise of  adult males' schooling years, the rate of University qualification increased most significantly while that of Primary declined sharp."

Complete Body Paragraph 2

"The biggest damaged category was Primary Qualification, which had a dramatic fall from 25.77% in 2000 to 2.1% in 2010. In fact, rates for elementary, secondary, and high schools all experienced significant drops, whilst rates for universities and graduate programs sharply rose. The rate of University qualification climbed most considerably whereas that of Primary qualifications sharply fell as adult men' schooling years increased over time."

We've added 65 more words to the previous 151, and just finished the final part of our 4 paragraph essay. That means we have completed an IELTS Task 1 essay with 216  words, which is a smart number of words for a task 1 report. Now let's see how the whole answer looks like:

A Complete Response to the Multiple Chart Question

"The graphics show how long Singaporean adults spent in school on average and how their highest degree of education evolved between 2000 and 2010.

Overall, adult males had more schooling than adult females did, and the difference between the two genders grew with time. Although the majority of people had high school or university degrees in 2000 and 2010, it was the primary qualification that had the biggest shift throughout this time.

To begin with, rising from 9 years in 2000 to 12 in 2010, adult males' schooling years increased more than 30 percent. On the other hand, adult females' number of years in school remained almost stagnant over the time. From 8 in 2000 to 9 in 2010, female schooling years experienced only 1 year increase, which was almost 20% less than that of males. However, total annual number of both male and female average schooling years rose steadily over the 10 years.

In contrast, the biggest damaged category was Primary Qualification, which had a dramatic fall from 25.77% in 2000 to 2.1% in 2010. In fact, rates for elementary, secondary, and high schools all experienced significant drops, whilst rates for universities and graduate programs sharply rose. The rate of University qualification climbed most considerably whereas that of Primary qualifications sharply fell as adult men' schooling years increased over time."

216 words

Let's write a 7, 8 or 9 band essay

You know there are different structures to answer different types of questions. For instance, if you respond to an opinion essay question, definitely it needs to be written in a different way than that of a problem-solution essay question. Likewise, response to a single pie chart question will be surely different from the answer of a multiple graph question. Also, a map description will be obviously different from a data table discussion. When it comes to a letter writing, you must apply the appropriate formats for different types of informal, semi formal and formal letters. 

In addition to the proper writing structures, your choice of words is also very important, because if you cannot use right vocabulary and expressions, you will fail to convey your intended message to the examiner, and eventually will lose marks for Task Achievement, one of the four marking criteria.

 

Meanwhile, just answering the specific question and using contextual words are not enough, your response needs to be presented in such an organised way that it can give a coherent message to the examiner. To do this, you have to use cohesive devices very carefully, otherwise it will be like, you have constructed a strong building with the finest ingredients (bricks, cement, ceramics etc.), but the building is not liveable, as the doors, windows etc. are not placed properly.

Moreover, just giving an organised clear response is not enough, your sentences have to be free from grammatical errors, otherwise all the hard work will be of no avail. Therefore, if you want to secure a 7+ band score in IELTS Writing, you must confirm that at least 70% of your sentences are free from grammatical errors.

However, do not panic. You can do everything very beautifully. Our IELTS Essay Correction platform is tailored to take you through all the steps required to confirm your desired band score. Once you join our IELTS Writing Assessment Service, an assigned IELTS examiner will look into every word of your essay. He / she will give you a detailed feedback, based on each marking criterion individually. Please remember, our IELTS Essay Feedback Service is not just to finish the quota of your number of essays, rather it is prepared to take you step by step towards your dream score. However, if you have any queries, you can always email us at writing@ieltsluminary.com, we will reply in minutes. We are 24/7 available online for your support.

Check our step by step solutions for all the important types of task 1 questions:

Process Diagram           Line Graph      

Pie Chart                       Bar Chart

Table Chart                    Maps Question

Don't forget to check the following resources:

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