How to Answer Multiple Diagrams for IELTS Writing Task 1

There will be more than one graphs / diagrams. You will need to compare between them. Many student fear this question because of multiple diagrams. But the reality is, this is a very easy question. You just need to write 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/table. This suggestion applies to all types of IELTS Writing Task 1 questions.

 

On this page, you will find a complete discussion on IELTS Task 1 Multiple Diagram question. The discussion will proceed under the following 7 major steps:

  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 are going to use this 7 Step Strategy for all the question types for Academic IELTS Writing Task 1. Remember this 7 Step Strategy. It's quite simple. Start applying this method in your writing. You will see the benefit for sure. However, if you need our help with a guaranteed 7+ band score in Writing, just click here

Let's go through the example question below, and see how we prepare the answer applying our 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 Multiple Diagrams 1
IELTS Writing Multiple Diagrams 2

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 that case you need to understand what the examiner is expecting from you. For example, if there are more than one diagram or issue to talk about, you can just go for comparing the major features).

After completing the question analysis part, we need to find the major features in the diagrams.

2. Identifying the Major Features

Diagram 1 

  • Maximum ratio gap: 2010

  • Maximum total: 2010

  • 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 diagrams illustrate on average how many years the adults in Singapore spent at school, and to what extent their highest level of education changed from 2000 to 2010."

That's it, quite simple. Our first paragraph is complete, and you have already used 27 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.)

Let's form the paragraph:

Sentence 1(Summary Statement 1)

"Overall, adult males' schooling years were always higher than that of adult females, and the gap between them kept rising over the time."

Sentence 2(Summary Statement 2)

"Though Highschool and University respectively were the highest percentage of educational qualifications in 2000 and 2010, it is Primary Qualification that went through the most significant change in this period."

Sentence 3(Outline Sentence)

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

Complete Overview Paragraph

"Overall, adult males' schooling years were always higher than that of adult females, and the gap between them kept rising over the time. Though Highschool and University respectively were the highest percentage of educational  qualifications in 2000 and 2010, it is Primary Qualification that went through the most significant change in this period. The following paragraphs are going to explain the major features in detail."

Quite simple. Previously we wrote 27 words for the first paragraph (paraphrasing the question sentence). And just now we have added 62 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 63 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 27 for the first, 62 for the second and 63 words for the third paragraph. That means we have already used 152 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 170-190 words, and never exceed 200. 

 

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)

"Meanwhile, Primary Qualification was the hardest hit as it declined sharp from 25.77% in 2000 to 2.1% in 2010."

Sentence 2(Extension of the Exceptional Feature) 

"In fact, Primary, Secondary and Highschool all went through a major decline while  the rate of University and Master increased steep."

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

"Meanwhile, Primary Qualification was the hardest hit as it declined sharp from 25.77% in 2000 to 2.1% in 2010. In fact, Primary, Secondary and Highschool all went through a major decline while the rate of University and Master increased steep.  Finally, with the steady rise of adult males' schooling years, the rate of University qualification increased most significantly while that of Primary declined sharp."

We've added 47 more words to the previous 152, and just finished the final part of our 4 paragraph essay. That means we have completed an IELTS Task 1 essay with 199  words, which is absolutely okay. In fact, you should write somewhere between 150 and 200 words. Now let's see how the whole essay looks like:

A Complete Response to the Multiple Chart Question

"The diagrams illustrate on average how many years the adults in Singapore spent at school, and to what extent their highest level of education changed from 2000 to 2010.

Overall, adult males' schooling years were always higher than that of adult females, and the gap between them kept rising over the time. Though Highschool and University respectively were the highest percentage of educational  qualifications in 2000 and 2010, it is Primary Qualification that went through the most significant change in this period. The following paragraphs are going to explain the major features in detail.

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.

Meanwhile, Primary Qualification was the hardest hit as it declined sharp from 25.77% in 2000 to 2.1% in 2010. In fact, Primary, Secondary and Highschool all went through a major decline while the rate of University and Master increased steep.  Finally, with the steady rise of adult males' schooling years, the rate of University qualification increased most significantly while that of Primary declined sharp."

199 words

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: