How to Answer a  Pie Chart  Question for IELTS Writing Task 1

Pie chart is a circular statistical graph which is divided into slices that illustrate proportional relationship. This is one of the most common types of IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 questions.

 

In this page, you will find a complete discussion on IELTS Writing Task 1 Pie Chart 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 below show the percentage of volunteers by organisations in 2008 and 2014.

Write at least 150 words.

IELTS Writing Task 1 Pie Chart Question

Source: Cambridge English IELTS Past Papers

1. Analysing the Question

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

  • Topic Words / Keywords

  • Micro Keywords

  • Action Words

Topic Words: Volunteers by organisations

Micro Keywords: Environmental, Art, Sport, Health Care, Educational, and Others.

Action Words: Compare (remember, action words might not 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 as in this question, 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

2008                              2014

Major contributors      Major contributors

Educational(24%)         Environmental (29%)

Environmental(21%)     Sport (25%)

  • Increased: Health Care, Sport, and Environmental

  • Decreased: Others, Art, and Educational

  • Most significant change: Sport

  • Units are measured in percentage.

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.

 

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 below show the percentage of volunteers by organisations in 2008 and 2014."

We can paraphrase this statement as below:

"The diagrams illustrate the rate of volunteer participation from different organisations for the periods 2008 and 2014."

That's it, quite simple. Our first paragraph is complete, and you have already used 15 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. And let the readers know what you are going to discuss about in the body paragraphs.

 

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, out of the total 6 participating organizations, the rate of volunteers from three organizations increased."

Sentence 2(Summary Statement 2)

"Though Sport experienced the most significant change, Educational and Environmental organisations contributed the highest percentage of volunteers in 2008 and 2014 respectively."

Sentence 3(Outline Sentence)

"Major changes are explained below."

Complete Overview Paragraph

"Overall, out of the total 6 participating organizations, the percentage rate of volunteers from 3 organizations increased. Though Sport experienced the most significant change, Educational and Environmental organisations contributed the highest percentage of volunteers in 2008 and 2014 respectively. Major changes are explained below."

Quite simple. Previously we wrote 15 words for the first paragraph (paraphrasing the question sentence). And just now we have added 40 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)

"With 24% of total volunteer participation, Educational organization is the largest contributor of volunteers in 2008, followed by Environmental and Art."

Sentence 2(Second Major Point)

"However in 2014, the highest 29% volunteers came from Environmental organisation."

Sentence 3(Extension Sentence 1)

"Educational organisation went through a moderate decline from 24% in 2008 to 17% in 2014, whereas Environmental organisation experienced an increase from 21% to 29% over the same period."

Sentence 4(Extension Sentence 2)

"Meanwhile, Health Care remained the lowest contributor in both the periods."

Complete Body Paragraph 1

"With 24% of total volunteer participation, Educational organization is the largest contributor of volunteers in 2008, followed by Environmental and Art. However in 2014, the highest 29% volunteers came from Environmental organisation. Educational organisation has gone through a moderate decline from 24% in 2008 to 17% in 2014, whereas Environmental organisation experienced an increase from 21% to 29% over the same period. Meanwhile, Health Care was the lowest contributor in both the periods."

We have just added 60 more words and completed the first body paragraph. That means we have already finished 75% of our IELTS Task 1 essay! See how simple it is! We are just describing the major features that we see in the diagrams.

We've written 15 for the first, 40 for the second and 60 words for the third paragraph. That means we have already used 115 words out of total 150 for an IELTS Task 1 essay question. Therefore, we need to write at least 35 more words in this essay, and we have one more paragraph to write. Let's jump 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 it 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 in brief and then adding a final sentence to conclude the 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)

"On the other hand, only Sport's contribution increased significantly from 15% in 2008 to 25% in 2014, while all others went through a moderate rise or fall."

Sentence 2(Extension of the Exceptional Feature) 

"Moreover, the rate of volunteer participation only from Health Care,  Environmental and Sport increased, whereas all the other three declined over the same period. "

Sentence 3(Final Sentence)

"Finally, Educational and Environmental were the highest contributors in 2008 and 2014 respectively, whereas Health Care remained the least contributor in both the periods."

Complete Body Paragraph 2

"On the other hand, only Sport's contribution increased significantly from 15% in 2008 to 25% in 2014, while all others went through a moderate rise or fall. Moreover, the rate of volunteer participation only from Health Care,  Environmental and Sport increased, whereas all the other three declined over the same period. Finally, Educational and Environmental organisations were the highest contributors in 2008 and 2014 respectively, whereas Health Care remained the least contributor in both the periods."

We've added 60 more words to the previous 115, and just finished the final part of our 4 paragraph essay. That means we have completed an IELTS Task 1 essay with 175 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 Pie Chart Question

"The diagrams illustrate the rate of volunteer participation from different organisations for the periods 2008 and 2014.

Overall, out of the total 6 participating organizations, the percentage rate of volunteers from 3 organizations increased. Though Sport experienced the most significant change, Educational and Environmental organisations contributed the highest percentage of volunteers in 2008 and 2014 respectively. Major changes are explained below.

With 24% of total volunteer participation, Educational organization is the largest contributor of volunteers in 2008, followed by Environmental and Art. However in 2014, the highest 29% volunteers came from Environmental organisation. Educational organisation has gone through a moderate decline from 24% in 2008 to 17% in 2014, whereas Environmental organisation experienced an increase from 21% to 29% over the same period. Meanwhile, Health Care was the lowest contributor in both the periods.

On the other hand, only Sport's contribution increased significantly from 15% in 2008 to 25% in 2014, while all others went through a moderate rise or fall. Moreover, the rate of volunteer participation only from Health Care,  Environmental and Sport increased, whereas all the other three declined over the same period. Finally, Educational and Environmental organisations were the highest contributors in 2008 and 2014 respectively, whereas Health Care remained the least contributor in both the periods."

175 words

We have just given a complete response to an IELTS Writing Task 1 Pie Chart question. We have applied our 6 step strategy to write this essay. You can write all the Task 1 essays using this strategy. 

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

Multiple Graphs        Bar Chart      

Line Graph               Map

Table Chart               Process Diagram 

Don't forget to check the following resources: