For some people who are taking the IELTS exam, the report writing section is the most difficult, for others the easiest. It all comes down to how well you can understand graphs and numbers and what they tell you about the overall trend explored in the graph.
To do this you need to understand the title, the axes labels and the changes in the bars or lines or percentages.
In this post I am going to give you 6 typical pieces of information that could be derived from this graph above. It will be up to you to write them into sentences and a paragraph.
- Car – 2000 showed highest percentage
- Foot and Bike – both showed a consistent decrease in percentage over the years
- Car – lowest % of use in 1960
- Foot – showed sharpest decline in usage 1960-1980 – dropping from 34-17%
- Car – showed sharpest increase in usage 1960-1980 – rising from 6-23%
- Bus – usage fluctuated to a higher level in 1980, however not as much as the other transport modes overall
The key point in this task is to not only be able to read and summarise the graph well, but to be able to show a variation of quantity/quality words that describe the trends (see underlined phrases).
The word ‘percentage’ here is repeated 6 times, can you think of another word to use that means ‘percentage’, so that the reader can see some variety of expression? Here are some examples: fraction, ratio, proportion. Words like these cannot always be dropped in as a direct replacement fo the other word, but there may be some situations where you can use them. Can you think of some more?
Another important point is to try to find the right connecting words or phrases between sentences. These are words such as:
- to add to this,
- at the same time,
- together with this,
- on the contrary,
- however opposite to this,
- despite this,
Can you think of some more?
Try now to rewrite into a paragraph the information notes 1-6 in proper sentences using connecting words or phrases.
Always remember you have only 150 words to do this and you also cannot write anything that is not clearly evident in the graph itself, in other words you can’t make any assumptions as to why these trends occurred.
For your conclusion use only one or two sentences that you feel completely summarises the overall trend in the graph:
Overall this graph shows….that all forms of transport modes in European cities have fluctuated in usage over the years.
All the best.