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.
- April – Product X exceeded the sales target with 32% of sales coming in during that month which made it the best month for sales in the year
- May, June, July – showed negative sales with a total of -20% overall for the year
- February to April – showed a steady increase in sales as did August to October
- Worst month for sales – June, closely followed by May
- February – showed a small dip in sales from January
- Product X – only met the sales target once in the year and that was in April
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).
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 though there was only one month when Product X met its sales target, the rest of the year (excluding May-July) did show a positive sales result.
All the best.