Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles How To Describe A Line Graph For IELTS Hello there. Welcome to this new episode. I just finished recording. This is a really good episode because we're going to go into some great detail how to describe a line graph for Academic Task 1. And you're going to get the instructions, the structure, and some phrases to use and of course, some tips. First of all, I've got some information for you: 5 things you can do to increase your chances of passing the IELTS exam. 1. Sign up for free weekly tutorials and awesome practical guides. So go to the website: ieltspodcast.com and sign up. You'll get lots of information there. 2. Fill your phone up with podcasts or the mp3s, and listen to them constantly, all the time. On the bus When you're having breakfast When you're waking up Fill your head up with this information You'll not only going to be practicing English, you're also going to be getting lots of practical advice to help you get through, to help you achieve the grade that you need. 3. Subscribe to the YouTube channel, as well. That's massive help because you can usually see the words in front of you, and you can associate sounds with the words you see and start increasing your comprehension levels, and improving your pronunciation if you're repeating it as well. 4. Subscribe in iTunes, get all the podcasts there are well. 5. If you've got time, leave me a review. So let's get to it... Now, part 1 is how to describe a line graph. We're going to look at what you need to do on the exam day, how to group the information, what to do for your introduction, what to do for your summary, and then the 5 tips. Then the 2nd part, we're going to look at what you need, which would be: Good control of transferring from the active to the passive voice. You need a good control of adverbs. There's a big list of verbs. Some nouns. Then you've got some phrases for the introduction. Some phrases for summaries. And some phrases for describing change. And you'll also get an exercise, so if you don't have a pen and paper with you go and grab one now. 'Cause it'll be definitely beneficial. Let's get crackin'. Decide what will be in each paragraph. This is what you need to do: You need to group the information. Now, you can't see it (of course, 'cause you're listening to the podcast). However, if you go to the website you'd be able to find the post. Go to podcast number 66 and you'll be able to see all the graphic information. You'll be able to see the whole presentation. There's a graph I'll be using to describe as an example and it's basically UK supermarket sales between 2001 and 2009, in million pounds sterling. I'll just briefly describe it. There's 5 lines. Each one representing a supermarket: Sainsbury�s, Tesco, Asda, Morrison�s, and the Co-op. Now in this stage, when you see the graph, what you need to do is group it. And I recommend doing 4 paragraphs in total. One for your introduction. One for your main body paragraph #1. Then main body paragraph #2. And then for the conclusion (final paragraph). When you're grouping the information... I'm telling you about grouping the information first because when you're in the exam room, what you need to do is get a solid plan together, and then follow the plan. So I always recommend that you plan your essays. You plan your body paragraphs, get a rough idea about what you're going to do, and then when you start writing, you start off with your introduction (which I'll tell you how to do in a second) then you transfer your notes from your plan (body pragraph#1, body paragraph #2) and then you stick in your conclusion. So that's why I'm trying to teach you now how to group the information. With the graph, I can see (in front of me) the 2 companies that represent more or less similar evolution. So in the first paragraph, I'm going to talk in detail about these 2 'cause they're the ones that have basically just increased all the way. And then in the next paragraph, I'll talk about the second grouping, which is the ones that haven't done as well, which have levelled off and just remained stable. For the second part, and I'll mention one (which is the exception; the co-op, which rolls, stabilized, and then sank or levelled off). So I get a rough plan in front of me. Then you keep it apart and then go straight into the introduction. So for the introduction, what I strongly recommend you do is: You write 1 sentence that describes the graph and the general idea. So in this case, if I'll describe the graph I'll say "The line graph shows the sales of 5 UK supermarkets between 2001 and 2009." Now, that's one description. But what I recommend is that you do both. Where you describe what the graph is and the general idea of what the graph is trying to communicate. So this is another introduction you could use: "From the line graph, it is clear that the majority of the UK supermarkets saw sales grow over the ten-year period." And that's general; it's almost like the summary. But also described what the actual graph is showing. So just summarize, describe what the graph is (what it's showing) and what it's trying to describe as well. Now, sometimes you won't be as fortunate and you'll get one that just has lots of different data, and there's no clear pattern. So you just basically say that. You can say: "From the lie graph, it is clear that there is no constant pattern with regards to student enrollments in the United States, over the period shown (or over the 50-year period)." And I described what's roughly on both axis, what the graph is showing, the actual subject of the graph (in this case the companies, or in here the case of students, the enrollments) and what it's trying to describe. Now, for your summary, they do pretty much the same but you don't have to describe (or course) the graph. But you can go into a little bit more detail. Now, in this case what I would say is, I would go in and mention the major players. Not all the major players but it depends on the graph here (if I only go about 5 so I can mention them all). If I had more I would probably just group them and say "The northern countries..." or let's say, "The majority of the western suppliers..." or whatever. In this case (because I've got 5), I can go into a little bit of detail. And basically summarize each one. So here, I'll say: "Overall, it is clear that Tesco and Sainsbury's increased sales the most, followed by Asda and Morrison's, the Co-op undoubtedly performed the worst." So just to quickly summarize, this is the process: Step 1: Identify the information, group it, and start planning your body paragraph 1 and 2, write a rough plan for each one. Step 2: Write your introduction (describe briefly what the graph is and the general idea). Step 3: Write your body paragraphs, following very closely the plan you wrote before. Step 4: Write your summary. If you can, include the maximums, the minimums and even the exceptions. But what I'm trying to say is in the summary, go into a little bit more detail than in the introduction. Now, some 5 tips: 1. Your opinion is not necessary. Maybe you know the reason why the sales failed or why gold prices increased, but do not mention it; it's not necessary. Because what you have to do is a purely objective task (which is describe the bar chart in front of you). 2. Check to make sure the subject and verb agree. That's a very common problem. 3. Avoid basic words (big, small, good, bad... words like these). You can usually use more sophisticated vocabulary. 4. Unlike your IELTS Task 2 essay, you do not need a topic sentence in the introduction. You just need to do it like I said before. 5. In the final paragraph (this is your summary paragraph, not your conclusion). Do not use "To conclude..." Use "In summary..." or "Overall, we can see... blah blah blah." Now then, let's have a look at the grammar you would need, and verbs and the nouns and all the rest of it. First of all, a good skill to have to show the examiner you know a variety of structures, is to transform the words and the sentences from active to passive. Let's go through 3 examples here, and I want you to try and transform them before I do: Sales crashed to new levels. How would we transform that to the passive? We would say, "There was a crash to new levels in sales." Now, if we wanted to change, "The sales rose quickly," how would we change that? We would say, "There was a quick rise in the sales." or "... quick rise in sales.) Another one, "Employment failed drastically." We could say, "There was a drastic fall in employment." Some more. Let's go from passive to active. And this is basically doing the same but in reverse. Here's the first one for you to transform, "There was an incredible decrease in output." "There was an incredible decrease in output." How would we transform that? We would say, "Output decreased incredibly." I'll say a few more. Write them down and then try and change them. "In 2010 there was a plunge in turnover." Transform that. "In 2010 there was a plunge in turnover." Of course, "Turnover plunged in 2010." "After the crisis there was a crash in profit." Transformation, "Profit crashed after the crisis."