8th April: writing task 1 – bar charts tips

Liz: How to Describe a Bar Chart

Liz: Tips for a high score of bar charts

Bar charts:


essay structure:

  1. introduction
  2. overview
  3. body paragraph 1
  4. body paragraph 2

1) introduction – paraphrase the question and add some information

The chart shows the expenditure of two countries on consumer goods in 2010.

The chart illustrates the amount of money spent on 5 consumer goods (cars, computers, books, perfume and cameras) in France and the UK in 2010. Units are measured in Pounds sterling.


  1. The chart: do not change.
  2. shows; illustrates; gives the information about;
  3. consumer goods: academic words, do not change.
  4. 5: add a number, you can give the list if the list is not too long. It’s very common.
  5. two countries—> France and the UK: try to give the name.
  6. in 2010: very important, do not miss the year.
  7. miss vertical axis unit: add interesting units
  8. only use one or two sentences.
  9. you should not make any mistakes with this. very important. “Units are measured in…”

2)overview – highlight key features.

The examiner is looking for the overview, it is very important, without overview you will not achieve about band score 5 for task achievement. if you have an overview, that’s band 6. If you have a clear overview, that’s band 7.

3 key features:

  1. the highest points and the lowest points.
  2. main differences.
  3. The overall amount of money spent in the UK is higher than France.

Overall, the expenditure of the UK was higher than that of France. Both the French and the British spent the most money on cars while in the UK the least amount of money was spent on perfume compared to cameras in France.


  1. The word ‘overall’ helps examiners to find the overview.
  2. how many features you should have? – rarely one feature, normally have 2, 3, 4 features. occasionally 5.

3)body paragraphs – logical order

body paragraph A: the highest and lowest points — cars, perfume, cameras;  The UK spent more money than France — cars, books, cameras.

body paragraph B: computers, books;  computers, perfume;

In terms of cars, the UK spent around $450,000 on this as opposed to exactly $400,000 in France. The expenditure on books in the UK was higher than in France (about $400,000 and $ 300,000 respectively).


  1. more than one body paragraph.
  2. use linkers: in terms of …; as opposed to …;
  3. give numbers of the data: you need to support your sentences with numbers. you can put numbers into brackets.
  4. when using ‘respectively’, do not put a long list of numbers
  5. using symbols: it’s okay to use symbols, and it can avoid the repeat. you can use symbols for currencies and percentages.

band 9 sample:

The chart illustrates the amount of money spent on five consumer goods (cars, computers, books, perfume and cameras) in France and the UK in 2010. Units are measured in pounds sterling.

Overall, the UK spent more money on consumer goods than France in the period given. Both the British and the French spent most of their money on cars whereas the least amount of money was spent on perfume in the UK compared to cameras in France. Furthermore, the most significant difference in expenditure between the two countries was on cameras.

In terms of cars, people in the UK spent about £450,000 on this as opposed to the French at £400,000. Similarly, the British expenditure was higher on books than the French (around £400,000 and £300,000 respectively). In the UK, expenditure on cameras (just over £350,000) was over double that of France, which was only £150,000.

On the other hand, the amount of money paid out on the remaining goods was higher in France. Above £350,000 was spent by the French on computers which was slightly more than the British who spent exactly £350,000. Neither of the countries spent much on perfume which accounted for占 £200,000 of expenditure in France but under £150,000 in the UK.

Comments: The report has been organised into logical paragraphs with flexible use of linking. The overview is very clear with key features well highlighted. Accurate data is used to support sentences in the body paragraphs. There is a range of complex structures and vocabulary is used flexibly. This is an estimated band score 9 writing task 1 report for the academic paper.


  1. expenditure noun UK /ɪkˈspen.dɪ.tʃər/ US /ɪkˈspen.də.tʃɚ/C2 [ C or U ] the total amount of money that a government or person spends(政府或个人的)全部开支,花费
    It’s part of a drive to cut government expenditure.这是削减政府开支的一个举措。
    The government’s annual expenditure on arms has been reduced.政府已经削减了年度军费开支。
    [ U ] the act of using or spending energy, time, or money(精力、时间或钱的)耗费,花费
    The expenditure of effort on this project has been enormous.已经在这项工程上付出了巨大的努力。
  2. 我的语法错误:the French; the UK;
  3. as opposed to与…相比,而:  The box is made of plastic, as opposed to wood. We’re going to Florida for our vacation this year, as opposed to the local beach. As opposed to sitting around watching TV, you could be working on your paper.
  4. linking devices: as opposed to/ compared to/ in comparison with/ while/ whereas.

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