IELTS Writing Multiple Graphs

Instead of having one line graph, bar chart, table or pie chart, you could have a combination of two of these. This may seem scary because of the additional graph or chart, but it is really not that much harder.

Strategy

If you practise writing multiple graph questions using the following guide you will be fine on the IELTS writing test.

Step 1: Understand the Charts

As with all of these writing task 1 questions, it helps to understand what the graphs are showing you first of all. In multiple graph questions, the two graphs will be linked in some way. This should be the first question you are thinking about – what is the link between the two graphs.

To find this link, it may help to think about what the two individual graphs are showing first of all. As with other graph-based questions, make sure you understand what all of the numbers refer to.

Step 2: Write the Introduction

As with any other IELTS academic writing task 1 question, the introduction should consist of:

  • paraphrasing the description of the data;
  • an overall trend.
Paraphrasing

You need to sum up what the two graphs show in your opening sentence. This can be done by paraphrasing the description provided, for example:

The graphs below show the percentage of students who studied for different amounts of time for a test and the average score students obtained based on hours studied.

We need to take the ideas in this sentence and put it into our own words:

The two graphs provided compare the amount of time students studied for an exam with the mean score they attained.

Overall Trend

As with other task 1 questions, we are looking for an overall trend. In this case, it may just be commenting on a trend in one of the two graphs. In the graphs below, for example, you may just write that the majority of students studied more than 51 hours or that the optimum amount of time for preparing for the exam was between 76 and 100 hours.

The graphs below show the percentage of students who studied for different amounts of time for a test and the average score students obtained based on hours studied.
ielts writing multiple graphs

Step 3: Write the Body

In the body paragraphs, you need to write about each of the graphs. As you have two graphs to write about, it makes sense to have two body paragraphs.

The First Graph

Generally, you will probably want to start with the graph on the left. However, there is no rule that states you have to do this. If you feel it makes more sense to start with the graph on the right, then there is no reason why you shouldn’t do this.

Remember that in the body we want to use several figures from the graph. We can combine groups and talk about them together where it makes sense to. For example, about the pie chart, we could write:

The largest group of students, who made up almost 40% of students surveyed, studied between 51 and 75 hours. A similar number (39%) studied more than this, with almost a tenth of students studying more than 100 hours. Less than a quarter of students spent less than 50 hours studying for the test.

The Second Graph

After dealing with one graph, you need to deal with the other. You can start a new paragraph with the phrase “turning now to …”

As with the first graph, you need to refer to figures and at least mention all of the groups in the chart.

For example, you could write:

Turning now to the bar chart, the highest average score (approximately 88) was achieved by those students that studied between 76 and 100 hours. Those putting in more hours were the next most successful group with an average of around 82. Students studying between 51 and 75 achieved an average score of about 75. Scores then decreased the fewer hours students spent preparing, down to 41 for those who studied the least.

Step 4: Write the Conclusion

When dealing with multiple graphs, the key point to include in the conclusion is how the two graphs are connected. For these graphs we can write:

Despite 76 to 100 hours being the optimum amount of study to prepare for the exam, the majority of students spent less time studying.

Practice Questions

Click here for all IELTS writing task 1 practice questions and sample answers.

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