Introduction and Overview for a Bar Chart

A sample introduction and overview for this IELTS chart is given below. The introduction is the easiest paragraph to write and the overview is the most important paragraph in your report. Look at the sample paragraphs below for the IELTS chart given and fill in the gaps.

The chart below shows the average monthly expenditure by British households in three years.

ielts chart

Introduction and Overview for an IELTS Chart

Fill in the gaps with no more than two words in order to complete the introduction and overview for the above chart.


The (1) ……………………… illustrates the typical (2)  ……………………….. of money spent each month on utility bills, transport, rent, entertainment (3) …………..groceries by households in Britain in three years (1990, 2000 and 2010). Units are (4) …………………. in pounds sterling.


(5) …………………., the largest expenditure was on rent,, (6)  ………………. the least amount of money spent was on utility bills and entertainment. While there was a significant (7)  …………………. in spending on rent, transport and utility bills, there was little change in the amount spent on the two other items.

  1. chart / bar chart
  2. amount
  3. and
  4. measured
  5. Overall (this is the most correct and appropriate linker to use)
  6. whereas or while (it is not possible to use “in comparison to” or any similar linker due to the grammar structure of the sentence. To use “in comparison to” the sentence must read “…the largest expenditure was on rent in comparison to the least amount of money spent which was on …”)
  7. increase / rise / growth
Tips & Vocab
  • Paraphrase the information for the introduction
  • shows = illustrates
  • average = typical
  • expenditure = amount of money spent
  • monthly = each month
  • Give the units if necessary
  • Put key features together in the overview
  • The overview is usually a separate paragraph
  • This IELTS chart is considered a simple chart and all students aiming for band score 6 and above should be able to write this report without many errors.
  • Watch the video lesson suggest below to learn about the correct paragraphing to use in IELTS writing task 1


Recommended Lessons

Writing Task 1 Diagram introduction and overview, click here
Bar Chart Model Band Score 9, click here
IELTS Video Tutorial: Structure and Paragraphs for Writing Task 1, click here

How to Describe Pie Charts in IELTS Writing Task 1

You can be given two pie charts to compare in IELTS writing task 1. Below are easy steps to write each paragraph in order to describe your pie chart in a complete report. Each step takes you through a paragraph practice and sample models.  Learn about the introduction, overview and body paragraphs for your pie chart.

IELTS pie chart lessonPie Chart Paragraphs Step by Step


You must paraphrase the information given at the top of the charts “The graph shows the main sources of energy for the USA in 1980 and 1990”. You cannot copy this, you must use your own language.


  • the graph = the pie chart
  • shows = illustrates
  • main sources of energy = energy production from different sources
  • for the USA = don’t change this
  • in 1980 and 1990 = in two different years (1980 and 1990)

Try writing your introduction before checking the model answer. Model

The pie charts illustrate the changes in energy production from five different sources (oil, natural gas, coal, hydroelectric power and nuclear power) for the USA in two different years (1980 and 1990).


The overview contains the key features of the charts. Answer the questions below to find the key features.

  1. What was the main source of energy in 1980?
  2. What was the main source of energy in 1990?
  3. Which produced the least energy in 1980?
  4. Which produced the least energy in 1990?
  5. Did the amount of energy produced by each source change a lot or just a little between the years?
  6. Did all types of energy increase by 1990?

Now write your overview before you check the model. Model

Overall, oil  constituted the main source of energy production in both years, while hydroelectric power  produced the least energy. There was a slight decrease in production from oil and natural gas, whereas an increase can be seen in the figures for coal and nuclear power.

Body Paragraph A

This paragraph will give details about oil and hydroelectric power, which we highlighted in the overview above.


  • You will need to write one sentence about oil comparing the percentage each year and then one sentence about hydroelectric power comparing the years.
  • You must add data (percentages and dates) to support each sentence

Here are two example sentences. Fill in the gaps with the right words.

The amount of energy produced by oil in the USA 1. ………………. 42% in 1980 and this, then, 2. ………………….. to a third (33%) in 1990. The proportion of energy from hydroelectric power, 3………………, remained constant in both years ………a mere 5%. Answers

  1. accounted for / comprised of / made up / was
  2. fell / declined / dropped / went down / decreased
  3. on the other hand / by contrast / in contrast ( we use a linker to highlight that this is opposing information to the previous sentence)
  4. at

Body Paragraph B

This paragraph will give detail about the other sources of energy in the pie charts.


  • which sources increased?
  • which sources decreased?
  • what were the percentages for each source?

Again, fill in the gaps in these model sentences.

The energy generated by natural gas, which was the second 1. …………… source of energy in the USA in 1980, fell 2. ………. 1% to a quarter of all energy produced in 1990. In contrast, production by coal 3. ……………… from 22% to 27% in 1990 4. …………….. there was a 5% rise in energy from nuclear power to reach 10% in the second year. Answers

  1.  largest / major
  2. by (this is used when writing about differences in amounts)
  3. increased / rose / went up / climbed / grew
  4. while / whereas


Recommended Lessons

IELTS PIE Chart Model
Practice Writing Task 1 Charts

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IELTS Line Graph Model (Band Score 9)

This model line graph for IELTS writing task 1 is estimated at band score 9. Use this sample writing as a template for structure, key features and language for any IELTS line graph. There are also some tips given below to guide you and help you understand how to describe this type of graph.

The graph below shows the consumption of 3 spreads from 1981 to 2007.

consumption of spreads line graph

Sample Answer

The line graph illustrates the amount of three kinds of spreads (margarine, low fat and reduced spreads and butter) which were consumed over 26 years from 1981 to 2007. Units are measured in grams.

Overall, the consumption of margarine and butter decreased over the period given, while for low fat and reduced spreads, it rose.  At the start of the period, butter was the most popular spread, which was replaced by margarine from 1991 to 2001, and following that low fat and reduced spreads became the most widely used spread in the final years.

With regards to the amount of butter used, it began at around 140 grams and then peaked at 160 grams in 1986 before falling dramatically to about 50 grams in the last year. Likewise, approximately 90 grams of margarine was eaten in the first year after which the figure fluctuated slightly and dropped to a low of 40 grams in 2007.

On the other hand, the consumption of low fats and reduced spreads only started in 1996 at about 10 grams. This figure, which reached a high of just over 80 grams 5 years later, fell slightly in the final years to approximately 70 grams in 2007.

Tips for Line Graphs

  1. Paraphrase the line graph information for your introduction.
  2. Put main trends and any other key features in an overall statement.
  3. Make sure each body paragraph sentence has numbers and dates to support it.
  4. Check the video lesson below to learn how to write a complex sentence for a line graph report.
  5. Practice!! Click here to get a selection of sample line graphs to practice writing for your writing task 1 preparation.

Recommended Tutorials

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Paragraphs for IELTS Writing Task 1

Learn how many paragraphs you should have in IELTS Writing Task 1 and also learn where to put your overview statement. Learn This video lesson below explains the correct way to structure your writing task 1 report for IELTS to do well in the criteria of coherence and cohesion which is 25% of your marks. If you want to see a bar chart lesson which organises information into paragraphs, follow the link after you watch the lesson below. Under the video, you will also see a link to a lesson explaining the overview paragraph. Transcript

Hello my name’s Liz. Let’s have a look at the structure you need to use for your IELTS writing task 1 report. The structure is very important, you have to organize all the information into a logical order and put them into different paragraphs this is very important and the examiner will check your structure and organization.


Now there are four main paragraphs that you need to use for task one. The first paragraph will be your introduction and that contains a description of the graph, what it shows. IELTS will always give you a  description and you can use that information for your introduction but don’t copy it. That is a mistake. You need to  paraphrase it. So write it again using your own English. The next paragraph after the introduction is the overview and the overview is a very important paragraph. It is often not too long but it contains all the key features of the graph or the chart – so the highest point, the lowest point  – all main features you put in your overview, after the introduction.

After that you’ve got the body paragraphs. And we’ve got body paragraph A, body paragraph B and this is where you put the detailed information. That will be the dates and the numbers and all the comparisons you can put that in the body paragraph. So they are the 4 main paragraphs that you need to use.

The overview statement I normally put that after the introduction because it’s important. I like the examiner to get that information out soon as he starts reading after the introduction but it is possible to also put it at the end. But make sure you don’t run out of time. That overview is very important. Well, that is the structure of your report. If you want more IELTS lessons just follow me on Facebook. That’s all I’ll see you again in another IELTS lesson. 

Video Tutorial: Organising Paragraphs for Writing Task 1


Recommended Lessons for Writing Task 1

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IELTS Diagram: Introduction and Overview

For an IELTS diagram, you need an introduction and overall paragraph containing the main features of the diagram or process in your report. The overview is one of the most important parts of your report if you are aiming for band score 6 and above. See below for an example of how to write the introduction and overview for the process shown in the picture.

The site uses images to explain objects.

Introduction and Overview

  • paraphrase the information given about the diagram for the introduction
  • choose the main stages for the overview ( eggs, water, tadpole, land, adult frogs)
Model Introduction and Overview
The diagram illustrates the different stages involved in the life of a frog. Overall, tadpoles, which emerge from eggs in the water, pass through a number of phases before going on to land and maturing into adult frogs.


Recommended Lessons

IELTS Writing Task 1: Pie Chart Model Score 9

How to compare two pie charts in IELTS writing task 1. This sample answer illustrates the method of organising the report as well as useful language and sentence structures to get a band score 9. These pie charts were reported in the IELTS test in November, 2017.

The pie charts below show the comparison of different kinds of energy production of France in two years.

ielts pie chart comparison

Pie Chart Sample Answer

The two pie charts illustrate the proportion of five types of energy production in France in 1995 and 2005. 

Overall, in both years, the most significant sources of energy  were gas and coal, which together accounted for over half the production of energy, while nuclear and other kinds of energy sources generated the least amount of energy in France. In all types of energy production there was only minimal change over the 10 year period.

Energy produced by coal comprised of 29.80% in the first year and this showed only a very slight increase of about a mere 1 % to 30.9% in 2005. Likewise, in 1995, gas generated 29.63% which rose marginally to 30.1% 10 years later.

With regards to the remaining methods of producing energy, there was an approximate 5% growth in production from both nuclear power and other sources to 10.10% and 9.10% respectively. Petrol, on the other hand, was the only source of energy which decreased in production from 29.27% in 1995 to around a fifth (19.55%) in 2005.

Pie Chart Tips

  • Always highlight the largest and smallest proportions
  • If there are two pie charts in different time periods, then you must highlight the key changes / trends
  • Use pie chart language – accounts for / comprises of / represents
  • The phrase “Units are measured in …” should be used when the units have not been stated in the previous sentence.

Recommended Lessons

How to describe an IELTS pie chart, click here
IELTS Bar Chart Model Answer
Line Graph Model Answer

See All Writing Task 1 Tips, Model Answers and Video Lessons

IELTS Writing Task 1 Diagram Structure & Organisation

You must organise your diagram into logical paragraphs for writing task 1. Most IELTS diagrams show a type of process which is divided into stages or given as a cycle.

Organisation and structure  is important for the criteria of coherence and cohesion which accounts for 25% of your marks. Look at the process below and then answer the questions.



  1. How many paragraphs would you have in your report?
  2. What information would you put in each paragraph?

1. There should be 4 paragraphs for this report.

2. You should put the following information in each paragraph:
Introduction: You need to introduce the content of the diagram (the process of the water cycle).
Overview: Put the key stages in this statement (a continual cycle of evaporation, cloud formation, rain and water returning to the sea).
For the body paragraphs, you need to describe each stage in detail using full sentences linked together. You should divide the stages into two paragraphs:
Body paragraph A: Water in the ocean, evaporation, condensing water vapour and cloud formation.
Body Paragraph B: Precipitation, rain or snow, lakes, surface run off, ground water, impervious layer and salt water intrusion. You also need to note that at the water cycle starts again as the water returns to the ocean.


Recommended Lessons

IELTS Diagram Introduction and Overview Model

IELTS Writing Task 1: Introduction Errors

Look at the graph and introduction below. Then answer the questions.



The graph give the information about the number of computer ownership by education level in two different years.

1. How many mistakes are there in the introduction above?

2. How would you write the introduction?

  1. The graph = The bar chart
  2. give = gives (s)
  3. gives the information about = don’t need “the”
  4. the number  of = the percentage / proportion of
  5. computer ownership by education level = copied from graph
  6. in two different years = should give dates

Model Introduction

The bar chart gives information about the proportion of people who owned a computer from five different levels of education in two years (2002 and 2010).