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IELTS Bar Chart: Tips for a High Score

Learn how to describe an IELTS bar chart by following the tips and techniques in this video lessons. This lesson is 100% vital for all IELTS candidates doing writing task 2 academic paper in 2018.

You must learn:

  • how to write an introduction
  • how to identify key features
  • how to write an overview
  • if there is a conclusion or overview
  • how to organise the body paragraphs
  • how to write complex sentences
  • tips to avoid getting a low score
  • how to get a high score
  • bar chart model band 9

IELTS Bar Chart Tips Video Tutorial

IELTS Bar Chart Essential Tips

Below are useful tips for an IELTS bar chart.

1. Introduction Paragraph

Keep your introduction paragraph simple. Just paraphrase the information given by IELTS. It is usually just one sentence. It is possible to also comment on the units of measurement in the chart “Units are measured in …”.

2. The overview

Look at your bar chart and choose the key features. These might be highs, lows, main differences etc. Collect them together and present them in an overview. To learn more about the overview / conclusion debate, please see my IELTS Overview Video Lesson. You must remember that the examiner is looking for the overview and it is an essential part of your Task Achievement mark. That criterion is 25% of your marks.

3. Body Paragraphs

Make sure you have more than one body paragraph. The usual is two body paragraph. Decide how you will divide the information in the bar chart into difference body paragraphs. You must organise your paragraphs into a logical order.

4. Support Sentences with Data

Your body paragraphs must have numbers to support them. If you fail to have numbers with your sentences in the body paragraphs, you might get only band 5 in Task Achievement. To learn useful vocabulary for using data accurately, see my lesson: IELTS Vocabulary: Accurate Data.

5. Complex Sentences

You must write your task 1 using a range of complex sentences. You must learn these sentence structures. The best way is from model answers: IELTS Writing Task 1 Model Answers.

6. Linking devices

You should use a range of linking devices. For example, while / whereas / as opposed to / compared to / in comparison with. All these will help you get a higher score in Coherence and Cohesion which is 25% of your marks. Make sure you use them correctly.

7. Assessment Criteria

Learn more about what the examiner wants to see in your writing. You must understand the requirements for the band score you are aiming for. See this page to learn about IELTS Writing Task 1 Band Scores 5 to 8 Explained.


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  1. http://Iewan says

    You are very good teacher. I see your video and i can improve my writing task 1. So clear and help. May God Bless you sister liz.

    From Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

  2. http://Tatiana says

    Hi , Liz
    My name is Tatiana. I’m so grateful with your videos and lessons . I love your approach to us. I can understand you clearly. Just I would like to ask something in your tutorial video about bar chart , you talked about units, just I would like to know if my information from Ielst is on past tense, I would need to put ” units were measured in ….” Thank you so much. You are so nice …

    • http://Liz says

      That information is always in the present tense because it refers to the chart sitting before you on the paper at the present time.

  3. http://mohammad%20javad%20sharghi says

    Hello my teacher,
    I just want to appreciate your caring.
    with best regards
    a student from Iran

  4. http://Kajal says

    Hello mam,
    In academic writing task you mentation that we put information in bracket. So, i won to know examinar counts that words?

  5. http://Khalid%20Adam says

    Is the examiner going to score handwriting??
    I have a VERY BAD handwriting

    • http://Liz says

      If the examiner can’t read it, you will get a low score. If the examiner can read it, it’s fine.

  6. http://Kristel%20Gatchalian says

    Liz, you’re so nice to share this information to everyone! You will be blessed 🙂

  7. Hello liz!
    what should we write after an overview? we summarize all the key features in overview.
    then what we suppose to write in body paragraphs A and B?

  8. http://zeeshan%20afridi says

    maam your style of teaching is very good and helpfull…i have my ielts test next months. i m sure that i will learn alot from your online classes.

  9. Hey Liz, I have a question of bar chart below,

    54% of the older age group find learning to speak the local language the most problematic. In comparison, the youngest age group finds this easier, and the percentage who have problems learning the language is much lower, at 29%.

    Above content is from a book of Cambridge English. The bar chart has 3 groups (people aged 18-34, 35-54, and over 55), and 3 abilities (learn language is one of three).

    This paragraph only included two groups (oldest 54%, youngest 29%), but did not mention the other group (middle age 35%) at all.

    My question is:
    Do we need to write all data of the 3 groups? If we don’t write all, will we lose marks?

    • http://Liz says

      You are marked on selecting data. This means if there is a lot of data, you will choose what to put in. If your task 1 has little data, you will probably include it all in order to reach 150 words (plus). Your choices are being tested in both writing task 1 and writing task 2. This means that the IELTS writing test is not only language based – it is also skills based.

  10. http://dewg says

    Plz reply what should I do if there are two things like bar graph and line graph or table and pie chart in task 1.Should I write one overall for both or separate for each?how should I explain it.?

  11. http://Serena says

    Hi Liz,
    You have emphasized that writing an overview is crucial for a writing 1 task and I have been following this writing structure when I practice. However, I joined a british council course recently and my teacher mentioned that only one sentence in the introduction highlighting the key features is needed followed by 2 body paragraphs. He didn’t recommend us to write overviews. Is it essential to write an overview? I am very confused right now.
    Thank you for your guidance! Your website is incredibly helpful!

  12. http://AZUCENA%20BARTE%20II says

    Good day Mam Liz!I’ve been following all your tips & exercises for the past few weeks & thank you so much for all these informations!I know God will bless you more for your super kindness! Just like to inquire if you have model answer for wrting task 1, flowchart ( step by step description)? thanks again!

    Tetet from the Philippines

  13. http://Ali%20Helmi says

    Thank you so much Liz, this is an amazing work, well done dear.
    Ali Helmi,
    Cairo, Egypt

  14. http://Abdel%20Fattah%20Al%20nagar says

    I really enjoyed your way of teaching and your constant smile as well . You are a miracle.
    Thank you Liz

  15. http://Manasseh%20S%20Pablo says

    Thank you very much Liz! I don’t think I need to enroll in a review class because what you teach is more than enough!

  16. http://Van%20Cam says

    Thank you so much Liz, you are amazing! It’s so clear to understand and easy to remember!

  17. http://Shahram%20Ali says

    Data written in brackets wil be taken in counting words

  18. http://Aravind%20U says

    Hi madam,
    Thank you. I found it very helpful. Thanks a lot

  19. http://jassa says

    Hey liz you are doing the tremendous work

  20. http://Mohamed says

    Hi Liz,
    Thanks a lot for what you present. that was great to be taught with a tutor like you.

  21. http://Madeeha says

    Hi Liz,
    Is writing task same for academic and general training test. If not, can you please share some details about general training writing task 1&2

  22. http://Marco says

    Hello Liz! Is in writing task 1 more common to get only a bar chart or a graph, or are they often associated with something else such as a table?

  23. http://Anya says

    Hi Ms. Liz,
    I’m a bit confused because am not placing conclusion for task 1 but my mentor told me that i should put one yet i’ve given an overview. I just want to clarify.
    Thank you

  24. http://Maria%20Christa says

    Dear Liz,
    what if i given a bar chart that have more than 6 categories? should i write them all?

  25. http://Orkun%20Kumral says

    Dear Liz,

    In the introduction part, could we use past tense to describe the chart? The chart datas given in the past (2010)
    For example,

    First sentecence; The chart illustrated….
    Second sentence; Units were measered…


    • http://Liz says

      The introduction is written in the present because it relates to what is on your paper at that moment.

  26. http://sajawalkhan says

    hello liz,
    cant we use word disbursement for expenditure?

  27. http://zeynep%20kucukkirali says

    hello,It was quite helpful but just I wonder why you wrote the overall before than main body? could you explain the reason.

    thank you Liz


  28. http://Camila%20Buitrago says

    Dear Liz, I really want to thank you, your lessons are clear and effective. You have helped me a lot 😀

  29. Hi Teacher Liz,
    With due respect I would like to share my sentiments on your efforts. Madam ,You have shown a great sense of humanity and generosity while putting your lectures on IELTS for free for the whole world. I respect your teaching way and presents many thanks to your human way of help. Your style is paramount and easy to understand. Your lectures are helping me the lot. Thank you once again Mam.

    • http://Liz says

      It makes me very happy to know that my work is helping students 🙂 Thanks for your support!
      All the best

  30. http://ayaz says

    hi Liz,
    thank you for useful tips.
    is it necessary to write conclusion at the end of chart??

  31. http://Mazen says

    By the way, you’re so sweet 🙂 and that’s also to say that your teaching style ROCKS! I wish I can have lessons in your classroom 🙂


  32. http://oxzeria%20mushonga says

    how about if you are given 2 bar graphs

  33. http://Trang says

    should i write: ” Brazil saw an upward trend in the the number of car users”
    or ” The number of car users in Brazil saw an upward trend”

  34. Mis Liz,
    Shouldn’t it be
    “The expenditure on books in the UK was higher than that of in France.”
    in the third line of the first body paragraph?

  35. http://Anel says

    Hello, Liz!
    Your site is very useful! I’ve got a question: is ‘whilst’ has the same meaning as ‘while’ and is it okay to use it in IELTS writing?

  36. http://Diane%20D says

    Hi Liz,

    Your website is very informative. Keep it up!
    Thank you for making this website very useful.


  37. http://Barreto says

    Hi Liz,
    Thank you again for sharing your videos with us. They have been very helpful.
    My questions are:
    1. Can I use the word “graph” for bar and pie charts as well? or only for line.
    2. Can I use the word “chart” for line? or only for pie and bar?

  38. Hi Liz,

    I have a question.Can the overview paragraph be at the last one ?Or does it have to come second,as in your video?
    Thank you so much, I’ve found your video to be very useful.

    • It can be at the end. Please see the video lesson about the structure and paragraphs for writing task 1.
      All the best

  39. http://JOHNNY%20REY%20FUNA says

    Thank you so much. I learned a lot.

  40. http://Palak says

    Hi Liz,

    My name is Palak and have recently registered my id with this site. I had my result today. Unfortunately I could not get 7 bands for writing as I missed by 0.5. I am thinking to reappear for test soon after some good practice. I came across this site very recently and and I am very much thankful for all great information and tutorials that can be access through this site. I was wondering would you able to review my couple of essays if I could post them to you?

  41. http://Dr.Saqib%20Ali says

    hello liz!
    i have to ask about units. For example, if it is showing the percentages then how we can describe that? Is it right to describe as;
    “units are given in percentages”

    • http://Liz says

      You don’t need to give the units unless they are particular interesting or unusual. If it is just percentage, it is usually mentioned in the introduction anyway “the graph illustrates the percentage of…”

  42. http://Mohamad says

    Should we also write the Overview when it is a Line Graph?

    • http://Liz says

      All writing task 1 (academic) have an overview. See my model answers on the writing task 1 page.
      All the best

  43. http://Sagar says

    Hi Liz,
    Firstly I would like to thank you for guiding all of us!!! I have recently appeared for My IELTS in Sri Lanka. In writing Part 1, we had a table to describe.. The table was actually a combination of two tables one which was having information about trends in the population growth in 4 regions from 1950 to 2000. The other was the predicted population in next 50 years i.e. from year 2000 to 2050..
    I was finding it difficult to judge whether I should write the whole description in past tense..Eventually I did describe the table in the past tense..I used sentences such as ‘ The predicted / expected population by the year 2050 was …. millions’ …Is it write to form such sentences or should I have described it in any other way?

    • http://Liz says

      Charts or tables that span from past to future are tricky. You need to write “The population was 26 million in 2005 and is expected to reach 30 million by 2050″. That means you use the past to refer to the past and the future to refer to the future. Also don’t forget that “30 million” has no “s”.
      All the best

  44. http://kajal says

    hii mam!! thanks lot for your guidance ..its really very usefull..but i want to know that word written in brackets are being counted or not?

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