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

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  1. Hello Liz,

    I noticed one more key feature that should be in the overview: more money was totally spent in 2010 compared to the other two years. Is that correct?

  2. Bhavika says:

    The bar chart illustrates the amount of money spent by British household on expenses like utility bills, transport, rent, entertainment and groceries per month for 3 years. Units are measured in pounds sterling.
    Overall, the cost of living expense is seeing an increasing trend in totality except for entertainment expense. Rent and grocery are the major two expenditure of a British household in comparison to other expenses.
    In a span of 30 years significant increase in expenses like rent , utility bill and transport is seen. Rent saw consistent rising trend about L450 in 1990 to above L500 in 2000 and finally reached L600 in 2010. Furthermore, the utility bill expense in first two years were more or less the same(little below L100) but shot more than L150 in a span of 10 years. The transport expense in year 1990 was little over L150 then it flung to slightly below 250 and then the increase was gradual (approx. 250 in 2010)
    The expenses like entertainment and groceries were more or less the same over the years. As seen entertainment ranged from approx. L120 to L100 a downward trend as compared to groceries ranging from little above L300 to L340 showing an upward trend over the years.


    • simran singh says:

      you are using present sentence form (is, are) in the second body paragraph, which is wrong i guess, it should be written in past because survey was already conducted.

  3. Thank you so much Liz for your useful information

  4. You writing task 1&2 practices and lessons are very helpful!

  5. Bharat Chhabra says:

    Hi liz,

    I just went through your different links of writing task 1.
    In every writing task that you have written, conclusion comes just after the introduction,but the ielts book which is authenticated by the cambridge and the ielts have the conclusion part at the end of the every task.I’m just concerned about this,why so?

    Regards Bharat

  6. nixon dominic says:

    Can we write all listening answers in capital letter

  7. Is that enough for writing task 1? I mean we have to write at least 150 words for task 1 but there are around 100 words.

    • This lesson shows the introduction and overview. It doesn’t not give body paragraphs. See my model answers for full writing task 1 reports.

  8. why groceries not included to overview?

  9. Hi dear liz
    Can I write (the chart illustrate the medium monthly disbursement. …etc)

  10. Hi,
    Thanks for your valuable informations.
    Here I would like to ask you about the last sentences is correct or not, because on your explanation states that “little changes in the amount spend on the other two items”. But there are other three items (transport, entertainment and groceries).
    Am I right or not?

  11. can we write atypical British family instead of household

  12. Hello dear Liz,
    Can you show us how to discraib 2 charts or 2 lines, because I have seen them many times.

    Thank you,

  13. thank liz . I just want to know how to make sure that my grammar are correct .

    • I can only suggest that you find an English teacher to correct your writing. Unfortunately, I don’t offer that service.

  14. I wanted to ask if it is right to use “while” in number 6. Thanks

  15. Hi dear Liz! Thank you for useful source of information! I have a question. What will happen if I do not write overview for task 1? Instead can I just give general information after introduction and continue to write bodies?

  16. abhishek says:

    mam some suggest to write conclusion for task it necessary?
    what conclusion should contain?

  17. abhishek says:

    hello mam ,
    thank you so much for your guidance.
    can we write the approx value in brackets like for example(around $10)

  18. Hello Liz,

    Is it necessary to follow the pattern laid out in the overview paragraph and expand on that in the body paragraphs. For instance you have mentioned the amount of money spent on rent, utility and transport increased significantly or can we group rent, groceries and transport together in one body paragraph.


    • The overview contains all key features. The body contains the detail. While you might mention some categorise in the overview, there are still not figures given – all those go in the body paragraphs. Please see my lessons and models in the writing task 1 section to understand more.
      All the best

  19. Hi Liz

    Thank you so much for everything you have done in here!
    It helps me a lot!
    Thanks again!

  20. baharan says:

    thank you so much …….I keep reading these lessons regularly …..

  21. Hi,

    From the chart we can see that spending on utility bills increased from about £80 to about £150 which is about double. Transport rose from around £175 to approximately £250 and rent went up by £150 to £600. On the other hand, little change was seen in entertainment and groceries (a maximum of around £20). So, from this information, I grouped utilities, transport and rent together because they showed significant increases and I grouped entertainment and groceries together because they showed little change.
    I hope that helps. Let me know if it’s still not clear.
    All the best

  22. Thanks for the lectures. So you are invariably saying that the era of stating the x-axis represents and Y-axis represent should be discarded.

    • Yes, it’s complete unnecessary. Introduce the categories and the units – no need to explain which axis they are on.

  23. Aaaah …I got it! Numbers represent gaps where we should write answers and not the beginning of the sentences.

  24. May I ask, please? Shouldn’t “Units are 4. …………………. in pounds sterling.”
    be “4.Units are. …………………. in pounds sterling.? I was searching for some “4” units and didn’t find anything.
    Thank you.:-)

    • If you look at the chart, you will see that along the bottom (the horizontal axis) there are categories on what people spent money on and along the side (vertical axis) you will see how the numbers are calculated – these are the units. So for number 4, you need to write in a verb “Units are …………… in pounds sterling”. (it’s passive voice).

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