I first wrote about the general approach to the Task 1 question and the 4-paragraph structure that you should stick to. To review:
1. Introduction paragraph (paraphrase the title of the graph/chart)
2. Overview/Summary paragraph – this states the overall trends or features of the graph that are important. It clearly summarizes what the data shows.
3. Detail paragraph of first important feature/trend
4. Detail paragraph of second important feature/trend
Here, I’m going to talk about the detail paragraph.
Now, it’s important to know that you are not just describing the data. You cannot just describe what the line of a chart is doing (increasing, decreasing, etc.). You need to compare the data to other data in the graph to show some meaning to the reader.
Here’s an example:
You need to first choose two trends/features to discuss in detail. You can see in this chart that you can divide your information into two parts in a couple different ways: Birth Rates & Death Rates; or Historical rates (1900s) & Projected rates (from 2000 on). These trends should be clearly stated in your overview/summary paragraph (which is the 2nd paragraph in your essay).
Overall there was a significant rise in birth and death rates throughout the 20th century with a widening gap between high birth rates and a much lower death rate. However, by 2021 this gap will close with death rates expected to surpass birth rates in the future.
Let’s work on one detail paragraph and work on the feature from the Overview/Summary paragraph: “Overall there was a significant rise in birth and death rates throughout the 20th century with a widening gap between high birth rates and a much lower death rate.” In our detail paragraph we describe the birth rates and the death rates, mentioning peaks or major trends and in relation to each other.
From 1901 to the 1960s, birth rates rose dramatically from just over 20,000 to a peak of around 65,000 in 1961. From there, births slightly declined but remained significantly high, fluctuating above 50,000 until the end of the century. On the other hand, death rates, which was half of birth rates in 1901, maintained a very gradual and steady growth to about 27,000 by the end of the century.
Notes on what I wrote in this detail paragraph:
- I use the past tense since this is historical data (in the past)
- I don’t mention every rise and fall, just the overall general trend – noting the highest point (peak).
- I use descriptive adverbs such as dramatically and significantly, and adjectives such as gradual and steady
- I use “around”65,000 “just over” 20,000 for approximation since I do not have the actual numbers.
- I use the linking phrase “on the other hand” that indicates a contrast in the birth and death rate trends.
- I relate the death rates to the birth rates by stating it “was half” of birth rates in 1901 and that it’s growth wasn’t dramatic like birth rates, but rather, it was gradual and steady.
- I use clauses and phrases to add more information:
– relative clause to describe death rates: “which was half of birth rates in 1901″
– participial phrase to describe births: “fluctuating above 50,000 until the end of the century”
Remember to stick to your overview paragraph as your guide so that you don’t start to write about a different feature. As you only have 20 minutes to write the whole essay, don’t get stuck in writing about too many small details.
I’ll write about the second detail paragraph (4th paragraph of this essay) for this graph in a later post. Check back and stay tuned! Or subscribe to my blog to get updates on new lessons & tips.