What is an overview of IELTS Writing Task 1 (Academic) and how to write it?

Overview of IELTS Writing Task 1 (Academic)

On each IELTS Report, you must summarise the primary information in the chart. Hence, you must write an overview or a summary on each IELTS Writing Task 1. However, many IELTS Academic students unnecessarily fear writing it. Well, writing an overview can be simple if you understand why you are writing it and how to write it in brief.

In the overview paragraph, you should summarise the details from the chart. Most charts will mainly illustrate two things. One is a unique characteristic that is the feature and second is the change in the value of elements over a period, otherwise called a trend or pattern. Also, while writing this paragraph, we will not specify each detail from the chart; we should keep a few things implicit. We will be specifying these details in the body paragraph.

A sample IELTS Writing Task 1 (Academic)

You should spend 20 minutes on this task.

The bar chart below shows the average score achieved by boys and girls out of 50 in high school competency exams, by subject, during 2015-16.

Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features and make comparisons where possible.

Write at least 150 words.

bar chart below shows the average score achieved by boys and girls

Writing an overview of IELTS Writing Task 1 (Academic)

Now, let’s try and write an overview of the given task.

Writing the first sentence in an overview of IELTS Writing Task 1 (Academic)

For the given chart, there are two elements: Girls and Boys.

Subjects in which scores are high.

Girls have the highest score on the chart in the subject of computer science.

If you focus on boys’ scores in all subjects, you will notice that boys had the highest score in the subject Mathematics. In all the other subjects’ boys have scored less than 47. So, you can say the unique characteristics of Mathematics is that it has the highest score by boys.

Further, if you notice the subject of Foreign Languages, then the scores are almost the same as that in Mathematics. So, ultimately both genders had higher scores in Computer Science, Mathematics and Foreign language.

Subjects in which scores are low.

Next, observe the same chart for the subjects in which either of the genders had lower values. Girls’ poorest score is in Geography, while boys’ most inferior performance is in Chemistry.

Again, the sores of genders in History lie in between the scores of Geography and Chemistry. So, the final reading from the chart is that both the genders had lower values in the subject of Geography, History and Chemistry.

The only subject missing is the Physics subject which comparatively has a lower value than Computer science, Mathematics and Foreign Languages. So, let us add Physics to the group of categories with lower values. Now, in the group of higher value, there are three subjects and, in the group, with lower value, there are four subjects.

To summarise the information, you should mention the group with a more significant number of items indirectly. The other group, with a lesser number of items, should be used as it is. So, in the current sample group, the group with higher values should be mentioned directly, and the group with lower values should be presented using words like others or remaining.

Now, start the sentence with a word or phrase which tells the reader that the content they are about to read in the paragraph is an overview. Here I have used the word overall.

Overall it can be seen that both the genders had higher average scores in the subject of computer science, mathematics and foreign languages than the other subjects.

Writing the second sentence of IELTS Writing Task 1 (Academic)

Now let us move on to the second sentence of the overview paragraph. The role of this sentence is to give a summary of the pattern for the elements.

Notice a general pattern.

Observe the bar chart in the sample under discussion. Find out which gender had a higher score in each subject.

In the table, I have noted down subject wise which gender had a higher value than the other. This is done just for better understanding. In the actual exam, you can come up with the same observations by looking at the chart.

 

 

Boys

Girls

Physics

 

1st

Chemistry

 

1st

History

 

1st

Geography

1st

 

Mathematics

 

1st

Foreign Languages*

 

1st

Computer science

 

1st

Now, to summarise this information, you should group the observations. As you can see, girls had higher passing rates in Computer Science, Foreign Languages, Mathematics, History, Chemistry and Physics, while boys had a higher passing rate only in Geography.

So, this group with a higher number of items should be mentioned indirectly using the word almost while the subject with boys having a higher value that is geography should be discussed directly.

Don’t forget linking of sentences.

Remember the second sentence should start with a word which shows the transition. You need to tell the reader that you are moving to a new point and not continuing the previous one. In the current sample, I have used the word ‘individually’ to mark a transition.

Individually, almost in all subjects, girls had better scores than boys except in Geography.

So, the final overview paragraph may look as follows.

Overall it can be seen that both the genders had higher average scores in the subject of computer science, mathematics and foreign languages than the other subjects. Individually, almost in all subjects, girls had better scores than boys except in Geography.

Summary of writing an overview of IELTS Writing Task 1 (Academic)

  1. The learning from this part of the chapter about the overview paragraph is that we will be writing two to three sentences with each sentence, starting with an introductory phrase or a word.
  2. The first sentence will summarise features where we will compare the categories by pointing out the types with higher values and lower values.
  3. In the second sentence, we will summarise the pattern of elements in which we will point out the element with higher value in each category.

How to Write Body Paragraphs on IELTS Writing Task 1 (Academic)?

To read the next lesson,
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