Writing Task 1 | Pie Charts Series

IELTS Lessons, written by Sam Morgan and Tom Speed

We will begin our pie chart task lessons with an analysis of an example pie chart task and a look at important vocabulary. In this lesson we will…
  • analyze data in pie charts.
  • think about the structure of an academic task 1 essay.
  • complete a model band 9 text.
  • study some useful vocabulary for dealing with this type of task.
Read the information below and study the two pie charts.
The pie charts show the spending habits of people in the UK in 1971 and 2001.
Summarize the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and making comparisons where relevant

Exercise 1

​The following true and false questions will help you to structure your essay and pick out the trends and details which you need to include.

Look at the charts and answer true or false (15 Questions)

Exercise 2

Here we have a model band 9 answer to the task above, but we must complete it by filling in the gaps. Select a word from the box, then select a gap to place it inside. 
Notice the structure in the sample task answer above. Paragraph 1 begins with a paraphrase of the original task description and finishes with a brief overview. Paragraph 2 talks about spending increases and paragraph 3 talks about spending drops. It is important that you spend time at the start of the test to decide how you will logically separate paragraphs 2 and 3. 

Now it is time for you to try your own task. Remember to keep to 20 minutes to do this, and check your word count is above 150.

Exercise 3

The pie charts show the nationality of foreign students on a business course at a university in the UK in 1991 and 2011.

Summarize the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and making comparisons where relevant.
Write 150 words.
Compare your answer to our model below. Do you use a similar range of vocabulary? Are your grammatical structures similar to ours, especially regarding percentages? Do you have a similar 3 paragraph structure? If it is different, why is it different? (Make sure you have a logical answer for this question.)
Model Answer

The data illustrates the proportion of foreign students from six countries on a business course in Britain in 1991 and 2011. In both years, France was the country which contributed the most students, however, in 2011 the percentage of Indian and Nigerian students had increased significantly.

In 1991, the majority of foreign students on the course came from France at 51%. However, by 2011 this had fallen by 20% to 31%. Similarly, the proportion of Italian students taking the course fell significantly. In fact, the proportion nearly halved from 22% in 1991 to 11% in 2011.

The proportion of students from the other four countries increased. The most noticeable increases were in the proportion of Indian students, from 14% to 26% and Nigerian students from 2%, which was the lowest proportion contributed by any country, to 19%. Interestingly, the proportion of foreign students on the course from Sweden and Saudi Arabia increased by the same amount from 6% to 7% and 5% to 6% respectively.

(165 words)


  • Notice:
    The writer groups the data so that the first body paragraph deals with decreases in the proportion of students and the second body paragraph deals with increases.
  • The writer doesn’t try and guess why the changes in the data occurred. this increases task achievement because in this type of task you should only describe, compare and contrast the data that is provided.
Now that we have seen what a pie chart task looks like, in the next lesson we will look in more detail at how to pick out data and use vocabulary accurately.