Writing Task 1 | Bar Charts Series

IELTS Lessons, written by Sam Morgan and Tom Speed

In order to get a good Task Achievement band score, you must be able to identify the main features of a graph and write about them accurately.

Read the question and study the bar charts below.

The bar charts show the number of foreign students enrolled on two music production courses at a college in Scotland.

Summarize the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and making comparisons where relevant.

​Interactive Activity | Identify the main features

To fully answer the task, we see that we must report the main features. Let's try this now. ​Write the correct answer in the gap. Remember to use capital letters where necessary.

1. More students are enrolled from than any other country.
2. The least number of students is enrolled from .
3. The profiles of students from Finland and are roughly similar.
4. More female than overseas students are enrolled on the courses.
5. The country with the most female students enrolled is .
6. More than students are enrolled in MT1 from every country except .
7. Overall, more male students are enrolled on the course.
8. The majority of female students are enrolled on the course.
9. No Turkish are taking the course.
​​Now you have analyzed the main features, write a 150-word report about the data.

Think about what we have learned:

  • The introduction should begin with a paraphrase and an overview.
  • Don’t include specific data in the overview.
  • Divide the data into two logical body paragraphs.
  • Include the main features of the bar charts in your body paragraphs, but avoid repeating what you have already stated in your overview.
  • Use complex noun phrases to boost your grammar score.

Compare your model answer to ours. What do you think you did well. What needs improving?

Model Answer

The graphs reveal the number and gender of foreign students taking two courses in Scotland. Overall, Switzerland contributes the largest number of students and while more male students take MP1, more female students take MT1.

On MP1, 7 of the 9 Swiss students are male while only two are female. The same trend can be seen with Portuguese, Finnish and Belgium students with 6 male and 1 female, 4 male and 2 female, and 3 male and 1 female student respectively. Only with the Turkish students, who make up the smallest group, is the trend reversed with 3 female and only 1 male student on the course.

The vast majority of foreign students on MT1 are female. More students come from Switzerland than other nations with 7 Swiss females and 1 Swiss male. Belgium and Finland also contribute 1 male student to the course each and 7 and 6 female students respectively. From Portugal, there are 2 male students, double the contribution of other countries, and 3 female students. Only 1 Turkish male and no females are enrolled on the course.

181 words



  • The writer clearly states the topic of the data and the main features and trends of the data in the introduction
  • Each body paragraph begins with a general topic sentence. The writer then provides data to support the topic sentence.
  • The writer compares and contrasts the data in the two bar charts.