IELTS Academic Writing Task 1: Bar chart / snapshot

IELTS bar chart

In our last post, we looked at a ‘change over time‘ Academic Task 1. Here, we look at a ‘snapshot’ bar chart type question from Cambridge IELTS Book 12.


This kind of task requires you to describe, compare and contrast data from one particular year (2010). An easy way to start is to look for similarities and differences.


Have a look for yourself first:


IELTS bar chart sample
from Cambridge IELTS 12 (CUP and UCLES 2017)


In this particular bar chart, we’re looking at the percentage of Australian women and men who did regular physical activity in 2010. You’ll notice that the figures for women in almost all age groups are higher than those for men. However, the youngest and oldest age groups deviate from this. We should make all this clear in our writing.

Remember also to include ‘data’ in the response. In this case, we should support our statements with percentages.

Here’s a paragraph plan and the full writing task:


Introduction: Reword the rubric.

Overview: Describe the overall differences 1. Women more active than men between 35 and 65. 2. Men more active than women between 15-24 years old. 3. Not much difference in the oldest age group.

Key features 1: 25 to 64 age groups (higher % of women who did regular activity)

Key features 2: 15-24 age group (opposite trend) and 65+ age group (similar %)


Sample task:

The bar chart compares the proportion of Australian males and females of different ages who exercised regularly in 2010.

Overall, it is clear that more women than men did regular physical activity in general, particularly between the ages of 35 and 64. The 15-24 year-old group was the only one in which men were more active than women while in the oldest age bracket, there was little difference between the genders.

Over half of the women aged between 35 and 64 did regular activity in the given year compared to much lower figures among the men. Only 39.5% of men between 35 and 44 worked out regularly, the lowest figure on the chart. The most active group was women aged 45 to 54 with 53.3% doing physical activity on a regular basis. There was also a significant difference in the figures for men and women aged 25-34 though females still outperformed their male counterparts.

Looking at the youngest group presented, the trend was markedly different with 52.8% of men doing regular activity and only 47.7% of women. Meanwhile, this figure was almost the same for women and men over 65 (47.1% and 46.7% respectively.)


194 words

Written by a Bayside IELTS expert, Melbourne


Want to see how to write a ‘change over time’ task 1? Check out our guided practice video.

Want to write with us face-to-face? Join our IELTS course here in Melbourne or contact us for more info about our study options.

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