Band 9 Reports: Pie Charts – Energy Production

ielts-pie-chart-comparison

The pie charts above show a comparison of kinds of energy production in a European country in 1995 and 2005.

PLAN –

  1. Paraphrase the given sentence to make your introduction. Do NOT copy it.
  2. Identify the main points and use these to write your overview. Remember the overview is a MUST to get above a band score of 5. Normally you can write about the obvious similarities and differences between the two charts or about the biggest and smallest sectors.
  3. Compare the two charts using a range of vocabulary.
  4. Try to organise your body in a clear way. A good way to do this is to compare biggest to biggest then smallest to smallest OR similarities to similarities and differences to differences. In this example, you are comparing the changes between two different times, so you should write about what changed and what stayed the same.

 

ielts-pie-chart-comparison

INTRODUCTION –

Paraphrase the following. Words you can paraphrase are in bold.

The pie charts above show a comparison of kinds of energy production in a European country in 1995 and 2005.

Sample – “The pie charts compare the changes in the ways that energy was generated in a country in Europe between 1995 and 2005.”

OVERVIEW –

Look for the biggest, smallest, similarities and differences. We can see that gas and coal were the biggest in both years and were largely unchanged. Petroleum was at about the same level as oil and gas in 1995 but had decreased significantly by 2005, while nuclear and other increased.

Sample – “In both years, gas and oil were the major sources of energy. Moreover, the use of nuclear and other energy sources rose, while the use of petroleum,which had been comparable to gas and coal in 1995, fell sharply.”

ielts-pie-chart-comparison

BODY –

  1. Your body paragraphs are to make your overview clearer. Use some specific data from the charts to show what you have stated in your overview.
  2. Try to write two paragraphs with clear organisation. In this example, we can have one paragraph for the biggest ones (gas, coal, and petroleum) and we can compare how they changed by 2005 (two the same, one less). Then we can have another paragraph for the rest.

Sample – “In 1995, coal and gas accounted for almost the same amount of energy production at 29.80% and 29.63% respectively. By 2005, the figures for both had increased very slightly to 30.93% for coal and 30.31% for gas. Furthermore, although petroleum was used at approximately the same amount as oil and gas in 1995 (29.27%), its use had fallen considerably to just under one-fifth of total energy production by 2005.

On the other hand, the use of nuclear power climbed substantially from 6.40% to just over 10%. Similarly, the use of other energy sources also saw noticeable growth, rising from 4.90% to 9.10%” (161 words)

GENERAL POINTS –

  1. Use a range of vocabulary (try to avoid repetition). Look at the words in bold for examples.
  2. Try to use different grammatical structures. In this example, simple past and past perfect tense is used. Also, try to mix verb-adverb with adjective-noun e.g. “climbed substantially” vs. “noticeable growth”.
  3. Link your different points with a range of appropriate vocabulary. In this example, “Moreover…”, “On the other hand…”, “Similarly…”, and “By 2005…” are used.
  4. Try to use some appropriate pie chart vocabulary like “accounted for” (or “made up”, “comprised” etc.)

FULL ANSWER –

The pie charts compare the changes in the ways that energy was generated in a country in Europe between 1995 and 2005.

In both years, gas and oil were the major sources of energy. Moreover, the use of nuclear and other energy sources rose, while the use of petroleum, which had been comparable to gas and coal in 1995, fell sharply.

In 1995, coal and gas accounted for almost the same amount of energy production at 29.80% and 29.63% respectively. By 2005, the figures for both had increased very slightly to 30.93% for coal and 30.31% for gas. Furthermore, although petroleum was used at approximately the same amount as oil and gas in 1995 (29.27%), its use had fallen considerably to just under one-fifth of total energy production by 2005.

On the other hand, the use of nuclear power climbed substantially from 6.40% to just over 10%. Similarly, the use of other energy sources also saw noticeable growth, rising from 4.90% to 9.10%

ielts-pie-chart-comparison

 

 

More vocabulary and samples for Band 9 Speaking and Writing

Band 9 Speaking: Part 1 – Gifts

gifts-1

Do you like giving or receiving gifts?

Sample 1 – “I like being given something. It’s exciting to unwrap a present and see what it is. Also it shows that someone cares about you. Or maybe it just means that they want something in return!”

Sample 2 – “I prefer to give rather than receive. I love the look on someone’s face when they open a present. I also like to make things for people. I think it’s more meaningful than just buying something in a store.”

Sample 3 – “I like both. It’s nice to get something, especially something that you want, or if the gift is from someone that you like. But, I really like to give people things as well. It doesn’t have to be anything big or cost a lot of money. I just really like to see their reaction when they open it.”

COMMENTS –

  1. There is no right or wrong answer in speaking. As long as you can say something clear and try to speak for a few sentences, you can get a good mark. In the first example, the person likes to receive gifts, in the second example they like to give gifts, and in the third example they like both.
  2. Try to use some different structures when answering the question. In the first example, instead of saying “I like receiving gifts” (the same as the question), the answer is “I like to be given something”.

 

gifts-3

What kind of gifts do you prefer?

Sample 1 – “I like to get things that I can use – I mean things that are practical. It might be kind of boring, but I like to get things like socks and underwear because I always need those and I don’t like shopping for those things!”

Sample 2 – “I really appreciate something that I know the person giving it to me has put in a lot of thought into it. Maybe they remembered something that I mentioned liking and then a long time after that they see something like it and buy it more me. The cost doesn’t matter. It’s the thought that counts.”

COMMENTS –

  1. Try to explain your main points to make them clear (you can even repeat and clarify your idea using different language). In the first example “things that I can use” is made clearer by saying “things that are practical”.
  2. Try to use some natural language and common expressions. In the second example, the expression “It’s the thought that counts” is used.

gifts-2

 

 

Band 9 Reports: Bar Charts – House Prices

The chart below shows information about average house prices in five different cities between 1990 and 2002 compared with average house prices in 1989.

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

bar-chart-house-prices

PLAN –

  1. Your report should contain: (a) an introduction (b) an overview (c) two body paragraphs (d) a brief conclusion (optional as it will be similar to your overview)
  2. The overview is the MOST important part. If you don’t have an overview (you just list the data), you will NOT get above a band score of 5!
  3. You can divide the chart into two parts (1990-1995 and 1996-2002) and use these two parts as the basis for your body paragraphs.
  4. Make sure you “make comparisons where relevant”. Compare the house prices to 1989 levels as well as compare the two periods shown in the chart.
  5. You must report “the main features”, but you only have to write 150-200 words, so keep it simple! Focus on major differences and similarities.

Introduction –

Paraphrase the title -The chart below shows information about average house prices in five different cities between 1990 and 2002 compared with average house prices in 1989.

Sample – “The chart provides data about the average price of a house in five selected cities over the period from 1990 to 2002 in comparison with the respective average prices in 1989.

NOTES -1. If you can’t think of a synonym, then just change the structure. In this example, “average house prices” has been changed to “the average price of a house” 2. You can always change a phrase like “shows information” to “provides data” so LEARN these synonyms and use them for ANY Task 1 question.

Overview –

The overview is a summary of the main points. You do NOT need to use specific data. When we look at the chart, we can see that house prices generally fell in the first period (compared to 1989) and generally rose in the second period. This is your overview!

Sample – “Overall, average house prices fell significantly in three out of the five cities in the first period shown in the chart and only climbed slightly in the remaining two. However, from 1996 house prices saw much stronger growth.”

NOTES – 1. Use a range of vocabulary to describe the data. Make sure you say what (e.g. “fell”) and how (e.g. “significantly”). 2. Use a range of structures e.g. verb + adverb (“climbed slightly”) and adjective + noun (“stronger growth”)

Body –

Now it’s time to include some specific data to support the features you have identified in the overview. Aim for two paragraphs.

Sample – “House prices fell between 5 and 8 percent compared with 1989 in New York, Tokyo and London, with the largest drop being in the latter two cities.  On the other hand, prices in Frankfurt grew by about 2 percent and by a little less in Madrid.”

bar-chart-house-prices

“However, between 1996 and 2000, the average price in London was a huge 12 percent higher than the 1989 average. Similarly, prices in New York were also considerably higher at 5 percent greater than the 1989 figure. Moreover, Madrid’s house price average was approximately 4 percent more than the 1989 level, more than double the increase between 1990 and 1995. Prices in Tokyo were still lower than the 1989 average, but were 3 percent higher than the 1990-1995 level. Finally, while average house prices in Frankfurt remained greater than in 1989, they were a little lower than the increase between 1990 and 1995.”

NOTES – 1. Link sentences with a range of appropriate words and phrases. In this example, “On the other hand…”, “However…”, “Similarly…”, “Moreover…”, “Finally…” 2. Remember that every point you make should be a comparison or something that supports your overview.

bar-chart-house-prices

FULL ANSWER (BAND 9)

The chart provides data about the average price of a house in five selected cities over the period from 1990 to 2002 in comparison with the respective average prices in 1989.

Overall, average house prices fell significantly in three out of the five cities in the first period shown in the chart and only climbed slightly in the remaining two. However, from 1996 house prices saw much stronger growth.

House prices fell between 5 and 8 percent compared with 1989 in New York, Tokyo and London, with the largest drop being in the latter two cities.  On the other hand, prices in Frankfurt grew by about 2 percent and by a little less in Madrid.

However, between 1996 and 2000, the average price in London was a huge 12 percent higher than the 1989 average. Similarly, prices in New York were also considerably higher at 5 percent greater than the 1989 figure. Moreover, Madrid’s house price average was approximately 4 percent more than the 1989 level, more than double the increase between 1990 and 1995. Prices in Tokyo were still lower than the 1989 average, but were 3 percent higher than the 1990-1995 level. Finally, while average house prices in Frankfurt remained greater than in 1989, they were a little lower than the increase between 1990 and 1995. (218 words)

GENERAL TIP (IMPORTANT!!!)

When you read a (good) report, you should be able to picture what the chart looks like. Can you draw the chart based on the information in the report? If the answer is “YES”, then you have written a good report.

 

 

Band 9 Essays: Writing Introductions – Fat Kids

 

child-obesity

Nowadays more and more children acquire unhealthy eating habits. Why is it happening? What can be done to solve this issue?

  1. Identify the TYPE of essay. This essay is asking to identify some causes (“Why is this happening”), and then offer some solutions (“What can be done to solve this issue?”)
  2. For an IELTS-length essay (250-350 words) you should only write 2-3 sentences for an introduction.
  3. You MUST mention the topic and state the type of essay you will be writing (Opinion, Discuss Both Sides, or Problem and Solutions)
  4. You MUST paraphrase the topic. If you just COPY it you will not get a good mark and the words will NOT count towards the total word count. In this example, try to think of synonyms for “nowadays”, “more and more”, “unhealthy eating habits”, “acquire”, “solve”, and “issue”. If you can’t think of any synonyms, try to change the structure.
  5. You can mention some of the reasons in your introduction (see Example 3) and then use the second sentence to mention the need for solutions.

Lu Zhihao kicks a ball at a basketball court in Foshan

Example 1 –

In the modern world, there is an increasing number of children who are developing harmful eating habits. This phenomenon has come about because of several factors, but there are some strategies that can be put in place to address this alarming problem.”

Example 2 –

“As the number of obese children continues to grow due to the rise in deleterious diets, it is necessary to take action to halt this severe problem. This essay will attempt to highlight some of the reasons for the growth in the harmful eating habits of children and also provide some measures that can be adopted to deal with them.

Example 3 –

“With the low price of calorie-rich foods like fast food and soft drinks and the rapid pace of life in modern societies, the proportion of children with toxic ways of eating has risen dramatically. As a result, it is necessary to find some ways to tackle this situation before it becomes even more problematic.

child-obesity-2

Band 9 Speaking: Part 3 – Roads

roads-2

Do people like to complain about the narrow roads in your country?

“For sure. People complain all the time. The roads, especially in the older parts of big cities are often extremely congested. But, in my opinion, people make the situation much worse by not following the traffic rules, which cause even more traffic jams. They think that they have the right to go through a red light or drive the wrong way down the road, which makes the situation worse for everyone. I don’t know why. I guess they must think they’re very important.”

roads

Do you think nowadays people are more attracted to cars than to other types of vehicles? Why?

“I think it’s true. In my country, the weather is often very hot and there is severe air pollution, so a car is way to kind of shelter yourself from the these things. Also, many people are very materialistic. By that I mean, cars are seen as a status symbol, so if you own a car you must be more successful or “better”.

roads-1

Can transportation affect the environment?

“Without doubt. In fact, cars – and other vehicles – are one of the main causes of air pollution, along with industry. Vehicles release a lot of harmful emissions, like carbon dioxide that poison the air and cause lots of health and other problems. Also, the standards for vehicles are quite low, so ones that cause a lot of pollution are allowed to be sold, even though they are banned in other countries.”

COMMENTS –

  1. Try to use some topic-specific words. In these examples, terms like “congested”, “harmful emissions” and “carbon dioxide” have been used.
  2. Try to use some other advanced vocabulary to show your range. In the second example, the terms “status symbol” and “materialistic” have been used.
  3. Make your main point/opinion clear before you explain. In these examples, the main ideas are “For sure”, “I think it’s true”, and “Without doubt”.
  4. Explain your points with linking phrases. In the second example, the phrase “By that I mean…” has been used.

Band 9 Speaking: Part 1 – Chocolate

chocolate-1

 

Do you like chocolate?

“Sure. I don’t think there are many people who don’t like chocolate. I don’t really have a sweet tooth, but I still like to have it sometimes. It has to be good quality stuff though. Some cheap chocolate tastes terrible.”

Do you often eat chocolate?

“Um, not very often. I know some people find it hard to resist buying chocolate every time they go to the supermarket, but for me, I’ll only buy it when I get a craving. Maybe once or twice a month. I love really dark chocolate that has a slightly bitter taste.”

chocolate-2

Is chocolate popular in your country?

“Definitely. I don’t know any country where chocolate isn’t popular. People in my country eat chocolate a lot, I guess. Some of it is cheap and not that good, but there is some amazing imported chocolate, although it is quite expensive.”

COMMENTS –

  1. Always try to say more than one sentence for Part 1. 2-4 sentences is best, depending on their length and complexity.
  2. Try to use some idioms or other natural language. In the first example, the term “sweet tooth” has been used to describe someone who loves sweet food.
  3. Try to use some other advanced vocabulary to show your range. In the above examples, “craving” and “imported” have been used.
  4. Try to use some topic-specific vocabulary. In these examples, the general topic is “Food”, so the phrase “slightly bitter taste” has been used.
  5. You can give a simple [one word] response before you give more details. This can make your speaking sound natural. In the above examples, “Sure” and “Definitely” have been used.

https://www.facebook.com/ieltsaccelerate/

chocolate-3

 

Band 9 Reports: Tables – Mobile Phone Usage

mobile-phones

The table shows the different things that people used their mobile phones for in 2006, 2008, and 2010. Write a report of at least 150 words showing the main features and making comparisons where necessary.

task-1-table-phone-usage

 

The table provides a comparison of the percentage of people who used the different features of their mobile phones in three different years: 2006, 2008, and 2010.

Overall, it is clear that the use of traditional mobile phone features, like making calls or sending and receiving messages, stayed about the same, while new advances, such as surfing the internet and recording video, became much more common. Moreover, using phones for entertainment also had a substantial climb in popularity.

Using a phone to make a call was a feature used by all phone owners in 2006 and 2008, and this figure had dropped only fractionally to 99% by 2010. Taking photos and using the text message function saw slight increases. The former rose from 66 to 76 percent over the period, whereas the latter saw a small bump from 73 to 79 percent.

In comparison, the use of new features soared. In 2006, the ability to record video and surf the internet was not available via mobile phone, but by 2010, almost three-quarters of phone users used their phones to go online, while more than a third of users recorded video with their mobile devices.

Finally, the percentage of people using their phones to listen to music or play games grew by more than two times. Just over 40 percent of people played games on their phone in 2010, up from 17 percent in 2006. Similarly, listening to music on one’s phone more than doubled in popularity over the same time, rising from 12% to just over a quarter of all phone users. (238 words)

COMMENTS –

  1. Tables are often the most difficult to write about because they contain a lot of information and it is often difficult to know how to organize it. Try to find 2-3 overall points and use these to write your overview. In this example, 3 main points have been included – (1) traditional uses are about the same (2) new features have become very popular (3) using phones for entertainment is much more popular.
  2. Use the main points that you have identified to organize the rest of your paragraphs. In this example, there is a separate paragraph for each main point covered in the overview.
  3. Remember that you must include an overview to get above a band score of 5.0
  4. Try to support your overview with specific data from the table. You don’t have to mention each percentage. Just write about the figures that help to show your main points.
  5. Try to use a range of vocabulary for describing increases and decreases. Check the sample for many examples. Try to avoid repetition. If you have to repeat a word, try to use a different structure e.g. “rising from…to…” compared to “rose from…to…”
  6. Don’t worry about synonyms for words like “features” or “mobile phones” if you can’t think of any. It is always better to be clear. You should, however, use some simple and safe synonyms and different structures like “phone user”, “phone owner” “people who owned mobile phones” etc.

mobile-phones-2

Band 9 Speaking: Part 1 – Bags

bags-1

Do you like bags? Example 1

“Any kind of bag? [“Yes.”] “I don’t really care about bags. When I was at school I had to wear a backpack – like a school bag. I guess bags are useful for carrying things, but I normally just have my keys, wallet, and phone. If I had more stuff, I suppose I could get a man bag.”

Do you like bags? Example 2

“Yes, I love handbags. I have a few – almost like a collection. I have lots of stuff to carry around, and you probably know that women’s/girls’ clothing normally doesn’t have many pockets. But also, a handbag is a fashion accessory. They’re like a part of your outfit, even if the cost of some of the high-end ones is ridiculous.”

 

bags-2

 

What do you use bags for? Example 1

“Like I said before, bags aren’t really that important to me. When I go to the supermarket or buy something in a shop, of course, I use a bag to bring it home. But even then, if I can carry it easily, I won’t use a bag because it’s a waste. Also, if I bring my laptop with me I carry it in its bag.”

What do you use bags for? Example 2

“As I said, I always have my handbag with me, but apart from that I use other bags. Sometimes, I go hiking with my friends in a national park, and then I wear a hiking pack that’s kind of like a bigger version of the bag I wore at school. I guess candy comes in bags too.”

 

COMMENTS –

  1. It doesn’t matter if you like or don’t like something. Just try to say something relevant. Anything!
  2. If you’re not sure what the exact meaning of the word being used because it is too general or unclear, then you can ask for clarification. In the first example, the candidate is not sure what kind of bags are being talked about so they ask – “Any kind of bag?”, and the examiner confirms with a – “Yes.”
  3. Try to use some natural language. In the first example, the phrase “man bag” is used to describe the male version of a handbag that has a single strap that is worn over the shoulder.
  4. Try to use some topic-specific vocabulary. In the second example, terms like “fashion accessory” and “high-end” are used.
  5. When you mention something from a previous answer, try to refer to it instead of just repeating yourself. In the third example, the speaker says, “Like I said before…” before repeating (with different words!) some information from his first answer. In the fourth example, the speaker simply says – “Like I said…”
  6. The question is about “bags” in general, so you can talk about any kind of bag. In the fourth example, the speaker talks about a bag for hiking and even a bag of candy.

 

Major Drugs Haul Seized By Federal Police Force

Band 9 Speaking: Part 3 – Online Shopping

  1. What are the advantages and disadvantages of online shopping?

    “I think buying things over the internet has a few benefits over buying things in a physical store. One of the biggest is that you can compare different products and read some reviews about them from customers who have already bought them. Then, of course, there is the convenience factor. People can buy almost anything they want while sitting on the couch in their underwear.”

    online-shopping-2

2. Are there any disadvantages?

Yes, there definitely are some drawbacks. With some products, like clothes, it is better if you can see the product in person beforehand, so you can see if it fits and whether it looks good on you. Also, I think a lot of people are concerned about security. They are worried that their credit card details or other personal information might be stolen, although most sites have good theft prevention and refund policies.”

online-shopping-3

3. Will people use online shopping more often in the future?

“I think so. When things like virtual reality develop more, people will be able to test products better before they purchase them. Moreover, I think there is a trend towards people doing more of everything online. When digital currencies, such a Bitcoin, become more popular, and drone deliveries become more commonplace, I think there will be much more shopping online in the future.”

online-shopping-1

COMMENTS –

  1. Topics about the internet and technology are very common, so it’s a good idea to build some specific vocabulary. In the above examples, words and terms like “digital currencies” and “virtual reality” have been used.
  2. Try to use a range of synonyms for common words. In the above examples, “benefits” is used instead of “advantages”, “drawbacks” instead of “disadvantages”, “purchase” instead of “buy”.
  3. Try to use more advanced vocabulary for common words or ideas. In the above examples, “convenience factor” has been used instead of “convenient” and “commonplace” has been used instead of just “common”.
  4. Try to change the grammatical structure of keyword phrases as well as synonyms. For example, instead of repeating “online shopping”, you can change it to “buying things over the internet.”
  5. Remember that, in English, stress is one of the most important things for clear pronunciation and fluency. For example, [stress in capitals] “I THINK there will be MUCH more SHOPping onLINE in the FUture.”
  6. Try to make your main ideas clear. They can just be a simple statement that you then explain in more detail. In the above examples, the simple main ideas are “I think so” and “There definitely are some [drawbacks].”

Band 9 Essays: Opinion – Historic Buildings

Some people believe that it is better to build new buildings instead of renovating the old ones. To what extent do you agree or disagree? Give your opinion and relevant examples from your own experience.

historic-buildings

 

As cities expand, there is a strong demand for space. As a result, many older buildings are torn down and replaced with modern versions. Although, society must progress, it is important to preserve older structures that reflect the past.

Old buildings are a way for us to remember the history of a city. If every building beyond a certain age was demolished, then we would only have modern structures that often look very similar. In countries that experienced colonial rule, for example, people can see the foreign influence in the buildings around them and understand more about that country’s history – both good and bad.

Similarly, by preserving historic buildings, cities are more interesting and vibrant places to live in. Older buildings feature a range of architectural styles that many people find more impressive to look at than the modern style of steel, concrete, and glass. An old stone building with an elaborate facade seems to carry more prestige than a contemporary building that might be functional but not inspiring.

On the other hand, old buildings must be able to meet modern standards. Often when these buildings were constructed, there were no safety standards for things like fires or earthquakes, so now these outdated buildings may be unsafe for people to live and work in. However, if they can be renovated to conform to current safety guidelines, it should be a priority to maintain them.

Generally speaking, historic buildings are one of the strongest links to our past. If we take care of them, we can remember our history, be proud of our ancestors’ accomplishments, and learn from their mistakes. (266 words)

COMMENTS –

  1. This may be a difficult topic for many people, so try to keep your main ideas clear. IN this example, the main ideas are “remember the history of a city”, “more interesting and vibrant places to live”, “[On the other hand] must be able to meet modern standards”
  2. Remember that in an opinion essay, it is good to mention both sides of the argument, even if you’re just arguing for one. In this example, there are two body paragraphs for keeping old buildings, then one that might be a reason why we should not keep them. The counter-argument paragraph also contains a possible solution – “However…” This is the best way to fully answer the question.
  3. To get a high band score in Task 2, you need to show a range of topic specific vocabulary. In this example, words and phrases like “architectural styles”,  “elaborate facade”, “functional”, and “ancestors’ accomplishments” have been used.
  4. Try to include a range of vocabulary for common words as well. In this example, “torn down” has been used along with “demolished”. Instead of repeating “modern buildings” after “old buildings” the phrase “old versions” has been used. Instead of repeating “safety standards” the term “guidelines” has been used. Instead of “modern buildings” the word “contemporary” has been used.
  5. Try to use a range of complex sentence structures. Structures like “If…then…” and “…so…” are easy to use and often appropriate when giving an opinion.
  6. Try to include at least one example. In this essay, the example is about “colonial rule” and how buildings can show important parts in a country’s history.