Bar Chart Questions in IELTS Writing Task 1

Learn how to answer Bar chart questions in IELTS writing Task 1 with an overview, recommended approach and practice question.

two wooden deck chairs on a beach

Overview

Bar chart questions test your ability to identify the most important and relevant information from a bar chart and give a well-organised summary.

Here are some key points about Bar chart questions:

  • You should spend no more than 20 minutes on the task.
  • You should write at least 150 words – you’ll be penalised if your answer is too short.
  • Task 1 is worth one third of your total writing mark; Task 2 is worth two thirds.
  • You can leave out minor points or details.
  • You must write in full sentences, not bullet points or note form.
  • Don’t speculate on reasons for the data or try to draw conclusions – your only task is to describe/summarise the data and make comparisons where relevant.

Example question

Here’s an example Bar chart question.

The chart below shows the amount of leisure time spent alone and with others per day by age group in the United Kingdom.

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

__________

Source: Office for National Statistics licensed under the Open Government Licence v.3.0

Practice question

Now it’s your turn to practise. Try the Bar chart question below using the approach outlined above.

The chart below shows the average leisure time per week by activity type and gender in the United Kingdom.

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

__________

Source: Office for National Statistics licensed under the Open Government Licence v.3.0

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Feedback

Click below for a sample answer.

The bar chart displays the average number of hours that British women and men spend on a range of leisure activities each week.

Overall, it is evident that both men and women spend by far the largest proportion of their leisure time consuming mass media. With a handful of exceptions, men and women spend a similar amount of time on each of the various leisure activities.

British men and women spend a similar number of hours each week attending cultural or participatory activities at around 1 hour per week. They also spend roughly the same amount of time resting or taking time out and eating out, at approximately 2 hours per week.

Larger differences can be seen with the other leisure activities. Men spend more time playing sports and engaged in outdoor pursuits than women, at almost 3 hours per week, whereas women spend more time socialising, at just over 4 hours per week. Men spend more time consuming mass media, at just over 16 hours per week compared to women’s 14 hours or so, but this is not a particularly significant difference given that it is by far the most popular leisure activity for both genders.

The most noticeable difference between how British men and women spend their leisure time can be seen in relation to the category of hobbies, computing or games. Men spend almost 5 hours per week on these activities, compared to women’s 3 hours or so.