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  1. Model Answer of A Pie Chart

  2. Step 1: seeing the big picture • The first step is to identify the main points of the two charts. • This is not just an important part of the task and your band score, it will also help you write your description. • The main points are normally obvious. Sometimes they are so obvious that candidates ignore them. Look at these questions:

  3. How many activities are there in each chart? – Just count • Are the activities the same in each chart? – Read the key • Are there any changes in popularity between the two years? – Look at the colors

  4. You should get these answers: • There are 8 activities for each year • 7 of 8 activities are the same • There are a number of differences in popularity between the two years.

  5. All you need to do now is put that into English and you have the main points of the report. • Adding in a short description of the task we have:

  6. These two pie charts show the changes in popularity of different leisure activities in the United States of America between 1999 and 2009. We can see that the most popular leisure activities were almost the same in both periods, but there were a number of differences in popularity between the various activities.

  7. Step 2: choose the details to include • There are 16 different figures you can include. This is too many. The task is to select and report the most important details. This will include naming all the activities, but not all the numbers. To do this, try looking for: • the biggest number • the smallest number

  8. These are generally important details to include. You should also consider what changes between the two charts, not least because the task asks you to make comparisons. So, ask yourself: • what’s gone up • what’s gone down • what hasn’t changed • what’s new

  9. Putting this together, we need these details: • walking is most popular in both periods • yoga disappears and weightlifting is new • swimming doubles • aerobics, jogging and cycling all fall • soccer and camping don’t change much

  10. Step 3: organise your report • This will vary from task to task, but typically you will be looking at two content paragraphs. As you write your paragraphs, you want to think of three key ideas: • 1. highlight the main points – they come first • 2. group similar ideas together • 3. find a logical structure to present the points. • In this case, I would go with this structure:

  11. Paragraph 1 • walking is much the biggest slice of the pie in both years • weightlifting is new and yoga has gone • It is clear that walking was the most popular activity in both 1999 and 2009 with around 30% of Americans saying that they preferred it. Also, yoga was no longer among the preferred activities in 2009, but weightlifting was chosen by 10% of people.

  12. Paragraph 2 • refer to the other activities in order of popularity in 2009 – soccer and swimming first, jogging and aerobics last • note the biggest changes – cycling, jogging and aerobics all big fallers, swimming the big riser.

  13. The second most popular activity was soccer at just under 20% in both years, a figure that was matched by swimming in 2009, having almost doubled in popularity over the previous decade. Most of the other activities became less popular over the same period of time, with cycling, jogging and aerobics all falling by at least a half to under 10%. The one exception to this trend was camping which stayed almost unchanged at around 9%.

  14. Step 4: get the vocabulary right • This is the big one and will take time to learn. To help you on your way, I show you two model answers with extensive vocabulary notes.

  15. Model 1 • These two pie charts show the changes in popularity of different leisure activities in the United States of America between 1999 and 2009. We can see that the most popular leisure activities were almost the same in both periods, but there were a number of differences in popularity between the various activities.

  16. It is clear that walking was the most popular activity in both 1999 and 2009, with around 30% of Americans saying that they preferred it. Also, yoga was no longer among the preferred activities in 2009, but weightlifting was chosen by 10% of people.

  17. The second most popular activity was soccer at just under 20% in both years, a figure that was matched by swimming in 2009, having almost doubled in popularity over the previous decade. Most of the other activities became less popular over the same period of time, with cycling, jogging and aerobics all falling by at least a half to under 10%. The one exception to this trend was camping which stayed almost unchanged at around 9%.

  18. Model 2 • These two charts illustrate how the preferred leisure activities of Americans changed between 1999 and 2009.Generally speaking, while the list of activities remained almost identical over the decade, there were a number of changes in their relative popularity.

  19. It is immediately evident that walking was by some distance the most popular pastime in both years, accounting for just under a third of the preferences expressed. Of equal note is that by 2009, yoga had disappeared from the list of preferred activities and had been replaced by weightlifting, which was chosen by one in ten Americans.

  20. Among the less popular activities, the most notable development was that the proportion of people who went swimming doubled, making it equal second in popularity with soccer at 18%.  In stark contrast, around as half as many Americans went cycling in 2009 as compared to ten years earlier, with the result that it became less popular than camping, at 7% and 9% respectively.  Likewise, the number of people who went jogging and did aerobics also dropped significantly, with less than 5% of respondents to the survey choosing them.