Monday, October 27, 2014

What is the Difference of Graph and Diagram for the IELTS Writing Interpretation?

Known to be a very difficult writing task, the International English Language Testing System exam’s writing section is dreaded by most of its candidates. As all IELTS test takers know, the test is divided into two modules: the Academic and the General Training. The most difficult writing tasks are in the Academic Module.

The first task in the Academic module is an interpretation of either a graph or a diagram. People who would experience this task will surely be surprised. Writing an essay is already difficult, what’s more if it is a data interpretation?

Graphs and Diagrams are very different. Let us have an example and outline the things a candidate needs to write in his or her own essay.


The graphs can be pie graph, bar graph or line graph. There is only one graph to for the first task. However, it is best for a candidate to practice on different kinds of graphs to be familiar with the style in writing. For this, let us use a bar chart. Let us have an example:


How can one write an essay? Here are some guide questions for your essay.

  • What is the graph all about?
  • Which has the highest reading? The lowest?
  • Is there any significant increase or decrease in the years?
  • Can you see the average percentage in this chart?
  • Are there any exceptions?


In diagrams, process diagrams are commonly used. Process diagrams show a step-by-step process of something. This is actually much easier to interpret as what most candidates say. They have said this due to the fact that the flow of the process is easy to follow and all you have to do is choose the right words in describing the diagram. Let us look an example:


Here are guide questions for the chart:

  • What process is shown in the diagram?
  • What is the vocabulary needed to describe those objects?
  • What happened first? Second? Next?
  • What materials or equipment is involved in the process?
  • What is output?

Looking at it, the two diagrams differ on how you will interpret them. The graph will be more focused on highlighting the increase and decrease of numbers in the data. Transition words to show increase and decrease will be utilized in the essay. On the other hand, the diagram will be concentrated on showing how a product becomes or is developed through its process. Transition words to show flow or step-by-step procedures are needed.

Though they are different, candidates have to consider the flow of ideas in the sentences. It is best that candidates create an outline first before starting to write the essay. In this way, the candidate will be able to make sure that the ideas are organized according to the importance in mentioning in the essay.

To improve writing skills, one must practice a lot. Further, one should ask help from writing mentors such as those in IELTS review centers. Not only writing skills are important but also the correct usage of grammar. Review on grammar and sentence construction to have the best writing possible in the IELTs writing test.


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