How to tackle a tricky graph

How to tackle a tricky graph

Your Task 1 for your Academic IELTS exam may be tricky. It’s best to prepare for all types of graphs and to sometimes, expect the unexpected.

This article goes through how to deal with a tricky graph.

What do I mean by tricky?

A difficult graph may present itself as being more obscure, unusual, or complicated than other graphs. Line graphs, bar charts or pie charts can often be visually easier to comprehend, but we are not always presented with these types. We can instead get visual graphs or maps where we are less versed in seeing these as they are not common graph types. However, don’t be put off by the graph. Ultimately, you can talk about it and it just takes a few minutes at the start to gather your bearings and collect your observations. This is why its good to go in with a plan, as seen below.

How do I deal with a tricky graph?

1. Vocabulary- Write out a list of vocabulary that suits the behaviour or pattern of the graph straight away.

2. Features- Make three distinctive features that you immediately notice.

3. Time-markers- note on the graph when the changes occur so that you can begin to create the graph’s structural/time journey, and/or highlight any numerical data that is important.

4. Linking words- note down a few different types of connectives and conjunctions.

Let’s use these three examples to share quick examples of how you can use the above list, to deal with a difficult graph.

The first is not too tricky but let’s start off with some ease and work towards a tougher example.

Example 1

1. Vocabulary- reframed, replaced, transition, development, updated, entrance, play-area, seating-area, flower-bed.

2. Features- the bench and pond area are together, the flowers and playground have swapped places, the tree area now have other amenities- chairs, tables, barbeque.

3. Time-marker- in this case, a time-marker isn’t specific to the map other than knowing the park was presumably created in 1980 and we have a modern day comparison. Other than this, we cannot mark any clear numerical data for this graph type.

4. Linking words- Contrastingly, now, whereas, instead of (contrast), as well as, additionally, on top of (adding), consequently, because as a result (causes and effects)

Model paragraph

The map demonstrates differences to a park in 1980, up to the present day. From an overall perspective to start with, it is evident that the park is now more centred around social activities and perhaps trying to create a more communal aspect. This is seen in the amenities such as the seating area and barbeque. The trees remain here but the flowers are no longer within this area of the park.

Looking at the original map of the park in the 1980’s, the two entrances sit at the bottom and top left of the park, whereas the developed version of the park has no marked entrances in the form of gates. The layout itself has also changed where access to the park has now been expanded with two other entrances. These additional roads section off different areas of the park.

In the bottom right corner, where there was once a designated flower area, has now been replaced with a playground. Moreover, the flowers have again been replaced with a bush in its same place, in the modern-day map of the park.

Example 2

  1. Vocabulary- Shipment, transport, production, extract, overseas, produced, canned, ripening.

2. Features- the process includes both natural and made-made processing.

3. Time-marker- in this case, a time-marker isn’t specific to the map, but we can specifically track its stage of its journey. You could therefore write one word to signify its stage of journey next to the image.

4. Linking words- Contrastingly, now, whereas, instead of (contrast), as well as, additionally, on top of (adding), consequently, because as a result (causes and effects)

Model paragraph

This process depicts the journey that a pineapple takes, from its first stage of planting to its complete stage that is ready for retail. From an overall perspective, we can see that the production of pineapple requires both a natural and manmade process. Initially, the natural process needs to take place with its ripening, to its preparation into different components and ready for shipping.

The map demonstrates that the smaller pineapples can be used for juice, the medium pineapples for pre-prepared chopped pineapple, and the largest pineapples are sold in their entirety. Despite their different sizes, all the pineapples start in the same tropical climate of 28 to 30 degrees. This appears to be when they are harvested at various sizes, such as 26cm, 28cm and 30cm in height.

Next, the pineapples are cleaned and again divided into their size groups. The small and medium sized one’s have their tops removed and the rind peeled off. The smallest ones go through a juice extraction, the next size are canned, and the largest size are sent off in larger quantities without being sliced or chopped and remain whole, to be shipped off to various places.

Example 3

1. Vocabulary- extraction, cylindrical, rotation, heat energy, mixed, combined.

2. Features- cement in its steps, to manufactured cement; raw materials combined with other materials.

3. Time-marker- in this case, time isn’t specific to the map but quantities are. Gravel is the highest value, then sand, cement to follow and water last.

4. Linking words- Firstly, to follow, previously, subsequently (order), indeed, clearly, importantly, definitely (emphasis) Along with, besides, not only…but also (adding)

Model paragraph

The process shown presents how cement is made through its specific stages, and how it is later used in concrete manufacturing. This process requires initial mixing and a chemical composition of raw materials such as clay and limestone. Following this, the cement is bagged and then combined with other materials to finalise its concrete form.

Firstly, the cement production takes place. The limestone and clay are collected and crushed together to form a powder before being placed in a cylindrical mixing tool. This mixer is directly connected to a rotating heater which further transforms the powder. This powder is made finer by another grinding process and bagged as cement.

From the cement comes the concrete. The cement is then combined with other key ingredients; water, sand and gravel. These ingredients are mixed in a concrete mixer that ultimately forms the concrete mix, ready for production. One of the largest ingredients is sand at 25%, then cement at 15%, and water at 10%. Gravel however dominates as it makes up for 50% of the ingredients.