Introduction and Overview for a Bar Chart

A sample introduction and overview for this IELTS chart is given below. The introduction is the easiest paragraph to write and the overview is the most important paragraph in your report. Look at the sample paragraphs below for the IELTS chart given and fill in the gaps.

The chart below shows the average monthly expenditure by British households in three years.

ielts chart

Introduction and Overview for an IELTS Chart

Fill in the gaps with no more than two words in order to complete the introduction and overview for the above chart.


The (1) ……………………… illustrates the typical (2)  ……………………….. of money spent each month on utility bills, transport, rent, entertainment (3) …………..groceries by households in Britain in three years (1990, 2000 and 2010). Units are (4) …………………. in pounds sterling.


(5) …………………., the largest expenditure was on rent,, (6)  ………………. the least amount of money spent was on utility bills and entertainment. While there was a significant (7)  …………………. in spending on rent, transport and utility bills, there was little change in the amount spent on the two other items.

  1. chart / bar chart
  2. amount
  3. and
  4. measured
  5. Overall (this is the most correct and appropriate linker to use)
  6. whereas or while (it is not possible to use “in comparison to” or any similar linker due to the grammar structure of the sentence. To use “in comparison to” the sentence must read “…the largest expenditure was on rent in comparison to the least amount of money spent which was on …”)
  7. increase / rise / growth
Tips & Vocab
  • Paraphrase the information for the introduction
  • shows = illustrates
  • average = typical
  • expenditure = amount of money spent
  • monthly = each month
  • Give the units if necessary
  • Put key features together in the overview
  • The overview is usually a separate paragraph
  • This IELTS chart is considered a simple chart and all students aiming for band score 6 and above should be able to write this report without many errors.
  • Watch the video lesson suggest below to learn about the correct paragraphing to use in IELTS writing task 1


Recommended Lessons

Writing Task 1 Diagram introduction and overview, click here
Bar Chart Model Band Score 9, click here
IELTS Video Tutorial: Structure and Paragraphs for Writing Task 1, click here


  1. Chandani Thapa says

    The bar chart demonstrates the monthly expenses made by households in Britain in 1990, 2000 and 2010.

    Overall, the maximum expenditure is made on rent in all three years with dramatic growth in two decades, followed by groceries, with minimal or no expenditure growth in 2 decades. British people spent less on utility bills and entertainment.

    In 1990, the British spent almost 450 on rent, increased by 200 in 2010, which was double the money spend on groceries in 2010. Household expenses on groceries were slightly above 300 in 1990, and hiked by around 10 in 2000 but remained constant after a decade.

    Although expenses on utility bills and entertainment were the least that people spent in the UK, the utility bills hiked from below 100 in 2000 to nearly 150 in 2010. In opposite to this, expenses on entertainment were slightly above 100 in 1990 and 2000, which declined and reached 100 in 2010.

    The household expenses on transport were two-fold less than that of expenses on accommodation in 1990, around 180 which proliferated by nearly 40 after two decades.

  2. The bar chart illustrates the amount of money an average family in the UK spent on five different sectors in 1990, 2000 and 2010.
    Overall, the amount of money paid out on rent was the highest among all categories in all three years. There was a considerable rise in utility bills, transportation and rent, while the change in other sectors was minimal. Entertainment was the only sector that displayed a downward trend.
    Rent cost the families approximately $450 in 1990, and this number increased steadily by roughly $75 per decade to exactly $600 by 2010. Likewise, the amount spent on utility bills and transportation grew substantially, from around $90 and $180 to about $150 and $250 respectively.
    On the other hand, the spending on groceries rose slightly by about $10 to $330 in 2000, and then remained relatively unchanged in the next decade. In contrast, the figure of entertainment remained comparably stable from 1990 to 2000 at around $110 before a dip to exactly $100 in 2010.

  3. Hi Liz! thanks so much for your help. What do you think about this introduction?

    “The bar chart illustrates the average money spent by British people on different households’ necessities at the beginning of three different decades; 1990, 2000 and 2010. Units are measured in pounds sterling.”

    • You have the right approach, but be very careful presenting false information. This does not show the “beginning” of the decades. The beginning of a decade means the first couple of years. This chart show the whole decade, not just the beginning. Use your language carefully. Be precise. Otherwise, all good.

  4. Hi Liz, I try to write the whole report for the chart, can you give me some comments about my writing? thank you

    The chart illustrates the typical amount of money that British families spent every month in five categories in 1990, 200 and 2010. Units are measured in pounds sterling.
    Overall, except for entertainment, the expenditure on all other categories increased over the period in which the largest spending was on house rental while the least amount of money spent was on utility bills and entertainment.
    Regarding the renting budget, the figure was just around 450 pounds in 1990 then increased significantly to exact 600 pounds in 2010. This trend can also be seen in the expenditure on utility bills and transport where there was a significant increase of nearly 70 pounds after the period of 20 years from about 80 pounds to nearly 150 pounds and from approximately 180 pounds to around 250 pounds respectively.
    on the other hand, although the second major spending of UK’s families was on groceries, the change on the number was minor which was from about 310 pounds to 320 pounds by the end of the period. In terms of leisure activities, the figure was unchanged at around 110 pounds for the first decade then decreased slightly to shart 100 pounds in the final year.

  5. Htin Kyaw Hloon says

    Dear Liz,
    First, I’d like to thank you for your useful informations and great idea for people preparing for IS exam and I have a little unclear cases. This is about the IELTS examination past paper books ,which are published by Cambridge, with numbers, such as,1,2,3 etc. These numbers demonstrate difficulty when incerase or just show order. When I practice with others IS practice tests books which issued by other organizations , some questions types from those books are considerable different from Cambridge test books.

    • They are the order the books were published. Book 1 was published years ago, book 14 will be published next month.

  6. Madeeha Khan says

    The bar chart illustrates how much the money British families spent monthly on utility bills, transport, rent, entertainment and groceries in 1990, 2000 and 2010. The amount spent is measured in pounds sterling.
    Overall, it is observed that the British household spent the maximum amount on rent each month during these three years. In contrast, they spent relatively less on utility bills and entertainment.
    The biggest monthly expenditure of British family was to pay rent, which increased from 450 pounds in 1990 to 600 pounds in 2010. The next big spending was on groceries that remain almost constant at 310 pounds in this period. Furthermore, they also spent high amounts on transport which increased from 280 pounds to 350 pounds in these 20 years.
    However, the monthly expenditure of British people on utility bills was lowest at 80 pounds in 1990, increased a little to 150 pounds in 2010. Similarly, they spent the smallest on entertainment as they spent 110 pounds on entertainment in 1990 and 2000, which slightly decreased to 100 pounds in 2010.
    Please check my answer

    • As I remember that she’s already mentioned on her video you shouldn’t indicate the accurate data such as 150 or 280 pounds this means your band score will be affected badly.

      • You should give accurate precise data if it is possible to see that figure on the graph. If the precise figure can’t be given, you use “about” or “around” or “just under” etc.

  7. riachristina says

    Hello Liz,

    Can you please check my Introduction and Overview.

    Thank you.

    The bar chart illustrates the average amount of money spent by British households on a monthly basis in utility bills, transport, rent, entertainment and groceries in three years (1990, 2000 and 2010). Units are measured in pounds sterling.

    Overall, the highest amount of money was spent on rent in three years (1990, 2000 and 2010) while the lowest expenditure was shown in utility bills in the year 1990 and 2000. On the other hand, British households spent the least amount of money on entertainment in 2010. The chart also shows that there was a steady increased in the monthly expenditure of British households on utility bills, rent and groceries for the given period while amount of money spent on entertainment remained unchanged in 1990 and 2000 then slightly dropped in 2010.

  8. The amazing Liz, this website was established in 2014, but I could not find a better one especially for academic writing !! Hurray

  9. I am very happy because of this website.I have been searching that kind of website for a long time.Thanks a lot

  10. Mudassar Hussain says

    It is one of the most useful website for ielts student thank you so much Liz. It is extremely incredible for any ielts student.

  11. Hello Liz,

    I noticed one more key feature that should be in the overview: more money was totally spent in 2010 compared to the other two years. Is that correct?

  12. The bar chart illustrates the amount of money spent by British household on expenses like utility bills, transport, rent, entertainment and groceries per month for 3 years. Units are measured in pounds sterling.
    Overall, the cost of living expense is seeing an increasing trend in totality except for entertainment expense. Rent and grocery are the major two expenditure of a British household in comparison to other expenses.
    In a span of 30 years significant increase in expenses like rent , utility bill and transport is seen. Rent saw consistent rising trend about L450 in 1990 to above L500 in 2000 and finally reached L600 in 2010. Furthermore, the utility bill expense in first two years were more or less the same(little below L100) but shot more than L150 in a span of 10 years. The transport expense in year 1990 was little over L150 then it flung to slightly below 250 and then the increase was gradual (approx. 250 in 2010)
    The expenses like entertainment and groceries were more or less the same over the years. As seen entertainment ranged from approx. L120 to L100 a downward trend as compared to groceries ranging from little above L300 to L340 showing an upward trend over the years.


  13. Thank you so much Liz for your useful information

  14. You writing task 1&2 practices and lessons are very helpful!

  15. Bharat Chhabra says

    Hi liz,

    I just went through your different links of writing task 1.
    In every writing task that you have written, conclusion comes just after the introduction,but the ielts book which is authenticated by the cambridge and the ielts have the conclusion part at the end of the every task.I’m just concerned about this,why so?

    Regards Bharat

  16. nixon dominic says

    Can we write all listening answers in capital letter

  17. Is that enough for writing task 1? I mean we have to write at least 150 words for task 1 but there are around 100 words.

    • This lesson shows the introduction and overview. It doesn’t not give body paragraphs. See my model answers for full writing task 1 reports.

  18. why groceries not included to overview?

  19. Hi dear liz
    Can I write (the chart illustrate the medium monthly disbursement. …etc)

  20. Hi,
    Thanks for your valuable informations.
    Here I would like to ask you about the last sentences is correct or not, because on your explanation states that “little changes in the amount spend on the other two items”. But there are other three items (transport, entertainment and groceries).
    Am I right or not?

  21. can we write atypical British family instead of household

  22. Hello dear Liz,
    Can you show us how to discraib 2 charts or 2 lines, because I have seen them many times.

    Thank you,

  23. thank liz . I just want to know how to make sure that my grammar are correct .

    • I can only suggest that you find an English teacher to correct your writing. Unfortunately, I don’t offer that service.

  24. I wanted to ask if it is right to use “while” in number 6. Thanks

  25. Hi dear Liz! Thank you for useful source of information! I have a question. What will happen if I do not write overview for task 1? Instead can I just give general information after introduction and continue to write bodies?

  26. abhishek says

    mam some suggest to write conclusion for task it necessary?
    what conclusion should contain?

  27. abhishek says

    hello mam ,
    thank you so much for your guidance.
    can we write the approx value in brackets like for example(around $10)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

error: Content is protected !!