A High Score Bar Chart Exercise

Fill in the gaps to complete the high score bar chart for  IELTS writing task 1. Use the completed bar chart report to model your own writing as it gives the right structure to use and a good range of sentence structures and language.

Below are useful sentence structures which are commonly used for bar charts for each paragraph (the introduction, overview and body paragraphs) to make up a complete task 1 writing model.

You will see a full report for the bar chart below and you must fill in the gaps to complete it by using the correct verb in their appropriate form.

The bar chart below shows the number of research students studying different subject in 2005.

IELTS bar chart

Source: The above chart was not created by IELTS Liz.

Model IELTS Bar Chart Report

Fill in the report below using the following verbs. You must put the verbs in the correct form and tense. Each verb can be used more than once.

to be   /   to see  / to study   /  to  illustrate  /  to show  /  to choose  / to learn  /  to prefer

The bar chart (1).  ………………… how many male and female research students (2). ……………….. six different subjects (linguistics, psychology, natural sciences, engineering, programming and mathematics) in 2005.

Overall, there (3). …………. more male research students than females in 2005. Although the most popular subject for both genders 4. …………..natural sciences, men least (5). …………….. linguistics and women (6). …………. little interest in mathematics. Linguistics was the only subject that 7. ………… favoured by women more than men.

There was a similar number of men and women in three subjects. There were equal numbers in research students (200) (8). ……………….. natural sciences. There was a difference between the genders of about 25 in both psychology and linguistic with more women (9). …………….. linguistics (around 110) and more men taking psychology (200).

A difference of about half (10)………… evident in engineering and programming where 150 men chose both subjects. By contrast, 200 men selected mathematics which was approximately five fold that of women (about 40).

  1. illustrates
  2. studied
  3. were
  4. was
  5. preferred
  6. showed
  7. was
  8. studying / learning
  9. studying / learning / choosing
  10. was



  1. Hi Liz, thanks for this amazing website

    the bar chart illustrates how many male and female research students studied in six different disciplines (linguistics, psychology, natural science, engineering, programming and mathematics) in the year 2005.

    Overall, in 2005, the number of male research students was higher than that of females. Although the most popular major for both genders was natural sciences, linguistics was least preferred by men, while women showed little interest in mathematics

    predominant of males was obvious in four disciplines, as the overwhelming majority of research students who chose mathematics were men (200), which is five times as many as women (40), similarly, the numbers of gentlemen who studied engineering and programming were almost twice what were in ladies, while the major of psychology witnessed 200 men against 175 women.

    natural sciences was the only major that had equal numbers of men and women, which are 200 for each gender. otherwise, linguistics was the only subject favored by women more than men.

  2. Hi Liz! Would it be appropriate if I split the body paragraph by first describing the figures for males and then the ones for females? I would not be comparing men vs women here, but rather the distribution of each gender among the different subjects. Or do I need to compare them to get a better score?

    • Your first thought really needs to be – why is the data presented as a bar chart? What is the purchase of those bars being next to each other? When you look closely, you can see if there is specific information to compare and your task will then be to compare it.

  3. Mam
    You have given exact statistics of numbers without mentioning like “AROUND,ALMOST “words.

  4. Hey Liz, I’m learning alot from your blog but I have a query. Is it okay to draw a conclusion from the given chart like you have done here. Can we write ” The most popular subject” , “the least favoured mode of transportation” and so on? I have read somewhere not to do this. What do you suggest?
    Thanks in advance. 😁

    • It depends on what the chart shows. “The most popular” means that the main proportion of people liked it – you only use it if the chart is about liking something. If it is about, for example, participating in sport, that would not show liking. Choose your words carefully and make sure you are using words that relate to the information shown.

  5. thanks.

  6. Srinivas Karra says

    Hi Liz,

    I extend My deepest regards for you. I have learned only through your lessons and I got 7.0 in IELTS Thanks a ton.Your trainings us for free, that’s really great. Keep rocking.


  7. Hello Liz!
    I have a question for writing task 1. Let us say we have a list of countries displayed in a graph or chart to comment. Would You encourage using a nicknames to name some of those countries? For example the United States could be called ” the Country of Uncle Sam”; France could be ”The Hexagone”; Canada could be the Great White North; China = The red dragon etc.
    By the way, thank You for all your efforts on helping people like that.

  8. I am a new kid on the block would like to read more comments regarding Writing Task 2.
    Thank you!

  9. Hassan Qayyum says

    Hi liz.
    How about this introduction “The bar chart illustrates the comparison between male and female research students in six subjects (name of all subjects) in 2005.

  10. fateh bousbia says

    Hi liz , here in this bar chart can I write ” units are measured in research students ” or ” units are measured in ” deferent subject ” in finally of introduction if I can 🙂

    • You don’t always need to write that sentence. In the opening line, it is clearly about the number of students so you don’t need to be repetitive – the units of measurement have already been established.

  11. Hello, Maam Liz…I am having a difficulty on clustering my data in Task 1 , can you help me or give me some tips on how can i improve it . Thank You .

  12. gossipchix says

    Hi Liz! i think there was only one subject which is natural sciences showing equal number of male and female research students.

    • When you select and group information together, you aren’t looking for groups that are exactly the same. Instead you look for similarities – things which is similar but not completely the same. This also means you need to be careful with language and use the word “similar” instead of “the same”.
      All the best

  13. Great example Liz! question, is it alright in IELTS Writing to include those parenthesis? to show the numbers

  14. Thank you so much Liz for your great effort.

    Actually I can’t understand the difference between ” studying” and ” studied” in the second gap!!
    Could you please explain the difference between them?

  15. Hello Liz,a

    I did love your cognitive lessons. I really wanted to buy your in-depth lessons to learn better strategies. However, I am in a bit of quandary regarding if it only one tutorial for $19 or does sum cover the whole tutorial section including all types of questions and is it one-time transaction?
    Looking forward for your response.

    • Each lesson covers one type of essay as shown in the title. Once you buy the lesson, you can watch it as many times as you want.
      All the best

  16. Hi teacher , thank you for your wonderful lessons …
    actually I write my first report about the research students and I will be glad if you check my work …
    The chart illustrates the number of research students from the two genders studying six subjects (linguistic, psychology, natural sciences, engineering, programming and mathematics) in 2005.
    Overview, number of male students is more than the females in the most of the subjects. Both gender have high number of students in natural sciences, whereas the less number of pupils was linguistics for men compered to mathematics for women. there is significant different between the two genders in most of the study fields.
    In term of the males, most of them study mathematics, natural science and psychology, which there is 200 student in each field. There is also, equality in the numbers of students in both of the engineering and programming (just about 150 student). Moreover, there was less than 100 student in the linguistics studies.
    On the other hand, females were concentrate in the natural science and psychology (about 200 students and less than 200 students respectively). Then, there are more than 100 students in both of the engineering and programming studies. furthermore, the less number of female students is in the mathematics (less than 50 student).

    can I ask one more thing …
    can you please put more exercises of writing task 1 and 2 in your website
    and how can we connect with you always ??
    again thanks a lot

    • Sorry I don’t give feedback on writing. You can connect with me any time on my blog or youtube channel.
      All the best

  17. Hi Liz,

    Thank you so much for every single great work you have done.
    Could you please check Anita’s question again regarding the second blank because I have also the same query. ( Is it better to use studying than studied? )

    Thank you

  18. Hi Liz,
    What tense should I use in describing a bar chart if IELTS did not mention the year?

    • Usually you use present tense is not date is given. However, as long as you use the same tense throughout, you will be fine.

  19. Thank you very much for your lessons. I have a question regarding the answer no.2, why don’t you use studying instead of studied?

  20. Arya Raveendran says

    In the above mentioned chart,I got a doubt about the body para A First sentence,can u pls explain me in which 3 subjects both genders showed similarity.I couldn’t make out that.please reply me

    • It shows that the first three are more similar than the last three which show either a half or more difference.

  21. Hi Liz,
    I am a little confused about the last sentence in the essay. You used relative clause ” which” that as I know ” which” should be put right after the thing It will replace. in my opinion, that sentence should be like this ” By contrast, the number of men (200) which was approximately five fold that of women selected mathematics”
    what do you think about it?

  22. Hi mam,
    Thank you for your great lessons and feedback. Its very helpful for students who do self study like me.
    I would like to ask one doubt regarding the above chart. In 8th and 9th filling the blanks you answered with “ing” form (learning or studying). Can we use “learned” instead of “learning” even though, you have used simple past in the starting of the sentence ( there were equal number in research students……..) because the data is in year 2005.
    Thank you.

  23. Hi, Liz!
    Thank for your help. But I’m quite confused about the last paragraph.
    Is the linking word ‘by contrast’ appropriate? Because I think there was no relativity between the former sentence and the latter sentence. Can I replace ‘by contrast’ with ‘what’s more’?
    Additionally, for ‘which was five fold that of women’ in the last sentence, I don’t understand what ‘that’ represents for. Is ‘that’ refer to means ‘number’? But there was not any word meaning ‘number’ in the sentence. I am always not good at contrast by times.
    Thank you!

    • The linking device “by contrast” was used because those sentences focus on the differences. While one difference was only half, the other was much much more (one in five). The linker “what’s more” is not academic and should never be used. It also does not highlight any difference. Your second question about the use of “that” refers to the number of women. It’s a useful phrase to learn but only if you feel, you can use it accurately. If you want to use simple contrasts, you can write “five times more than the number of women”. It’s is still considered complex language but it is easier to use.
      All the best

      • I see!
        Thank you for pointing out that “what’s more” is not academic because I actually used the phrase quite frequently before. I will give up using it!
        Thanks a lot!

  24. Big Like all your lessons:)

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