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今回はThe University TimesのVol.31で掲載された、「Writing Task 1」に関しての【Tips for IELTS】です。
One of the most common mistakes that people make in the writing task 1 is forgetting to include an overview of the graph or diagram. An overview is the main trend or general description of the task. More often people jump right into describing the details of graph and miss seeing the big picture. In this article, I will explain how important this overview is for your grade and give you some ideas on how to write a clear overview.
First, let’s look at how important this step is. The overview falls under the grading section of Task Achievement. If we look at the public band descriptors available online, we can see that if you don’t have an overview, you can’t go above a band 5 in Task Achievement. At that band, it states that the writing has “no clear overview.” So if you miss it, you can’t go any higher than 5 for this part of the marking. At band 6 we can see that you need “an overview with information appropriately selected”. Band 7 and above needs “a clear overview that presents the main trends, differences or stages”. A good overall statement is a summary and can include two parts: an overall trend and the most significant change that you see. So it is clear how important this overview is for your final grade in the Task Achievement section.
Now I’d like to show you how to recognize the main trend.
When looking for the overall idea, ask yourself these questions
Have a look at the graph below. What is the overall trend? Is there anything that particularly stands out?
The graph below shows the percentage of home ownership in three countries: Norway, Sweden and Finland from 1999 to 2004.
In the graph, it is quite interesting that while Norway and Finland gradually increase in home ownership, Sweden goes up and down and finishes in the top spot once again. However, a more overall trend is that home ownership has improved in all three countries over the time period. A good overall statement would include one of these trends. A strong and clear overview statement demonstrates both an overall trend and the most significant change or consistency.
Please look at the following introduction and pay attention to the overall trend and the most significant consistency.
This graph shows the percentage of people who own their own homes in Scandinavian countries in a five-year period beginning in 1999. Overall, the most significant trend is that home ownership has improved in all three countries during these years. Another interesting point is that Sweden had the highest level of people who were homeowners at the beginning and end of the time period, followed by Norway and Finland although Sweden does fluctuate quite dramatically during this time.
You may notice that there are no details in the overall statement. You should save the details for the other paragraphs. It is just necessary that you are able to recognize the main trends that the graph shows. Also some people only look for big changes but things that stay the same over time could also be very significant.
To make the overall statement really stand out you can use introductory phrases. These phrases make it clear to the reader that this point is what you consider the most important bit of information. You could try to use the following phrases to introduce your overall statement.
Some test takers wonder where this statement should go. Is it better at the beginning or the end? Both options are fine. The overall statement can be a nice part of the introduction or it could conclude your writing. It’s just important that you include it and make it clear.
Good luck with your exam!
By John Grant