IELTS Academic Task 1: vocabulary for describing graphs and charts
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IELTS vocabulary for describing graphs and charts

IELTS vocabulary for graphs and charts

IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 often implies the candidate has to describe line graphs, bar charts, tables and multiple charts that have a lot in common. These visuals contain numbers and percentages, which makes them different from maps and processes. In order to score high in IELTS Academic Writing Task 1, you have t0 give an accurate and strong description as well as analyse the provided charts properly. Writing 150 words is not enough to achieve the desired band. You should avoid repetition, i.e. demonstrate the range of vocabulary. What words and expressions to use to describe and emphasize the changes, similarities and differences in the data is going to be discussed below.

Rise and fall verbs

increase / rise significantly = go up a lot 

  • e.g. In the period from September to November, the profits increased significantly reaching a peak of 10 million. 

rocket/soar = go up quickly to a high level

  • e.g. In October, the figures rocket / soar to 2,600 copies.

reach a peak = get to a maximum 

  • e.g. The sales increased gradually, reaching a peak of approximately 25, 000 copies in April.

increase / rise slightly = go up a little  

  • The figures for Pretty Cuo increased slightly in the final year.

decrease significantly = go down a lot

  • e.g. In December the sales decreased significantly reaching a low of 1,500 books.

plummet / plunge = go down quickly and suddenly

  • e.g. The property values had plummeted / plunged by 2008. 

decrease slightly = go down a little

  • e.g. The figures for Pretty Cuo decreased slightly in the final year.

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reach a low = go to a minimum

  • e.g. The profits of Richmond Blue saw a dramatic fall and reached a low of 2 million in 2010.

fluctuate = change all the time

  • e.g. … the profits of the Pretty Cup slightly fluctuated…

remain stable = not change

  • e.g. … the indexes of Coffee Day and Short Street Coffee remained stable… 

halve = to reduce by half

  • e.g. In the past eight years, the elephant population in Africa has been halved. 

drop/dip / show a downward trend/decline = go down, to gradually become less, worse, or lower

  • e.g. Stock prices dropped after the company’s announcement.

grow/surge = to increase suddenly and greatly

  • e.g. House prices surged between 2015 and 2021.

recover = to improve after a difficult period or after falling in value

  • e.g. Profits are expected to recover in the current financial year.

READ ABOUT: 250+ commonly misspelled words in IELTS Listening

IELTS vocabulary for charts and graphs

Adjectives and adverbs

sharply / dramatically = quickly

  • e.g. The number of bike commuters increased sharply between 2019 and 2021.

gradually / steadily = slowly

  • e.g. …  income from this source decreased gradually over the years, falling from 20% to 12%.

considerably / significantly = greatly

  • e.g. The number of people cycling to work fluctuated considerably at the beginning of the described period.

slightly / insignificantly / marginally = a little / not much

  • e.g. However, their values dropped insignificantly: in 2004 for the former and 2005 for the latter. 

nearly / roughly/ around = approximately

  • e.g. The sales declined reaching a low of nearly 50 copies.

sharply, steeply, dramatically, significantly, substantially, considerably, wildly (fluctuate wildly) = very much

  • e.g. The profits of  Richmond Blue fluctuated wildly during the first ten years.

upward = going up

  • e.g. Overall, the indexes of retail trade and logistics fluctuated during this period with an upward trend.

downward = going down

  • e.g. … the satisfactory scores demonstrate the downward trend from just under 40% to a projected quarter of all tests. 

overall = describing changes in trend over the whole period

  • e.g. Overall, the indexes of retail trade and logistics fluctuated during this period…

slight/gradual/modest = describing small changes

  • e.g. a slight rise, a gradual fall, a modest increase

marginal = describing very small change

  •  e.g. a marginal change

consistent/steady/constant = steady

  • e.g. steady movement , consistent flow, constant shifting

significant/dramatic/sudden/dramatic/substantial/sharp = describing a degree of change

  • e.g.  a sudden rise, a sharp decrease = changes that happened quickly, a dramatic fall, a substantial change.

Writing a good description demands not only knowing a wide range of vocabulary and grammar, but also applying certain strategies. Go to our online IELTS preparation course where you will be able to build your IELTS Academic vocabulary,  go through a lot of practice in using the vocabulary, grammar and strategies, analyse sample answers, and write your own reports. Immediate feedback from our IELTS experts will help you build confidence and tackle IELTS Writing Task 1 with flying colours.

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