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IELTS Writing (Academic) Task 1 Sample 2


City Spending

This diagram demonstrates the amount of spending by Dublin City Council in 2018 and 2017. Summarise the main findings in around 150 words.

Dublin City Expendeture accounts 2018.PNG

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Sample Answer

This graph shows the amount of spending by Dublin City Council in 2017 and 2018.

The graph identifies eight main areas of spending. Expenditure on housing and building is by far the most significant outlay for the Council in both years. In 2018, investment in this area was 150,000,000 more than the second highest amount for Environmental Protection.

In most areas, we see a slight increase in spending in 2018, apart from Water and Sewerage and Agriculture, Education, Health and Welfare. In both of these areas, spending was on a par with the previous year. A minuscule decrease in Miscellaneous spending is the only area where a reduction is recorded between 2017 and 2018.

Agriculture, Education, Health and Welfare is the area where the least amount of investment was made, with diminutive figures recorded, compared to Housing and Building.

Recreation and Amenity also saw a significant upturn in spending on the previous year.

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Analysis

COHERENCE AND COHESION

  • The answer opens with a concise description of the chart. No specific details are required in the introductory paragraph.

  • While there is nothing wrong with the opening of the second paragraph, a more concise and sophisticated approach would see the first two paragraphs joined, perhaps as follows:

    • This graph shows the amount of spending by Dublin City Council in 2017 and 2018, identifying eight main areas of spending.

  • The candidate proceeds in paragraph two to note the expenditure for specific areas, showing their ability to understand the data presented. Their first comparison, however - between the highest and second highest amount of expenditure (Housing and Building versus Environmental Protection) - comes across as awkward, and might be taken up wrongly. To clarify:

    • Written: In 2018, investment in this area was 150,000,000 more than the second highest amount for Environmental Protection.*

    • Should be: In 2018, investment in this area was 150,000,000 more than the second highest amount, which was for Environmental Protection.

*Taken literally and in isolation, the second highest amount for Environmental Protection is in 2017.

GRAMMAR

  • Note that the opening tense is Present Simple. This is the most common tense used for such things as news reports, informal storytelling, and observational humour. Using the Present Simple (or Simple Present) makes things imminent and relevant to the present moment, creating a sense of connection.

  • Past Simple tense is also used, however, to balance what ‘we see’ in the graph with ‘what happened’ in the past to which the graph refers.

  • Note that each department heading (e.g. Environmental Protection) is written with capital letters. This is standard practice (i.e. is expected).

LEXICAL RESOURCE

Apart from the opening, each subsequent paragraph has a notable vocabulary element, as detailed below. A suggested alternative for “the only area where a reduction is recorded” in paragraph three is “the only area in which a reduction is recorded”. This alternative could also feature in paragraph four.

  • the most significant outlay’ - a sophisticated and concise way of saying ‘the largest amount of money spent’.

  • diminutive - meaning ‘small (of stature)’. Used well here to comment on how little money was spent in a given area.

  • minuscule - meaning ‘very little’. Used to talk about an almost negligible decrease in spending.

  • upturn - a nice composite word used to talk about a change in a positive direction


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