Percentage of Australian men and women in different age groups who did regular physical activity in 2010

IELTS Writing Task 1: ‘physical activity’ bar chart

Several people have asked me for help with the following task from Cambridge IELTS book 12 (test 5).

The bar chart below shows the percentage of Australian men and women in different age groups who did regular physical activity in 2010.

image

Before we describe the chart, let’s get one important thing right: ‘the big picture’. In other words, I want you to think about the information that you would put in your overview / summary paragraph.

Try to answer the following questions:

  1. What was the overall percentage (i.e. average or range) of all Australian men and women who did regular physical activity in 2010?
  2. Are there any differences between the figures for men and women, looking at all age groups?
  3. Were any age groups noticeably more (or less) active than the others?

Remember: Most IELTS candidates fail to write a good overview of the information in writing task 1. We need to practise looking at the ‘big picture’.

IELTS Writing Task 1: overview sentences

Here are my answers to the three ‘overview’ questions that I posed in last Thursday’s lesson:

  1. Roughly speaking, close to half of Australian adults in the six age categories were physically active on a regular basis in 2010.
  2. Overall, the figures for females were higher than those for males.
  3. Middle aged females were the most physically active, proportionally speaking, while males aged 35 to 44 did the least physical activity.

Notes:

  • I would choose just two of these ideas for my overview.
  • We need to think about how to paraphrase ‘physical activity’. Any suggestions?

IELTS Writing Task 1: fill the gaps

Look at the bar chart, and fill the gaps in the sentences below it.

  1. Almost 53% of Australian men ______ 15 to 24, but only 47.7% of women of the ______ age, did regular physical activity in 2010.

  2. Between the ages of 25 and 44, men were much less ______ on average than women. In fact, in the 35 to 44 age group, just under 40% of males did some form of regular ______, compared to 52.5% of females.

  3. The proportions of men and women aged 65 and over who were ______ active were almost ______, at approximately 47%.

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The chart compares the proportions of Australian males and females in six age categories who were physically active on a regular basis in the year 2010.

Roughly speaking, close to half of Australian adults did some kind of routine physical activity in 2010. Middle aged females were the most physically active, proportionally, while males aged 35 to 44 did the least physical activity.

In the youngest age category (15 to 24), almost 53% of Australian men but only 47.7% of women did regular physical activity in 2010. However, between the ages of 25 and 44, men were much less active on average than women. In fact, in the 35 to 44 age group, a mere 39.5% of males did some form of regular exercise, compared to 52.5% of females.

Between the ages of 45 and 64, the figure for male physical activity rose to around 45%, while the proportion of active females remained around 8% higher, at 53%. Finally, the percentages of Australian women and men aged 65 and over who exercised regularly were almost identical, at approximately 47%.

(179 words, band 9)

IELTS Writing Task 1: sentence analysis

Let’s analyse some of the sentences in the bar chart answer that I wrote last week. Maybe you could analyse the other sentences in the same way.

Sentence 1

The purpose of this sentence is to begin the description by stating what the bar chart shows. The main feature of the sentence is the paraphrasing (of the question statement) that it contains:

  • The bar chart = the chart
  • shows = compares
  • the percentage of = the proportions of
  • men and women = males and females
  • in different age groups = in six age categories
  • did regular physical activity = were physically active on a regular basis
  • in 2010 = in the year 2010

Sentence 2

The purpose of this sentence is to give a general overview of the information, by describing an overall trend. Some useful language:

  • roughly speaking - a nice way to introduce an approximate overall trend
  • close to half of Australian adults - grouping men and women in all age categories together, in order to describe an overall trend
  • some kind of routine physical activity - paraphrasing ‘regular physical activity’

Sentence 3

The purpose of this sentence is to continue the overview by highlighting the highest and lowest figures on the chart. Some useful language:

  • Middle aged females - more than one age category grouped together
  • the most physically active - highlighting age categories with the highest figures
  • proportionally - this word is necessary because the figures show percentages of people in each age group, not raw numbers
  • while males - contrasting with the statement about females
  • the least physical activity - contrasting the highest with the lowest