Paraphrasing percentages and statistics in IELTS academic writing task 1.
Updated: June 2023.
One thing that can be challenging in IELTS writing task 1 academic is how to report on all the data in a chart or graph. Something that can help your vocabulary band score is using specific language, such as the language of approximation, proportion and fractions to paraphrase percentages.
It takes a bit of practice to use these in a task 1 report but if you can use them accurately it goes a long way to getting to Band 7. You don’t need to know about maths either so don’t worry this is not a maths lesson.
There are 2 methods to use here, paraphrasing percentages and using the language of approximation. Make sure you have practiced these well in your writing to avoid confusing the reader.
- Four-fifths – 80%
- Three quarters – 75%
- Seven out of ten – 70%
- Just over half – 53%
- Two fifths – 40%
- Just over a third – 35%
- Just under a third – 30%
- One quarter -25%
- a fifth – 20%
- Less than a fifth – 15%
- One in ten – 10% (this is used for people or objects)
- From two fifths to less than a fifth – From 40% to 15% (for trends graphs)
- Halved (verb) – dropped by half
- Around fourth fifths of university students stated that the library was the best place for their research.
- Coal accounted for one-quarter of fossil fuels used as an energy source.
- One in ten people reported that they went to fast-food restaurants at least once a month.
- According to the graph, car production in France halved between 1999 and 2004.
- Just under a third of visitors stated that they were happy with the renovations in the museum.
- Exports of semiconductors dropped from two fifths to less than a fifth in three years.
Approximation and proportion
I also advise using set phrases to show approximation and proportion, remember that these are approximate and not exact, such as:
- Just over a fifth – around 22%
- Just under a fifth – around 18%
- Slightly less than a quarter – 23%
- More than two fifths – around 42%
- Approximately half – 48%
- Around a fifth – 19%
- A large number of – around 70%
- A large proportion of – around 70%
- A significant proportion of – around 80%
- A small minority of – around 5 to 10%
- A small number/amount of – 5 to 10%
- An insignificant amount of – around 2%
Example sentences (taken from various task 1 reports):
- Approximately half of all vehicles produced in Japan were exported.
- A large proportion of the population of Italy is under 65 years old.
- This figure increased but then dropped to slightly less than a quarter in 2011.
- The graph shows an insignificant amount of software was downloaded in the last part of 2002.
- It can be seen from the table that around a fifth of all passengers used buses in the period between 2012 and 2016.
- The pie chart shows that a large number of tourists visited Kyoto in the first part of 2015
Try this exercise below using the statistics in brackets to help you. Then check your answers. More than one answer is possible。
1. According to the chart, _______________ of imports came from China in 2014. (75%)
2. Tourists accounted for _______________ of total visitors to the Tate gallery in 2016 (80%)
3. Production of TVs ____________ in the period between 2012 and 2014. (dropped by 50%)
4. Mobile calls showed a gradual rise to _______________ from 2000 to 2001. (23%)
5. _____________ the population in Japan is expected to be over 60 years old in 2029. (around 70%)
Below are 2 pie charts with percentages, Paraphrase the sentences using fractions or the language of proportion.
Can you paraphrase these sentences based on the percentages in the chart?
1. 40% of people stated that comfort was a factor in driving to work.
2. The proportion of people stating that they cycled to work to reduce pollution stood at 30%.
3. 11% of people said that driving to work was safer than cycling.
4. 15% of people stated that they cycled to work because they did not have to worry about parking.
5. 14% of those polled stated that the main factor for driving to work was to transport items.
Leave a comment below if you have any questions.