Model answer for an IELTS line graph with a future prediction.
Updated: October 2023
In this lesson I will look at a line graph from an old Cambridge IELTS book about US energy consumption by fuel type. As you can see, there is a date range from the past with predictions for the future. Always take around 2 minutes to analyse the task before writing anything. Give yourself 4 minutes in total to plan out what you will write.
This graph is from the old Cambridge IELTS 9 practice book. Only use authentic Cambridge IELTS material when practicing as there is a lot of fake IELTS material on the internet. You can get these books online such as Amazon.com. You can also download free practice tests from ielts.org or the British Council website.
The graph illustrates data from a 2008 report regarding energy consumption in the USA since 1980 with forecasts until 2030.
Overall, fossil fuels have shown increases in consumption since the start of the period with expectations for even more reliance on these fuel sources, whereas cleaner energy account for considerably less consumption with predictions for a similar trend.
Fossil fuels have seen steady increases in energy consumption since 1980. Petrol and oil started the period at 35 quadrillion units, fluctuated until 2000, and then climbed steadily with a prediction of over 45 quadrillion units by 2030. Coal followed a similar trend with expectations of around 30 quadrillion units by 2030. Natural gas usage demonstrated fluctuations and it is set to level off at approximately 24 quadrillion units from 2020 onwards.
Regarding cleaner energy fuel sources, they all began the period at under 5 quadrillion units and showed declines in their use, except nuclear, which climbed slightly to 6 quadrillion units in 2005 and is anticipated to reach about 10 quadrillion units. Solar and wind also expect to see slight increases. Hydropower is projected to remain relatively unchanged until 2030.
Remember that you should not report on every single bit of data. You need to be selective and cover the main trends. A word count of around 170 to 190 words would be enough for a well-developed answer. You do not get a higher band score for a very long answer. Keep it concise and clear.
Static and Dynamic data
- Static data means that the chart or graph displays one period of time.
- Dynamic data shows two or more periods of time and how trends change over a period of time.
For static charts, you need to use comparatives and superlatives, while for dynamic charts you mainly need trends language. Before you begin writing, always make sure that you first analyse the chart or graph to see if it is one time period or if the data is changing over time.
Take 2 minutes to analyse the graph or chart because If you use trends language for a static chart then you will lose marks for grammar.
Analysing the task
Rubric: On the vertical axis it shows energy consumption in units of a quadrillion. On the horizontal axis, it shows the date range from 1980 to 2030 (history and projections)
Paragraphing: I need a short paraphrased introduction, an overview, and 2 main body paragraphs. No conclusion is needed. Word count would be over 170 words for a fully developed answer (150 words minimum)
Trends: The graph shows dynamic data. This means that there are changes over time. Fossil fuels (coal, gas, oil) show the highest consumption with predicted increases, while cleaner energy (wind, hydro, solar, nuclear) has the lowest consumption and will remain relatively low.
Grouping the data: Straight away I can see that the best way to group the data would be in these two categories (fossil fuels and cleaner fuels) by grouping the data you will gain marks for coherence and cohesion.
Grammar: I will need to use the past tense/present perfect and language for future predictions.
Grammar for future trends:
To see a full lesson on grammar needed for future trends in IELTS academic writing task 1 click here
Click here for more details on grammar and vocabulary when describing trends in task 1.
Future simple (Will + base verb)
- will rise, will decline, will remain the same, will drop , will level off …etc
Future perfect (Will + have + past participle)
- will have risen, will have dropped, will have fallen by 20%, will have risen sharply, will have declined
The passive to express the future
- is /are expected to
- is/are set to
- is / are predicted to
- is / are anticipated to
- is /are likely to