Thursday, 30 January 2014

How to Write About a Table (Task 1 Writing)

“Once upon a time, there was a beautiful wooden table. It was round and made of the finest mahogany, and it stood proudly in the home of a wealthy business man…”

WAIT! Not that kind of table!

This kind of table:

This chart gives information about the proportion of people from various age groups and family statuses who are currently living in poverty in SomeCity, along with a figure giving the exact number of families in destitution.

Like many other Task 1 Essays, your first goal should be to make a general statement about the information. In this case, we have a clear general statement. What do you think it should be?

In this case, we can make a very general statement such as:

From the table, we can see that the percentage of people living in poverty varies significantly between different family and income groups.

The next step should be to find the most notable features. In a table, this is generally fairly easy, because we can always look for the smallest and largest numbers.

In this case, which two categories have the lowest percentages of people living in poverty?

It's clear that elderly couples, couples with no children, and single aged people experienced the lowest rates of poverty.

What do these categories have in common?

Generally, couples and individuals who are not responsible for children are least likely to live in destitution.

After stating the general trend, give an example to illustrate your point:

The percentage of elderly couples living in poverty was just 4% or 48,000 individuals.

Which two categories have the largest percentages of people living in poverty?

Single people, either with or without children, are more likely to be poverty-stricken.

Give another example to illustrate your point:

The highest rate of poverty can be found in the single parent group, with around 21% of families or 232,000 individuals.

Now we're almost finished!

Important Hints for This Topic
  • Always use the present tense, unless you are given a specific date in the past.
  • Do not give opinions or include background reasons!
  • Use only information you are given.
  • Make sure to state a general trend, then give an example.

Here is an ideal sample essay for the topic above:

This table gives information about the proportion of people living in poverty in SomeCity and categorises the information based on type of household. It also provides precise figures as to the number of families in each group. We can see that the total percentage of households living in poverty is about 11%, which represents nearly 2 million individual households overall.

Generally, couples tend to have much lower rates of poverty than single people, either with or without children. Older couples are the least likely to suffer from poverty with a proportion amount of just 4%. Couples with no children are also unlikely to live in destitution, with a poverty rate of just 7% or 211,000 households. Although couples with children have a higher rate of poverty than those without them, they still have the relatively low proportion of 12%. This accounts for a notable number of individual households, however, accounting for 933,000 families.

Expressed as a percentage of households by category, single parents are more likely to experience poverty in SomeCity, with a proportion of 12% or more than 200,000 families. The percentage of childless singles with financial strife is also quite high, accounting for 19% of that group.
In sum, even while there are a significant number of couples with children living in poverty, the group with the highest percentage of households in poverty consists of single-parent families.

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