As I have been asked by many students and recent IELTS candidates to discuss the issue of ‘overview’ or ‘overall trend’ in IELTS Writing Task 1, I’ve prepared a short yet important post on “Overview in IELTS Writing Task 1, its importance and how to write it”. Reading this post you will clearly understand about an overview, its function, usage, and importance in getting better scores in writing task 1.
What is an Overview?
An overview is also known as an overall trend or general trend. Some even call it a summary. Whatever the name you give to it, the meaning is simple. An overview is a brief or short statement on the given picture in Task 1, which clearly states what has happened in the picture, graph, table, or chart in short. It is just like a complete picture of task 1 but in brief and precise language.
Features/ characteristics of an overview: How to write
An overview of IELTS writing task 1 contains some key features. They are:
- It summarizes the complete happenings in task 1.
- Only one sentence is used to write an overview. Some will say that two sentences are better. In my opinion, writing two sentences and connecting them with conjunctions like ‘and’, ‘while’, ‘whereas’, ‘where’ etc. will make the sentence stronger.
- An overview is generally found just after the introductory statement. Write it just after the introductory sentence. It is because most IELTS examiners say that they prefer an overview in this location.
- The overview doesn’t contain any specific information. So, avoid writing numbers in it. Use numbers for the detail part.
- For the line graph/column graph (which contains a timeline), look for changes that happened from the beginning to the end. For pie chart/ bar chart/ table (where a timeline is not found), find differences and similarities which look more appealing to you. For diagrams or maps comparing things, you may state the main differences and maybe you can also include the number of differences and similarities.
- For the cycle/ process diagram, you can mention the total number of stages. You can also include the beginning and end of the process here.
- For two charts or graphs with no links in between, find two separate overviews.
- Start the overview with suitable phrases like, “Overall, it is clearly seen from the _____ that”, “It can be seen clearly that”, “It is apparent from the figures that” etc.
Example task 1 pictures with overall trend/ overview:
Here are some pictures of graphs/ charts/ diagrams with example overviews which can easily clarify your ideas and any problem that you face writing an overview.
Overall, it is clearly seen from this graph that yearly savings of Jennie developed while they went down at first and slightly improved at the end for Russell.
It is apparent from the chart that items like groceries and fish dominated over all other items in sales.
It is clearly observed from the maps that major improvements have taken place in 20 years in the southeast part of Lakehouse City.
Thus, you can easily write an overall trend or overview of any writing task 1. I personally recommend you do it because it is part of Task Achievement in IELTS. They expect you to write briefly about the complete scenario. So, it is better for earning a good band in IELTS Writing.