May 30, 2011

How to Compare and Contrast Data in IELTS Academic Writing Task 1

circle graph of traffic
Photo credit: jimmiehomeschoolmom on Flickr.

In IELTS Academic Writing Task 1, you'd usually find that the instructions would ask you to "report on main features" and "make comparisons where relevant." With this in mind, you consequently have to select the most evident similarities and differences within the presented data.

How could you mention similarities?

-One technique is that you could use the phrase "as _____ as".

On the other hand, how could you state differences?

-One tip is that you could state the an adjective's comparative form + the word "than". [Note: Read more about our adjective pointers here.]

To view examples of how these 2 techniques work, please refer to the following excerpts of SocialMediaToday's article "Best Social Media Stats and Market Research of 2010 (So Far)":

Re: Similarities
How are employees using the Internet at work? A recent study concluded that almost 7% of all business web traffic goes to Facebook, twice as much as Google (3.4%) and well ahead of Yahoo! at 2.4 percent. DoubleClick got 1.7% of all business traffic due to its massive online banner advertising network. In terms of bandwidth use, YouTube takes the single biggest share at 10%, followed by Facebook at 4.5% and Windows Update at 3.3%.

[Note: The point of similarity could be found in the discussion about business web traffic, or of how employees are using the internet at work.]

Re: Differences
In a study asking consumers to rate the most influential sources of information for their purchase decisions, 59% said “personal advice from friends or family members,” followed by 39% search engines, 36% articles in newspapers or magazines, online articles 28%, email 20% and social media 19%. Three caveats: first, though low, the influence of social media is growing. Second, social media and search are rated more influential by younger buyers and high-income consumers than by other groups. Third, the survey was heavily consumer-oriented; b2b figures would be different. The key takeaway — companies can’t put all of their marketing eggs in one basket, but need to balance budgets across several areas including email, social media, organic SEO, paid search and offline campaigns.

[Note: The point of difference here could be found in the discussion about how influential is social media and search for young buyers and high-income buyers versus the other groups.]

There you have it. In IELTS Academic Writing Task 1, always remember to mention similarities and differences in the data. Again, this could help you improve your skills in IELTS writing.

We hope that you find this post useful. Cheers!

Attribution to SocialMediaToday and its article "Best Social Media Stats and Market Research of 2010 (So Far)".

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