I'm going to do the IELTS academic test in a few weeks and have trouble describing charts. Basically I have no major problems regarding the English language, but I have difficulty expressing the numbers and figures without repeating some phrases over and over again.

For example I have tried to describe this chart where the educational levels of residents of Glasgow in 2010 were shown.

The problem I am facing is that I have to label the numbers to use them in my report: "71% of the people who were 16 to 24 years old had a university degree."

But because there are many numbers to mention my report sounds like this: "... of the people who were 24-35 years old... among the 50-75 aged people ... the people who were between 35-50 years old..."

When the chart deals with years it is very easy because you have many options like "in the following year", "in 1950", "during the next 10 years" and so on. But in the example above that is not possible because the groups are discrete rather than continuous like years.

Are there any possibilities to avoid such phrases to reference a group in bar chart etc.?

1 Answer 1


You're not obliged to nominate each group separately. Instead, you could give a general assessment. For instance, looking at the chart it's clear that

… just over 70% of Glasgow residents, aged 50 and lower, had earned a degree while 9% had left school with no formal qualification


… at least 71% of Glaswegians, between the ages of 16 and 50, had obtained a degree while nearly one in ten had left school with no qualifications. Amongst residents over the age of 70 that number rose to a staggering seven people in ten.

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