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Pie Chart IELTS Task 1 – Tips and Samples

Updated on 24 June, 2024

Analyzing and explaining a pie chart is commonly asked in the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) Writing Task 1. A pie chart is a circular graph where the data is visualized in a circle with various variables dividing the circle into segments. The size of each segment shows the proportion of that variable compared to others. The IELTS pie chart task has one or more charts to be analyzed and explained. Scoring well in the pie chart in IELTS task 1 can help you attain the desirable IELTS band and accomplish your study abroad goals. 

Understanding Pie Charts in IELTS

The pie charts IELTS task 1 is an essential part of the IELTS test writing task 1. Their purpose is to evaluate your ability to observe and describe factual information. These charts are divided into sectors or 'pie slices' that typically represent percentages.

This task may present one or two charts. If there are two pie charts, you must compare them in your essay. However, if there is only one pie chart in the IELTS exam, you should discuss the data you observe. Understanding these charts is crucial to perform well in this task.

Key Tips For Describing Pie Chart Tips

The following tips can help you answer this question well: 

  • Give an overview of the pie charts paraphrasing the chart title.
  • Start from the largest proportioned segment and move to the smallest.
  • Do a trend analysis when more than one pie chart is provided comparing the changes.
  • Use specific pie chart terms such as – represents/denotes/signifies/comprise of
  • Familiarize yourself with the model exercises and solutions.

A pie chart can be easily understood and explained using the tips and the sample answers. Test takers can also go through statistics vocabulary to describe pie charts in a better way.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

These are some common mistakes to avoid in a pie chart for the IELTS exam:

  • Many students make the mistake of choosing the past tense when explaining the pie chart in task 1.
  • Students make common mistakes while using terms like "below" or "above" without a clear reference point, which can confuse the reader.
  • Inaccurate time reference errors commonly occur in the IELTS pie chart. Students must be cautious when describing time periods. If data is only available for specific years, avoid implying continuity across the entire span.
  • When providing specific numerical values, ensure they are presented accurately according to the units provided in the chart. For instance, if the data is in thousands, use the singular form when referring to a specific number.
  • Students should also avoid pluralization errors. Adjectives and nouns should be used in their correct form. Avoid pluralizing adjectives unnecessarily, as this can lead to grammatical errors and confusion.

Sample 1 IELTS Pie Chart:

The pie charts examine how people obtained news in the UK in 2019. Summarize the data by selecting and highlighting the key aspects and making comparisons where appropriate.

Sample IELTS Pie Chart Response
Model Answer

  • The pie chart displays the preferred mediums used by UK residents to access international news during the year 2019. Out of all the options, TV was the most used medium, with 43% of people relying on it for their news. 
  • Surprisingly, word of mouth and radio were the least common options, chosen by just 1% and 4% of people, respectively. Printed newspapers were used by 8% of the population, indicating some interest but not as much as TV. 
  • When it comes to digital mediums, social media and other internet sources were the preferred choice for 29% of people combined, with social media being slightly more popular at 14% and other internet sources at 15%. This suggests that a lot of people in the UK rely on the internet, including social media, to stay up-to-date with international news.
  • In conclusion, the majority of people in the UK preferred TV over other traditional mediums like radio and word of mouth, with the internet playing an increasingly significant role in news dissemination.

Sample 2 IELTS Pie Chart:

Let’s discuss this IELTS pie chart questions, “What makes people most happy?”. There are two pie charts; one for people above 30 and one for people under 30. Each chart has the five significant factors contributing to the happiness of people.

As evident from the charts above, some common things make both younger and older people happy. However, there are some striking differences as well, which are discussed below.

Let us begin with the similarities. The noticeable similarity is the achievement at work. The chart shows that 31% of people under 30 years of age find happiness in achievement at work. 32% of people who are more than 30 years old find joy in achievement at work. People under 30 who become happy while indulging in hobbies are 22%, while people over 30 years who find happiness in hobbies are 24%. As the other factors are concerned, 14% of people under 30 become happy with this. 10% of the people over 30 find the most happiness in different aspects.

While we discuss the differences, 18% of people under 30 become happy if they have a good appearance. 15% of the same age group also find happiness in traveling. These two points are not mentioned for older people. Instead, 20% of people in the age group above 30 years find joy in financial security. 14% of them express happiness when they are with their family.

Download E-Books for IELTS Preparation

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Vocabulary of Pie Chart

Candidates appearing for the IELTS examination should ace the vocabulary of a pie chart to score a high band.  Here is a range of vocabulary  that students can use in describing an IELTS pie chart:  

Percentage and fraction are written in the following ways: 

A half:50%, a third: 33%, two thirds: 66%, three quarters: 75%, and a quarter: 25%  

Candidates can use the following words to describe the language of comparison: most/least, largest/smallest, more/less, and greater/smaller.

IELTS Pie Chart Questions for Practice

1. Summarize the pie charts that show the percentage of expenses on ads by media in India from 2012 to 2017 and compare.

2. Summarize the pie charts that show the native languages spoken by students at Bakersfield Senior College in two different years and present a comparison.   

3. Summarize the pie charts that illustrate the types of smartphones used by attorneys in the US in one year and compare using the main information.

4. Summarize the pie chart that portrays energy generation by fuel in the UK in two years and present a relevant comparison.  

5. Summarize the pie charts that illustrate the proportion of freshwater withdrawals made by various economic sectors in three countries and make relevant comparisons.

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Cracking IELTS could be the first step towards studying abroad. You can start by understanding each question type in the exam carefully, like the pie chart IELTS task 1, and tailor your preparation strategy accordingly.  

More Resources to Read About IELTS:

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Download IELTS Sample Papers

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do you write a pie chart in IELTS task 1?

Here are steps to write a pie chart in IELTS task 1: 

  • Analyze the charts
  • Paraphrase the question 
  • Include the overview section describing the overall trend 
  • In paragraph 1 (body), write in detail about the first grouping logically, and in paragraph 2 (body), write about the second grouping.

What is the structure for IELTS writing task 1 pie chart?

The structure of the IELTS writing task 1 pie chart should include the following: Introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion.

Why do we use pie charts?

Pie charts are often used to present data. In IELTS writing task 1, a candidate is asked to write a summary of at least 150 words in response to pie charts.

What is a 1/3 in a pie chart?

In a pie chart, 1/3 means 1 part of 3 total parts.

How can I improve my vocabulary for describing pie charts?

To improve your vocabulary, you should read and listen to a variety of materials, such as news articles, podcasts, and academic papers. This will expose you to different words and phrases that you can use in your writing.

A thesaurus can help you identify synonyms and related terms for popular descriptors like "large," "small," "significant," "minor," and so on. This will allow you to modify your language and reduce redundancy.

What common mistakes should I avoid in IELTS writing task 1?

In order to get the best score in task 1 of the writing exam,  you should provide only relevant information and avoid including details that are not necessary for understanding the diagram. Additionally, it is important to paraphrase the question prompt in your own words and use accurate synonyms to describe the pie chart. 


How much time should I spend on task 1 during the IELTS writing test?

The writing test lasts 60 minutes, so manage your schedule accordingly. Time management is crucial in the IELTS Writing test. Most test takers spend roughly 20 minutes on Task 1 and 40 minutes on Task 2. However, give enough time at the end of the task to evaluate your responses and make necessary modifications. 

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Urvi Agrawal

Urvi has 3 years of experience as a content writer and marketer. Over years, she has established herself as a study-abroad expert and is adept at crafting compelling and engaging content for students. Self-driven and passionate professional, she likes writing poetry and has authored a poetry book ‘Thoughts of a Wallflower’.

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