This lesson aims to show you a key skill in writing better academic task 1 summaries. The idea is to show you that it helps to organise information in task 1 writing before you write. What this means in practice is that you need to do is to learn to group similar items together in the thinking stage when you are analysing the chart.
See the common mistake
The first step is to understand a common mistake. This is to simply describe the information shown without picking out the main points. This makes it hard for the examiner to give you a good score for two reasons:
- the coherence score will fall because you need to organise the information logically
- the task response may also fall because you also need to present a clear overview of the main trends/differences.
A double whammy as we say.
Find a solution – group information
The solution is luckily at hand and not that difficult to learn. It is to put similar items together when you write. This way the examiner should see that you have organised logically and it is much easier to make comparisons this way too.
Look at an example
Look at this example that shows the different sources of funding for the London Olympic games. As you look at it, you should see that there were 8 different sources of funding and that you need to mention all of them. How can you do this without just writing a list? Try looking at the different sources and decide which logically fit together. What you don’t want to do is just follow the chart and start with “central government” and finish with “local government”. Surely central government and local government belong together.
I think that I can put the 8 items into the 4 different groups – that is much easier to summarise.
Here are my groups. I think they are logical. You may have another answer. That doesn’t really matter. There is often more than one way to do this. You just want to make sure that you do group information and that there is a clear logic behind it.
Government: central government + local government
Sponsorship: domestic sponsors + international sponsors
Sales ticket sales + merchandise sales
Other: IOC and national lottery
Now organise the information
Look at my paragraph summarising the chart. You should note how I have organised the information using the groups. In particular, note:
- it is a paragraph – don’t forget to write paragraphs
- I start with a simple sentence outlining the main idea: there are a number of different sources
- I mention all the different sources, but I group them together
- I organise from high to low – starting with the largest amount and ending with the smallest. That seems logical. It also allows me to make comparisons
- The eight items are grouped into 4 sentences – one sentence for each group
We can see that the total cost of the London Olympics was in the region of £11.5 and that this was funded from a variety of different sources. An overwhelming majority of the money was provided by government, with central government paying over £6 billion and local councils around £800 million respectively. The next highest amount of just over £2 billion was contributed by the national lottery, while the IOC also gave around £800 million. Another significant source of funding was sponsorship with domestic and international sponsors donating approximately £1.2 billion. The rest of the finance came from sales of tickets and merchandise, but this only amounted to less than £1 billion, with merchandise being responsible for a small fraction of that.