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Academic Task 1 writing – migration to Australia

This lesson is really about thinking how to organise your task 1 answer – something that is often a problem. I suggest some basic principles that may help you with organisation. To show you how this can work, I also show you a sample answer using these principles.

A chart/graph per paragraph?

This is by no means a rule, but when you have more than one chart/graph often the sensible approach is to use one paragraph per chart/graph. The benefit of this approach is that it is clear and a large part of the task is to summarise the information as clearly as possible. This approach makes most sense when the two charts/graphs show different types of information

One time when you may decide not to take this approach is when you have two charts/graphs that have very similar information. Then it may make sense to combine the information in one paragraph because it it easier to make comparisons.

Top to bottom/first to last organisation

Another idea you may want to consider is organising the information starting with the first/biggest and ending with the last/smallest. This principle can work in both static charts/graphs and time based charts/graphs. The idea is that you want to present the information in the clearest way – that is coherence – and this is one logical way to do that.

You will see an example of this in my pie chart description below.

Main points then details/exceptions

The task is to summarise and select the main points. This means that it makes sense to start with general/main points and then add details later. This typically makes your writing much easier to read – coherence again. The trick to doing this is to be able to identify what those main points are – something that many candidates find difficult.

You will see an example of this in my bar graph description below.

See my example report



These two charts give us information about the patterns of migration to Australia between 2000 and 2009. The pie chart shows that in 2009 almost 50% of migrants came from just four countries. New Zealand was responsible for sending the greatest proportion of migrants to Australia at 20%. The other three countries that made the most significant contribution were China, the UK and India at 12, 9 and 8 per cent respectively.

The bar graph shows that approximately twice as many people settled in Australia between 2000 and 2010 as migrated there permanently. Overall, there was a steady rise in the numbers of settlers from just over 100,000 to just under 150,00. While in contrast, the number of permanent migrants fell marginally from around 60,000 to just over 50,000, despite rising to a peak of about 75,000 in 2008.  In both 2000 and 2009, the general trend changed and there was a noticeable decrease in the number of settlers and migrants, and in 2009 the proportion on permanent migrants fell to just over a third.

In summary, it would appear that the patterns of migration changed from 2000 to 2009, with a greater proportion of people choosing not to immigrate there permanently despite an increase in the number of people settling there.



There are two charts/graphs. They are connected but give dissimilar information. I decide to use one paragraph per chart/graph. I don’t worry too much that there is more information about one chart/graph than the other. This is a summary task, not an essay.

Top to bottom organisation

If you look at the pie chart there are 4 major countries that send migrants to Australia. They are in order New Zealand, China, the UK and India. I therefore write about them in that order even though they do not come in that order in the pie chart.

Main points first, details/exceptions later

If you look at the bar graph, there are two main points that must be highlighted.

  • More people settle in Australia than migrate to Australia (blue is bigger than green)
  • The general trend is upwards (especially for settlers)

I make these points my first points and then I add details later. The different pattern in 2000 and 2009 needs to be noted but is not a signifiicant as the general pattern.

Download the sample answer and question

Migration to Australia (1211)

More academic task 1 writing

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7 Responses to Academic Task 1 writing – migration to Australia

  1. UM FARES March 27, 2013 at 3:47 pm #

    It was very helpful and precises.

  2. Mah March 27, 2013 at 6:56 pm #

    Such a great sample, It was really practical
    thank you soo much

  3. sara March 27, 2013 at 7:58 pm #

    It’s such a great feeling to study something very clear, concise and comprehensive with most of the points in a chart as yours; with my sincere thanks and appreciation.

  4. jasmin March 28, 2013 at 2:19 am #

    Do we need to write a summary ?
    Another website (Simon´s) suggests:
    – Introduction
    – Main trend(s)
    – 2 paragraphs

    • Dominic Cole March 28, 2013 at 9:24 am #

      Okay. First point is that there are few “rules” here, this is a summary and not an essay and there are fewer conventions. My view is that it helps to look at the charts first and then structure your report around what you see. I’m not a fan of one “fixed” structure – things are more likely to go wrong that way I believe.

      What Simon says looks good to me. I too write a summary but nowadays I put it at the end of my report. When I started I used to put it in my intro – as Simon would seem to do – and sometimes I still do that.

  5. Buner March 28, 2013 at 3:52 pm #

    it is great work to post real practice material .i really fine it very beneficial for us .

  6. Buner April 13, 2013 at 2:19 pm #

    The bar chart below shows the quarterly profit forecast for three major US companies in
    2012. Write a report for a university lecturer describing the chart.

    My opening sentence is like this
    This bar graph illustrates the quarterly prediction income for the three companies namely,Microsoft, Ford and IBM in the period of one year.

    i am waiting for your humble reply

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