Day 2: Finding the key features

Before you watch

This is the chart that we discuss in the video.

How would you rewrite this introduction?

The graph below shows average carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per person in the United Kingdom, Sweden, Italy and Portugal between 1967 and 2007.


  • synonyms
  • restructuring
  • grouping
  • changing the time description
IELTS Writing CO2 emissions
Possible answers
  • The graph illustrates changes in the average amount of CO2 emitted per individual on in four European countries over a 40-year period.
  • The graph compares how much carbon dioxide was emitted on average per capita in four European countries, namely the UK, Sweden Italy and Portugal, over 4 decades.
  • The graph tracks changes in the average quantity of CO2 that each person emitted over 40 years (from 1967 to 2007) in 4 European countries.

Key features: Questions to ask yourself

(In dynamic graphs, with changes happening over time):

  • What went up?
  • What went down?
  • HOW did they go up/down (dramatically? slowly?)
  • What was the highest?
  • What was the lowest?
  • What was similar?
  • What was different?
  • What was a bit weird? (usually something stands out – it ‘bucked the trend’)

Test yourself

(Difficult – come back later if you want to)

How to correct your own writing

In the Members Academy, I give you writing feedback every Friday, to guide you towards areas you can improve on.

But if you want to become an independent learner, you will need to find ways of correcting your own writing so that you can learn from your mistakes.

I did a research project about this topic (read it on my blog) and learnt a lot about the effectiveness of analysing your own mistakes.

I recommend that you always type on a Google Doc, so that you can keep all your writing in one place and it also highlights and corrects your mistakes.

A great place to check collocations and expressions is

Also, have you ever tried an online grammar checker for your writing? The basic plans are free and you can upgrade if you want.



Virtual Writing Tutor

Write and Improve

How the lesson will help:

This reviews some of the main points from Day 1 and helps you with a strategy to find simple trends in a more complicated graph.

It also introduces some of the language that will become automatic for you by the end of the course e.g. adjective + noun/ verb + adverb (more on that later!).

Why you need to do it:

Don’t describe: ANALYZE

As we saw in the Band Descriptors, IELTS Writing Task 1 does not want you to describe the graph with lots of obvious details – you need to analyze.

Finding key trends will help you analyze the data more effectively.

What you need to do:

1. Watch the video – pause if you want to (remember you can speed up or slow down the video using the little wheel in the bottom right-hand corner)

2. Review and test yourself with the PDF

3. Optional: Try out the suggested websites that correct your writing?

4. Extra practice – do the sample in Video 2 if you would like more practice.

5. Always keep a note of any of the ways you improved your writing today e.g. something you corrected, learnt or did differently.


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