Modified  Mar. 12, 2014

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Model Answer, Cambridge Practice IELTS Tests, Book 8, Test 4, Task 1


The graph below shows the quantities of goods transported in the UK between 1974 and 2002 by four different modes of transport. 


Summarize the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.


The graph titled, “Goods Transported in UK 1974-2002”, shows that the tonnages carried by road, water and pipeline all increased markedly over this period, while, in contrast, the amount of goods carried by rail was erratic and never experienced an increase from the 1974 figure.  

More specifically, rail tonnages remained constant at 40 million tonnes (mt) between 1974 and 1978, followed by a steep decline to 30 mt in 1984/5, after which they fluctuated, reaching a minimum point of 27mt in 1995/6, then only returning to the 1974 figure in 2001.

Road tonnages increased from 70 mt to 98 mt in an approximate straight line trend from 1974 to 2002, while pipeline tonnages also increased at an approximately uniform rate until about 1995, after which they remained constant until 2002 at 22 mt, a 340% increase from the 1974 figure of 5mt. The increase in water tonnages is attributed mainly to two periods of rapid increase, i.e., 40 mt to 57 mt between 1978 and 1981, followed by an increase from 52 mt to 62 mt between 1999 and 2002.

Noticeably, the year 1978 saw a turning point for all four modes of transport while 1995 saw a turning point for three of the four.


Word count = 205 



Quick calculations 

Pipeline increase = 22 - 5 = 17

% increase  = (17/5 x 100)%

1/5 = 20%, so (17/5 x 100) % = (17x20) % = 340%


(not used)

Water increase = 65 - 40 = 25

% increase = (25/40) % = (5/8) % (after dividing by 5)

1/8  = 12.5% so (5/8)% = (5x12.5)% = 62% 


In these Task 1 essays, in order to "summarize the information", you need to "describe the forest more than the trees", especially at the beginning of the essay, even though I did describe the rail  here in some detail in the first paragraph. 

I think you are most likely to get a 9 if the examiner thinks, “Wow, I could not write better than this myself!” This is where showing a bit of mathematical skill by doing a quick calculation or two might be very useful because many examiners would not be very mathematically minded.