The Charts Below Show the Main Reasons for Study Among Students

The charts below show the main reasons for study among students of different age groups and the amount of support they received from employers.

This essay question is from Cambridge IELTS 5 Test 2 Writing Task 1.

Reasons for study according to age of student

reasons for study according to age of student

Employer support, by age group

(Time off and help with fees)

employer support by age group

Sample Essay

The graphs show by age group why students studied and how much support they received from their employers. < Watch the video at 00:41 to learn the use of “by age group”. >

Overall, while the percentage of students studying to pursue a career decreased throughout the age bands, the percentage studying for personal interest increased. The two younger age groups received more support from their employers than the three older groups.

Most people in the three youngest age brackets studied for a career, although the number declined from roughly 80% of the under-26s to 55% of 30- to 39-year-olds. The decline continued and only around 20% of the over-49s studied for career purposes.

Only 10% of students in the youngest age bracket studied because of personal interest. However, the percentage climbed steadily with increasing age and reached the same level as the percentage studying for a career in the 40-49 age group, at 40%. Growth continued and peaked in the oldest age group, with 70% of students in this group studying for interest.

65% of students under 26 and 50% of those aged 26-29 received support from their employers. However, support dropped to the lowest level in the 30-39 age bracket, at 30%. Above that, support grew only slightly to 40% for those over 49. (201 Words)

What Tense to Use

The introductory text of the graphs uses the simple past “received”. This means the data represents something in the past and is not up-to-date, so we should use the simple past as well.

Increasing Age

  • The percentage of students studying for a career climbs with increasing age.

Increasing age doesn’t mean that the same people are getting older. It means that if you arrange all the students surveyed into age order, then the phenomenon you are measuring (the percentage of them studying for a career) decreases as the age category increases.

Above That

The adverbs above can be used with age. For example, we could say that anyone above the age of 18 is allowed to become a member of our club. In the example below, above that would be short for “above that age”

  • Support dropped to the lowest level in the 30-39 age bracket, at 30%. Above that, support rose only slightly to 40% for the over-49s.

Age Groups

Under 26
  • The under-26s
  • The youngest age group
  • The youngest age bracket
  • Students under 26
  • 26- to 29-year-olds
  • Students aged 26-29
  • The 26-29 age group/bracket
Over 49
  • The oldest age group
  • The oldest age bracket
  • Students over 49
  • The over-49s

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