The Charts Below Show the Proportion of British Students

Lilie King

Lilie King

Scored a 7 on the Writing Test Twice

The charts below show the proportions of British students at one university in England who were able to speak other languages in addition to English, in 2000 and 2010.

This essay question is from Cambridge IELTS 11 Test 2 Writing Task 1.

the charts below show the proportions of british students

Sample Essay

The pie charts display the percentages of British students from one English university who were able to speak languages other than English in 2000 and 2010.

Overall, the proportion of students who were able to speak other languages went up in 2010, with Spanish being the most commonly spoken one in both years.

Those who only spoke Spanish accounted for the greatest proportions of students in both 2000 and 2010, at 30 and 35 percent respectively. With an increase to 20 and 15 percent, those who spoke another language and those who spoke two other languages became the second and third largest groups in 2010. The proportion of those who spoke no other languages, in comparison, dropped by half to only 10 percent.

Of those who were able to speak other languages, French-only speakers were the only group whose proportion experienced a decline from 15 to 10 percent, while the proportion of German-only speakers stayed at 10 percent.

158 Words

Common Mistakes

Please don’t use “a foreign language” or “a second language” to paraphrase “another language”, because an increasing number of British school pupils have a first language which isn’t English and this will eventually work its way through to college and university student level. You can’t call someone’s first language a second or foreign language. So, don’t worry about repeating “another language”.

How to Write the Overview Paragraph

It would be too detailed if you say which categories increased, which ones decreased, and which ones remained unchanged. In this paragraph, we are better to look at the bigger picture: see all the yellow slices as a whole. Then, you will find that as a whole, it increased.

the charts below show the proportions of british students at one university

Here, I’m treating all the yellow slices as a whole, as the only alternative to “students who were not able to speak another language”. That’s why I used the singular form “proportion” instead of the plural form “proportions”.

Overall, the proportion of students who were able to speak other languages went up in 2010, with Spanish being the most commonly spoken one in both years.

Another reason for not saying “proportions” is that not all proportions increased. For example, “French-only” decreased.
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