The essay below shows an example of a line graph essay question, where the data (applications) for the same categories (subjects) are shown across different time periods.

This is an example of a trend diagram. For most test-takers, diagrams including time changes are most easily described by focusing on the changes rather than the relative sizes of the categories.

Remember, you should always include a variety of sentence types and vary the way numbers are reported. The model essay below contains many examples for you to consider in your own writing.


You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

The graph below shows student applications for different subjects at a university in the UK from 2008 to 2018.

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

Write at least 150 words.

Model Essay

The line graph details the number of students who applied for four subjects, namely biology, physics, Chinese and English, at a British university during a ten-year period between 2011 and 2018. Units are in thousands.

In general, total numbers for science subjects increased throughout the ten years, while conversely, applications for language subjects fell overall.

Applications for biology started at around fifty thousand in 2008 and despite some minor fluctuations remained stable at this level until 2018, never rising by more than four or five thousand applicants. Even though there was a minor fall in applications from 2015 to 2016, the number of applications submitted for physics rose considerably from just under thirty thousand to in excess of fifty thousand, surpassing biology to become the highest figures in 2018. The result was an overall rise in science applications. 

Turning to language subjects, due to a rise of roughly twenty-five thousand applications for English, total language applicants increased significantly by around 25 thousand in the first five years. However, in the second half of the period, figures for both English and Chinese plummeted by approximately twenty and thirty thousand respectively, meaning that by 2018 total figures for language subjects had declined significantly. 

203 words

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