In IELTS Writing Task 1, you have to summarise information which is presented in a visual form. There are a few forms you can come across - a line graph is one of them. This type of figure can be used to show trends. The horizontal axis often indicates time, and the vertical axis often shows changes over time.
Look at the example of a line graph presenting CPI (consumer price index) Inflation in Polad in 2018.
Remember you should spend about 20 minutes on this task and write at least 150 words.
In 2018 inflation in Poland fluctuated between 2.1% in January and reaching around 1.9% in December.
The first two months of the year marked a significant drop in CPI, reaching its lowest point of 1.5%. The situation remained stable until March and then the inflation started to increase steadily until June, when it stood at nearly 2.2%. Thereafter, the percentage fluctuated for two months. After reaching a high point in August, it began to decrease gradually, finally reaching almost 1.9%.
Overll, the graph shows the change in inflation in Poland during the period of 12 months, where the average inflation amounted to 1.81%.
How to write the task
Paraphrase the instructions, try to use varied language - use synonyms.
Focus on the main features. Don't describe all the points, describe the trend.
Use different forms. Don't use only numbers, give aproximates (e.g - nearly, almost).
Use verbs of change: rise, increase, drop, fluctuate, remain stable
Use adverbs after verbs: increase steadily, decrease gradually
Use noun phrases: a significant drop, a high point
Once again provide a short overview of the graph, use different forms than in the introduction
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Employees may want to take some time off for different reasons, or they are entitled to a holiday from work. Below you will find some vocabulary describing different types of holiday and time off work.
STATUTORY HOLIDAY is fixed by law
MATERNITY LEAVE is a period when a woman is away from work to have a baby (but is still paid)
PATERNITY LEAVE is a period of leave given to a father when his partner has a baby
UNPAID LEAVE is when an employee receives no money
SICK LEAVE is when an employee is ill and cannot come to work
CASUAL LEAVE is given to an employee to help him/her deal with personal affairs
GARDENING LEAVE is a period of leave during which an employee is not allowed into the company offices, usually after being dismissed
SABBATICAL is a period of paid or unpaid time off work for the purposes of research, study or travel, usually used by teachers, professors
PUBLIC HOLIDAY is when all employees in the country are allowed to take a day off (BANK HOLIDAY - UK, LEGAL HOLIDAY - US)
UNAUTHORISED ABSENCE FROM WORK is when an employee is away from work without permission and without a good reason (AWOL - absent without leave)
TIME OFF IN LIEU (TOIL) is when an employee gets time off from work instead of pay for overtime
HOW TO TALK ABOUT NUMBERS THAT ARE APPROXIMATE
If you don't know the exact figure, or simply don't want to give it, for any reason, you can use the adverbs meaning 'more or less'. There is a wide array of phrases you can use to describe the value without giving the precise number. Here you'll find a handful of them.
ABOUT, AROUND, ROUGHLY, IN THE REGION OF
There were roughly 250 participants at the conference.
It will cost in the region of a 1.5 m dollars.
after a figure
Only 15 or so people came to the meeting.
Let's meet at 4-ish, shall we?
NEARLY, ALMOST, JUST UNDER, JUST SHORT OF, THE BEST PART OF
a figure that is slightly less than the one stated
The company sold almost 1,000 items.
We'll be working on this project for the best part of 1.5 years.
The share price was just under 6.5 dollars.
UPWARDS OF, JUST OVER, A LITTLE OVER, SOMETHING OVER
a figure that is more than the one stated
It will cost upwards of 20 grand a month.
They earned just over 2.6 m euro on this transaction.
colloquial noun phrases like A BALL-PARK FIGURE, A GUESSTIMATE
can indicate that a figure is approximate
I can only give you a ball-park figure.
Pleas bear in mind that this total is just a guesstimate.
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Phrases used in news often contain metaphors
for example if two people are involved in struggle in courts of law they are involved in a legal battle, but they are not literally fighting. There are plenty of different metaphors connected with sport, fire, water or war which are commonly used in news reports to make articles more attractive.
a tight corner - a difficult situation
The CEO has got himself into a tight corner when he admitted to spending company's funds on private trips.
moving the goalposts - unfairly changing the rules during a course of action
The government is accused of moving the goal posts in terms of fiscal policy.
foul play - behaviour that is unfair
The competition was accused of foul play.
a level playing field - a situation in which everyone has the same opportunities.
The Ministry of Employment want a level playing field for all employed.
the ball's in someone's court - people wait for the action of the others because they have done what they could
I help her in any possible way, now the ball's in her court.
spark - cause something to start or develop
The company is trying to solve the problem of work overload as it can spark further workers' burnout.
a blazing row - a very nasty argument
My parents had a blazing row last night.
burning - very strong
He had a burning desire to succeed in his new role.
blaze a trail - do something no one else has done before
Our scientist made a breakthrough and blazed a trail for others in the field.
a storm of protest - a lot of people express strong feelings against something
There has been a storm of protest over the new legislation.
flood - appear in large numbers at the same time
Before Christmas we are usually flooded with orders .
a drop in the ocean - a very small amount compared with what is needed
The money the hospital gets from the government is a drop in the ocean.
a sea of something - a large amount of something
She looked out over a sea of smiling faces.
Magnates, Moguls, Tycoons
These are the names commonly used, especially by journalists, to refer to people in charge of big business empires. These words often combine as follows:
Among famous magnates you will find for example: Henry Ford, Martha Stewart, George Soros, Andrew Carnegie, and many more.
Among richest movie moguls you will find for example: George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Thomas Tull, James Cameron, and others.
And of course, most famous tech tycoons are Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, and others.
Sorrow can be alleviated by good sleep, a bath and a glass of wine.
We all know this feeling of being tired in the morning right now in autumn. We want to sleep! We don't want to go to work or school. All we want is to stay in bed a bit longer. Not everyone can afford to sleep long enough, yet sleep is very important for our health and if you are deprived of it, you may suffer both physically and mentally.
How to talk about sleep
to crash out
to go to bed (informal)
I'm tired, I'm going to crash out.
to doze off
to fall asleep for a short time, without an intention
The lecture was so boring that I dozed off.
to hit the sack
to go to bed (informal)
I need to get up very early tomorrow. I'm going to hit the sack.
to nod off
to fall asleep, often in a sitting position
While watching a match I nodded off and didn't see the final.
to wake up later than intended, usually as the result you are late for something
Your boss will fire you if you oversleep again.
to lie in / to have a lie-in
to intentionally stay in bed and get up at a later time than normal
I'm so tired today that I think I will have a lie-in. It's Sunday, after all.
to sleep over
to sleep the night at another person's house
Mum, can I sleep over at Mary's tonight?
to be sound asleep
to be sleeping deeply
Be quiet! The kids are fast asleep.
to toss and turn all night
to sleep badly moving and changing position in bed
I spent the whole night tossing and turning - I couldn't stop thinking about today's exam.
to be wide awake
to be completely awake
It's two o'clock in the morning and I'm wide awake as I am still working on my presentation.
not to get a wink of sleep
not to sleep at all (especially all night)
My husband was snoring so badly that I couldn't get a wink of sleep last night.
Problems with sleep
Many people suffer from different problems connected with sleep. Here are some of the most common ones:
If you have insomnia you feel as if you don't get enough sleep at night, or you may have trouble falling asleep.
The noise that is produced while breathing.
It is a disorder that causes excessive daytime sleepiness.
Sleepwalkers can do many activities which may be dangerous, for example leaving the house while they are asleep.
If you are sleep deprived, it may have negative impact on you private and professional life. Watch Arianna Huffington and discover the power of sleep: How to succeed? Get more sleep.
BEC EXAM VANTAGE - SPEAKING PART 1
BEC exams are accepted by many employers worldwide as a proof of your competence in English and readiness to work successfully in international business.
To find out about the structure of the exam you can visit Cambridge English: Business Vantage.
The productive skills such as writing and speaking, which you have to demonstrate during the exam, seem to be most problematic, while listening and reading don't appear to cause so much trouble.
Below you will find a collection of questions which you might come across in Part 1 - which is a conversation between you and the examiner, and my proposal how to answer one of them.
How to approach Speaking Part 1:
Questions you may be asked in BEC Vantage Speaking Part 1:
1. What types of business are most sucessful in your home own?
2. Which aspects of business interest you most?
3. What training would you most like to have in the future?
4. Do you think companies should provide training for all staff?
5. Is it better to attend a full-time or part-time training course?
6. What kinds of work are most popular in your home town?
7. Which aspect of your work/studies do you enjoy most?
8. What are you planning to do next in your career?
9. Do you use computers much in your work/studies?
10. What changes in business do you expecct will happen in the future?
11. What kind of job would you most like to have?
12. What are the main products made in your home town?
13. How important do you think suitable packaging is for products?
14. What attract you to buy particular products?
15. What types of business in general do you think will be most successful in the future?
Below you will find my answer to:
5. Is it better to attend a full-time or part-time training course?
I am of the opinion that providing your employees with training is one of the core responsibilities of an employer, who first should identify needs for it and then try to make a plan of training and realise it. Whether it is better to attend a full-time or part-time training course very much depends on a few factors like the length of training, its frequency, intensity and so on. Based on these, an employer should decide whether his/her employee will be able to attend a training course without his performance being affected. It also crucial to consider the effectiveness of a full-time intensive course, as participants who for example take part in 8-hour training every day for a week are simply overloaded. To sum up, what I think is that attending a full-time or part-time training course must be decided upon taking into account things such as: the availability of course and attendants, their needs, intensity of the course and employer's budget.
Did you find this article helpful? If yes, why not dropping a comment below, or maybe you will try to answer one of the questions above?
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I also encourage you to watch a short video, where you will see how this part of exam looks like:
When you are poor or in debt:
abject poverty - terrible poverty
Half the people in this country are living in abject poverty.
to live from hand to mouth - to barely manage financially
Many people are so poor that they live from hand to mouth.
can't make ends meet - find it difficult to manage financially
On a salary like his, it's not surprising that he can't make ends meet.
to be heavily in debt - to owe sb/the institution a lot of money
We are heavily in debt to the bank.
an outstanding debt - a debt that you have not paid
You must pay these outstanding debts immediately.
to be overdrawn - to be in debt to the bank because you have spent more money than you have in your account
Mary is $100 overdrawn at the bank.
to pay off/clear your debts - to pay the money you owe
We'll buy a new care once we have cleared our debts.
to be short of money - to have very little money
I'd love to go, but I'm a bit short of money at the moment.
Companies which export or import goods use standard arrangements called INCOTERMS (International Commercial Terms), established by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) that state the responsibilities of the buyer and the seller.
Incoterms can be divided into 4 groups:
E Terms (Departure)
F Terms (Free, Main Carriage Unpaid)
C Terms (Main Carriage Paid)
D Terms (Delivered/Arrival)
EXW / EX WORKS - the buyer collects the goods at the seller's own premises and arranges insurance against loss or damage to the goods in transit
FCA or Free Carrier - the goods are delivered to a named place where the carrier can load them onto a means of transport
FAS - Free Alongside Ship - the seller delivers the goods to the quay next to the ship in the port
FOB - Free On Board - the seller pays for loading the goods onto the ship
CFR - Cost and Freight (for ocean freight) and CPT - Carriage Paid To (for air freight and land freight) - the buyer is responsible for insurance
CIF - Cost, Insurance and Freight (for ocean freight) and CIP - Carriage and Insurance Paid To (for air freight and land freight) - the seller arranges and pays for insurance
D Terms - the seller pays all the costs involved in transporting the goods to the country of destination, including insurance.
DAF - Delivered At Frontier - the importer is responsible for preparing the documentation and getting the goods through customs
DES - Delivered Ex Ship - the buyer pays for unloading the goods from the ship
DEQ - Delivered Ex Quay - the seller pays for unloading the goods from the ship to the quay, and for the payment of customs duties and taxes
DDU - Delivered Duty Unpaid - the buyer pays any imort taxes
DDP - Delivered Duty Paid - the seller pays any import taxes
There are moments we know someone is not telling truth, or basically they are lying. Obviously, we can simply call them a liar, but you may try some other phrases which could be less straightforward or neutral, or you may decide not to mince words and call a spade a spade. Learn some new phrases below:
You're pulling my leg.
That's a bit of an exaggeration.
He's stretching the truth.
He's not telling the whole truth.
She's being economical with truth.
His story is fishy.
That's an outright lie.
That's a pack of lies.
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