Tuesday, 23 October 2012


Babak sketsa ini melibatkan pelajar-pelajar yang ada dan tiada asas seni silat. Namun berkat kesabaran dan ketekunan mereka, mereka telah berjaya dalam mempersembahkan sketsa ini dengan  baik. Syabas!!!

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Writing about Graphs: Overview

Before you Begin

Underline key words. Write related words – turn nouns into verbs, verbs into nouns, adjectives into adverbs, etc. Write opposite words, similar words, synonyms, etc.
Circle and highlight the graph. Use arrows. Make notes. Circle the biggest, the smallest. stable or unchanging parts, sudden increases, etc.
Identify trends. A trend is the overall idea of the graph
  • what is happening/what happened
  • the main change over time
  • the most noticeable thing about the graph
  • the pattern over time
  • the pattern for different places or groups or people.
Most MUET  graphs will have two trends, or there will be two graphs with a trend in each. I would suggest that you leave this and proceed to building your analysis and your synthesis first. (Skip 2 - 3 lines). Come back to this once you have finished your analysis and synthesis. 
Most of my students asked me the number of analysis and synthesis they are required to write. This is what i tell them:
1. Build one analysis / synthesis.

While you Write: Layout

  • First sentence: Describe the graph. You can use some slightly different words or word forms from those on the question paper, but be careful to give the full information. Start “The graph shows
  • Second sentence: This gives the trend or trends. You can put two trends in this sentence or only one – you could keep the other one for the conclusion. Start “Overall, …”
Paragraph 1: Trend 1
  • Start with a sentence with no number. “City size increased sharply over the period.” “The most obvious trend in the graph is that women are having fewer babies.” “Oil production has increased slightly in all the countries in the graph”
  • Follow this sentence with an example (sentence with number) and perhaps another example (another sentence with number). Keep alternating.
Paragraph 2: Trend 2
  • Start with a sentence with no number. “City size increased sharply over the period.”
  • Give an example (sentence with number) and perhaps another example (Sentence with number)
  • Finish by repeating the main trends, or identify a second trend. Use different vocabulary.
  • Don’t have any numbers in the conclusion (you could use words like “most”, “the majority” “a minority”, “a small number”).
  • Don’t give an opinion.
While You Write: Some Don’ts
  • Don’t describe the X and Y axis. Give the information.
  • Don’t write about everything on the graph. Pick the biggest, the smallest, the main points, the main trends. Group similar things together
  • Don’t write about the line or the bar: “The line went up,” “The bar went down.” Instead, write about the idea. “The number of people going to work by train increased gradually.” “Oil production shot up in 1965”
  • Make sure you write about the idea. Don’t use shorthand: “Men went up.” “Women went down.” Instead, write about the real data: “The number of men at university fell dramatically,” “The percentage of female students getting a degree rose suddenly.”
  • Don’t use “I feel”, “as I have written,” “as you can see,” etc. Keep it academic. In IELTS, you can give your opinions in Task 2. In Task 1 (writing about a graph or visual data) you just report what you see.
  • Don’t start sentences with But, So, Also, And, For, Since, Because, Although
  • Do you really need four paragraphs in IELTS Task 1? No! (You definitely need them for Task 2). But it’s good to think about four paragraphs. It will help you to organize your writing. So go ahead and write four paragraphs, or at least three (intro, body, conclusion).

Word Length and Sentence Length

Make sure you have 150 words. You should have some short sentences (about 6-10 words) and some long ones (12-18) words, but your average should be about 12 or 13 words per sentence.
A sentence without a number will usually be short. Use a mix – a sentence without a number followed by a sentence or two with a number.

Guideline to Graph Writing

What are Graphs and Charts?

Graphs, charts, and tables are ways of presenting information. Graphs and charts are pictures which show numbers or figures, and tables are just rows and columns of information.
This a table. It shows the population of the world’s top ten cities in 2011.
2SeoulSouth Korea20,550,000
3Mexico CityMexico20,450,000
4New York CityUSA19,750,000
7Sáo PauloBrazil18,850,000
Here is the same data (for the top ten cities) in a bar chart. Which is easier to read or understand – the table or the bar chart?

Graphs: Main Idea

One of the most important things to do is get the main idea of the graph.
First, identify the main features of the graph. What is happening? What are the biggest numbers? If it is a time graph, what are the biggest changes? What are the trends? 

In this particular exercise, the trend is defined as the movement of a datum from a point of origin to a specific destination. Each movement is called a trend. The movements can be within the graph or between two or more graphs. Identifying these movements will plan your writing better. 

Use a Pen!

Ideally you need to find one main idea and, if possible, one or two more smaller ideas.
  • Don’t have too much information
  • Don’t analyze or explain everything in the graph
  • Don’t go from left to right, explaining everything. Instead pick the main ideas.
  • Use the biggest and next biggest – don’t mention everything in between.
  • Don’t mention the small or unimportant stuff
  • Pick an idea and find information that supports it
Study the graph. Print it out. Write on it. Circle the important points – beginnings, endings, sudden changes, low points, high points, trends, averages, differences between lines, differences over time. 

Identify the movements that you would like to highlight; the origin and the destination. This will guide and confine you to analyze / synthesize only that movement. 

Sometimes there is just too much information in a graph. You may need to group information. Grouping information means putting two or three similar or related things together.
If there are two graphs, find the common denominators; same year, same products, shared information. Data movements can only be analyzed / synthesized from these graphs if they shared these key features. 
For an example, if the first graph is about 'Food and Beverage Consumption 1990 to 2000' and the second is about 'The sales of Food and Beverage in 2000', synthesizing can only be obtained of information in 'Food and Beverage Consumption of 2000' and 'The sales of Food and Beverage in 2000' because they share the same denominators - the year 2000.
You need to know some special vocabulary for graphs.
In the MUET exam, you have to write between 150 - 200 words, so show how much vocabulary you know. You don’t need to repeat the same words.

Movement (verbs) up:
  • Rose
  • Went up
  • Increased
  • Grew
  • Shot up
  • Surged
  • Rocketed
  • Soared
  • Climbed up
  • Boomed
Movement (verbs) down :

  • Fell
  • Declined
  • Dropped
  • Decreased
  • Sank
  • Went down
  • Plunged
  • Plummeted
  • Dipped
  • Nose dived
  • Slumped
  • Reduced

No movement:

  • remained steady
  • were unchanged
  • did not change
  • remained constant
  • remained stable
  • remained steady
  • stabilized
  • plateaued
  • consistent
  • maintained the same level
Tops and bottoms:

  • reached a peak
  • peaked
  • reached their highest level
  • pinnacle (noun)
  • tip
  • roofed
  • summit (noun)
  • fell to a low
  • sank to a trough
  • reached a bottom
Describing the degree of change:




Describing the speed of change


A sample writing:
The graph shows the London Underground Stations Passengers. It depicts a fluctuation in the number of people at a London underground station over the course of a day.
The busiest time of the day is in the morning. There is a sharp increase between 06:00 and 08:00, with a difference of 400 people using the station at 8 o’clock. After this, the numbers drop quickly of 200 at 10 o’clock. Between 11 am and 3 pm the number rises, 150 people with a plateau of just under 300 people using the station each hour.
In the afternoon, numbers decline, 200 people  using the station at 4 pm. There is then a rapid rise to a peak of 380 at 6pm. After 7 pm, numbers fall significantly, 450 people with only a slight increase again at 8pm, tailing off after 9 pm of 50 people.
Overall, the graph shows that the station is most crowded in the early morning and early evening periods.

Vocabulary Tips

  • Don’t repeat verbs
  • Before you start to write, make a list of synonyms (words with the same meaning)
  • See how many ways you can rephrase the title of the graph. Use one in the introduction and another in the conclusion with the same meaning
  • Be careful with prepositions. They can make a big difference in meaning. For example, “rose by” is very different from “rose to.” Learn your verbs with the preposition that goes with them.

Graphs: The Vocabulary of Numbers

Look at the following table which shows a number in different years (1990-1995) :
There are some special words for numbers, fractions and percentages.
You could describe the above table using numbers, fractions orpercentages:
  • The number went up by 600, from 1200 to 800. (Number)
  • The number went up by half, from 1200 to 1800. (Fraction)
  • The figure went up by 50%, from 1200 to 1800. Percentage)
  • The figure went up 150%, to 1800. (Percentage)
Use “trebled,” “-fold,” and “times:”
  • The number doubled between 1992 and 1994.
  • The number trebled between 1994 and 1996.
  • The figure quadrupled from 1996 to 1998
  • There was a twofold increase between 1992 and 1994.
  • The figure went up sixfold between 1992 and 1996.
  • The figure in 1996 was three times the 1992 figure.
  • The figure in 1998 was four times the 1996 figure.
Use Fractions:
  • Between 1992 and 1994, the figure fell by one-fifth.
  • Between 1994 and 1996, the number dropped by a half.
  • The figure in 1998 was one-tenth the 1992 total.