ielts table chart

Describing a table in IELTS is the same as describing the a bar graph. In the table question, you need to compare and contrast the data that is given. While writing, we need to ensure that it is unique and engaging.

How to describe a table in IELTS writing?

There are different ways in which you can describe an IELTS table. Some of them are listed below:

Summarizing the Table

In order to describe the table, you should analyze whether the question is in the past, present or the future and the answer should be composed accordingly. Alongside,  you are also required to build a ielts task 1 table vocabulary list which will help you to explain the question effectively.

Dividing the data

You can divide the data given into different sections so that it is easy for you to explain and also to understand. You can also find out data which is unique.

Clearly state your point

The way you structure your answer is very important because it reflects your flow of thoughts. You can create your own structure as there are no hard and fast rules to it. One way to explain the given data is to divide the main features into different paragraphs. This will enable you to state your point about each main feature.

Compare and Contrast data with exceptions

Usually, there will be 2 paragraphs to explain the main features of the data given. In the first paragraph, you can give an overview of the data that is given. In the second paragraph, you can talk in-depth about the table. And as a conclusion, you can write a detailed summary of everything.

Tips for interpreting a table in IELTS

Here are some of the tips on how you can write the table that is given in the IELTS examination:

  • The test takers are asked to include all the main features in the overview paragraph while writing the test. You need to keep in mind that you have to write multiple main features, in order to score a high band.
  • Divide the points into different paragraphs. So it will be easy for you also to explain, as well as readable for the examiner.
  • You don’t have to give all the details included in the table. Just write the main features which are available and explain it properly so that it is effective.
  • Do not try to include every detail. Select some areas in the graph which will be easy for you to explain.
  • It is mandatory that you write 150 words else you be penalized. You should also bear in mind that your explanation does not exceed 200 words.
  • You can use some linking words while explaining your data. They will make it professional and you can complete 150 words quickly. But, make sure that the linking words are used appropriately.
  • When you write the explanation try not to repeat words or sentences.
  •  Paraphrasing skills will be a great asset.

Some linking words

  • As long as/Provided that

Eg : You can use the water purifier as long as/provided that it doesn’t remove the essential nutrients.

  • Although/Even though

Eg: Although/Even though he is knowledgeable, he didn’t perform well in the exams.

  • Even if

Eg: Even if they win the match, they can’t make it to the finals.

  • Wherever

Eg: Use adjectives wherever necessary.

  • Whenever

Eg: Drink water whenever you feel hungry.

  • Whereas

Eg: Tom and Dick are brothers. Tom is intelligent whereas Dick is not.

  • Whatever

Eg: Please do whatever I say.

  • So that

Eg: She dressed up early so that she could be in time for the function.

  • In spite of/despite

Eg: Despite/In spite of repeated reminders, Sarah’s team did not fill the timesheet.

Testing Criteria

There are some criteria on which the explanation is tested. Please find below, the criteria by which you are evaluated:

  • How precisely you can describe the data that is mentioned on the table.
  • How well you can compare and contrast the data that is given.
  • When describing a table, you have to explain what is mentioned and not give your own opinion.
  • Usage of tone is also taken into account.

Guidelines to write a good answer

There are few guidelines to be followed to write a good answer to the table question. They are:

The explanation should have a proper structure

The explanation given should be in a proper structure including the introduction, the body paragraph as well as the conclusion. It will be good if the explanation also has connective words so that you can write 150 words quickly and ensure it is cohesive.

The explanation should have suitable grammar and vocabulary

You should make sure that the sentences used in the explanation are not repetitive. They should be unique with a good vocabulary.

The explanation should meet the requirements of the task given

The explanation should compulsorily be of 150 words. Anything less than that may result in a penalty. The main features of the table should be highlighted and explained appropriately, and the important trends on the table must be captured or highlighted appropriately.


What is a table in IELTS?

A table is a visual information which contains words, numbers or signs, or a combination of these, displayed in columns and rows to illustrate some data and the relationship between them.

What are some of the linking words that can be used, when describing a table?

“Overall”, “From this perspective”, “On the other hand”, “in terms of”, “as opposed to” etc are some of the examples.

What is the structure for interpreting a table?

Introduction/ Overview
Body paragraphs – Detailed explanation using data from the table

In how many words, can we describe the table?

Not less than 150 words.

Can I give my opinion on the table?

No. You only have to summarize the facts given on the table.

Written By

Misbah Kagad is a Content Marketing Specialist, currently working as IELTS Trainer at Experience Expert with a demonstrated history of working in the education management industry. Skilled in Copywriting, Web Content writing, Management, IELTS and Research. Strong professional with a Diploma focused in Computer Science... Currently helping aspirants to crack IELTS, with tips and tricks to score a bandwidth of 8 and more. Handles the ideation and creation of compelling content including content for IELTS website, writing e-books and solving previous IELTS question papers…

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