Here are two useful questions that people have asked me about the overview paragraph that I shared in last week's lesson, with my answers below.
1) Are two points always enough for the overview? Can we add a third point?
I believe that it's best to stick to just two main or general points, even if you can see other general trends that could be mentioned. Here are four reasons: First, I would rather describe two things well and then move on to the details. Second, I think the overview loses its impact if it becomes too long - it stops being a summary. Third, one of the requirements of task 1 is that you "select" information; you are not expected to describe everything. Finally, I like to have a method and stick to it, so I know what to do without having to think too much.
2) Is it better to put the overview after the introduction or at the end of the report?
Both positions are fine. However, I prefer to write the overview straight after the introduction for two reasons: First, I find it easier to describe general information before looking at specific details. Second, I know that the overview is very important. If you want a good score, you need to take the time to write a good overview; when people write the overview at the end, they often find themselves rushing and they do a bad job!