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Thursday, March 14, 2019


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Thank you so much !

A native speaker told me that should not use phrase "It is clear that/ it is noticeable that" on task 1 's overview. She said, "Do not write clauses like these. They do not describe the figure. They are your opinions." "Avoid the use of "figure" in Task 1", she said again.

What do you think about that?

Hoàng Nguyễn

British Council states that both tasks in the Academic test must be written in formal style, but they do not specify 'academic' style.

The Task 1 report must present a clear overview of main trends, differences or stages. That is what an examiner is looking for in assessing the overview.

The two phrases you mention are somewhat redundant, but (in my view) would not affect the score one way or the other.

Looking at the model answer provided by the British Council themselves here:


please note that they themselves use "figure" to refer to a number, so this must be okay.

Also note that they use anthropomorphic verbs such as "[The last decade] has seen", so it seems that there is no need to be overly rigorous about having to use only strictly academic wording.

Thanks a lot. it is extremely useful!

Hi Simon, I’m quite confused about how to use the word “proportion”, I mean, in your essay you wrote “the proportions of...” with “s”. However, when I look it up in OxfordDictionary, it is said that “the proportion” without “s” is the synonym of “the percentage” and the one with “s” is explained as measurements and dimensions.

Can you please explain it in more details for me?
Look forward to hearing your answer.
Thank you for the essay, too.


'Proportion' is usually singular. See here:


Simon has used the plural in the following phrase because there are six pairs of proportions: the proportions of Australian males and females in six age categories.

Note that the plural is also used with a special meaning:

Very informative. Thanks Sir Simon

Hoàng Nguyễn,

I disagree with the advice that you were given.

Hi, Simon, may I have some comments on the first two paragraphs?

The chart illustrates the proportion of Australian males and females in six age categories who had the habit of doing regualr physical exercise in 2010.

It is clear that females aged 45 to 54 occupied the highest percentage of doing physical activity, while the lowest was made by the group of males in 35 to 44. Roughly speaking, the proportion of females took regular physical exercise overtook that of males in all age categories, except the group in 15 to 24.

Thank you, and we really appreciate your lessons!

sorry for the mistake "regualr", --> regular

I got confused with the last part of the sentence. Doesn't " while males aged 35 to 44 did the least physical activity" means the amount of physical activity done by males age 35 to 44 and not the proportion of male that have regular physical exercise?

Hi Simon,

I just want to say thank you.

Your website and the way you teach are amazing. You always remind us to think simple yet accurate and I think I agree with you, sometimes I just think unnecessary complicated words or phrases to get better score. I was wrong and I found the lesson from you mostly writing task easy to digest.

Hope everything goes well. I’ll take a test this Tuesday

Why is it proportionally? I see Simon wanted to describe the contrasting figure of female and male in age group 35-44; female had the highest figure while that of male was the lowest among other age groups. Please somebody explain to me! I would appreciate the help!

How did you know

"close to half of Australian adults did some kind of routine physical activity in 2010" ?

Hi Simon,
Thanks for your sample essay. I have two questions if you don't mind.

1. Could you explain a little more on the usage of "but also" in the sentence below? I often see this phrase in conjunction of "not only" only.

In the youngest age category (15 to 24), almost 53% of Australian men but only 47.7% of women did regular physical activity in 2010.

2. Referring to the phrase "Some kind of routine physical activity", isn't it enough to paraphrase "regular" to "routine"? Wouldn't "some kind of" sound a bit informal? Plus, when to add "s" after the word "kind"?

Thank you.

The bar chart provides information about Australian men and women in various age groups doing regular physical activity in 2010 in percentage.

Initially, women with age of 15 to 24 are doing more physical activity. Later it was reverse men with the age of 25 to 64 are doing more physical activity than women. Finally, there is a slight difference between men and women with the age of 65 and above.

To begin with 52.8% of men with age of 15 to 24 doing regular physical activity. Later it was fallen to 42.2% with age of 25 to 34 and again decreases to 39.5% with age of 35 to 44. Next, it shows an increasing trend of 43.1% and 45.1% with age of 45 to 54 and 55 to 64 respectively. Finally, it rose to 46.7% with age of 65 and above.

The daily physical activity doing by men with the age of 15 to 24 is 47.7%. Moreover, it is increased to 48.9% and 52.5% with the age of 25 to 34 and 35 to 44. Men with the age of 45 to 54 hitting the highest percentage of 53.3 in 2010. After it shows a decreasing trend of 53% and 47% with age of 55 to 64 and above.

"Age category"? Is it a usual word combination?


The best way to find out is to use Google.

When I search for "age category" (don't forget the speech marks), I get 2.4 million results. The first few results are from reliable sources, so this suggests that it's a natural collocation.

The chart compares the Australian males' and females' physical activity on a regular basis according to six age categories in the year 2010.
Overall, women older than 25 tended to be more physically active rather than men of the same age, while the opposite is true for men and women under 24. It is safe to say that both men's and women's percentages showed fluctuations during the ages.

Men's physical activity declined significantly at the age of 15-24 to 35-44 (from 52.8% to 39.5%) and after 44 there was a declining trend in the amount of men's exercise ( reduced about 7%). On the other hand, the percentage of Australian women doing regular physical activity increased at the age of 44, almost did not differ until the age of 64 and then reduced.

The amount of physical activity of the women aged between 45 to 54, which is the highest, accounted for 53.3% and the lowest, which was contributed to women over 65, accounted for 47.1%, whereas the highest percentage of physical activity in men stood at 52.8% for whom at age of 15-24 and the lowest was 39.5% for men aged between 35 to 44.

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