Academic Writing Task 1 #4 Bar Graph – School Qualifications

The graph shows the percentage of males and females who hold each type of qualification in 2005 in NZ.
Summarise the information in the charts and make comparisons where appropriate.


The bar chart shows the percentage of males and females who completed various educational qualifications in NZ in 2005.

Nearly 90% of people who completed trade certificates were male compared to a figure of around 10% for females. The reason for this difference is likely to be that skilled trade certificate courses comprise mainly male dominated trades such as plumbing, brick laying and carpentry.

In contrast, diplomas and bachelor’s degrees are more female dominated with 62% and 55% of people completing these qualifications being female. The figures for males are less than 50% (38% and 45%, respectively). This reflects the fact that many females prefer to work in an office environment performing administration or professional based tasks.

For higher qualifications (postgraduate diplomas and master’s or PhD degrees), there are a higher proportion of males (62% and 74%) compared to females (38% and 26%) who completed these degrees. This difference is most likely to be due to the preference of females to focus on families at the expense of higher education.

Essay Notes

The aim of a strong Task 1 response is to allow a reader who has not seen the graph to reproduce the graph from the text. The focus should be on describing key trends rather than providing many numbers.

The introduction should be a single sentence that describes the type of graph and the two axes of the graph. After reading the first sentence the reader should be able to draw and label the axes and put a title to the graph. Students should not list the five types of qualifications because there are too many to list.

A key decision is to divide the data in to two or three logical parts. In this response the decision has been made to divide the data into three paragraphs based on presenting qualifications in the order that they are presented in the graph (lowest to highest). The first covers the male dominated trade certificates, the second describes female dominated diplomas and degrees while the third covers male dominated higher qualifications. An equally valid approach to this question is to use two paragraphs and divide based on gender.

A key difficulty with this question is that there is very little data, which means that either the data must be described in precise detail or the reasons for patterns in the data must be discussed. In this case each of the body paragraphs has two sentences. The first describes the data and the second describes probable reasons for the results.