The aim of this exercise is to help students extract information from data presented in a table.
The exercise helps students:
- to extract specific information from a table;
- to write a text under guidance;
- to extract information at speed
- to be aware of grammar as they write.
Level: The exercise may be used with a range of levels.
Materials: (see related pages below)
- a table showing the review ratings of several performances of plays, with a Key
- a series of questions for guided writing with pre-oral preparation
- a series of questions with text for completion
- a text with gaps for completion
- a key
You may want to shorten the sequence below or use any item on its own.
Guided writing 1
- Divide the students into pairs or groups of three and give them each a copy of the table and the questions in Exercise 1.
- Tell them they have 10-15 minutes (depending on the level of the class) to answer the questions relating to the table. Tell the students that they are not allowed to write, even to make notes.
- Or give the students the table in pairs and give them five minutes to look at it together. Then ask the questions to the class as a whole, developing or adding to the questions. If you can, follow the sequence of the questions.
- Or ask the questions to the class and then get the students, in pairs, to write down the answers. Set a specific time limit for each question.
- Or put the students into groups of four and turn it into a competition with a time limit.
If the class is of a high level, you may want to limit the time for the exercise to mimic the extraction and organization of information in the students’ heads in the exam. Use a stop-watch and point out that you are going to stick to the time limit strictly. Over a period of using exercises for exam practice you can gradually decrease the time allowed. Note: intersperse this with exercises without time limits.
Guided writing 2
- Give the students Guided Writing 2 and ask them to complete - in pairs or groups - the blanks in the text.
- Tell the students to go though the text first and decide what types of words they need to complete the text: names, adjectives, prepositions, adverbs, etc. Then they should put in the words.
- Again you may wish to limit the time.
Guided writing 3
- Finally give the students Guided Writing 3 and ask them not to look at Guided Writing 2. Tell them that they may, however, look at the questions in Guided Writing 1 and the table itself.
- Tell the students to got though the text and decide what types of words they need to complete the text: names, adjectives, prepositions, adverbs, etc. Use the examples to explain and start the exercise.
- Then ask the students to go though and write in the words they think are missing.
- Accept words that are not in the Key but which fit.
- Give the students the Key and ask them to compare what they have written.
- Do not mark the answers in the text. Looking for the exact answers will help students look at the grammar.
- Allow them to ask to you questions.
Ask the students to describe in sentences going round the class. Do not allow the text to continue unless the language is correct.
- Ask the student to put all the exercises away or cover them.
- Ask them to produce sentences or a text about the information in the table.
- Read out a selection of the sentences/texts produced by the students.
- If you have classes of different levels, you may want to divide them into text or sentence production.
- shows - illustrates
- data - information
- whereas - while/whilst
- favourite - use the verb like
- was the least popular - use the verb dislike
- awarding - giving
- followed very closely - came a close second/came next/was second
- except for - with the exception of/excluding/apart from
[Point out the grammar, i.e. that the construction needs a noun/pronoun after it - As for Electra, it ... Also point out that they should not use these phrases too often in one text.]
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IELTS: Describing tables - worksheetPDF, Size 0.21 mb
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IELTS: Describing tables
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