1 - Focus

i. Decide on the main purpose of the table/figure.
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ii. Decide on the row and column headings of the table or the horizontal and vertical axes of the graph.
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2 - Content

i. List/highlight the information you choose to describe.
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ii. Highlight the most significant features.
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iii. Consider any less significant features which are still of interest.
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iv. Consider any trends which were expected but did not emerge here.
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v. Consider any patterns which are counter-examples to significant findings.
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vi. Group the related categories. For example, imagine a table with 10 categories. You may find out some have relatively low values, some relatively moderate values, while the rest have high values.
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3 - Organization

i. Plan how you want to organize the introduction, body, and conclusion of your report.
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ii. Think of an opening sentence that gives an overview of the table/graph.
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iii. Think of the major trends/features to be included in the body.
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iv. Plan your conclusion.
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4 - Vocabulary

i. Think about the vocabulary you will use in your description. Useful online sources: www.phrasebank.manchester.ac.uk/describing-quantities/ www.eslflow.com/describinggraphstables.html www.victoria.ac.nz/lals/resources/academicwordlist/
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ii. Think of how you can express something when you don’t remember the best words.
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iii. If you need to repeat a word, think of synonyms or other phrases that can replace it. Example: You may replace ‘values’ with ‘figures’. ‘The answers were incorrect’ can be replaced by ‘The answers failed to be correct’.
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5 - Grammar

i. Consider the tenses that you will use in your writing.
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ii. You may begin with a statement in the present tense that locates the table/figure.
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iii. You may also need to use a combination of tenses when describing a table or graph which contains trends in the past, present and future.
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