Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

In Writing Task 1, you will most likely have to describe numbers, but, in recent years, there have been more map questions.

How do you answer these IELTS Task 1 Map questions?

First, watch this video. It explains the two different kinds of map questions:

In sum:

  • The most common map question is similar to a Change Over Time question. Namely, there will be two maps that show one place in two different years.
    • For example, the question might ask you to compare one city in 2000 and 2016.
    • In this case, you use sentences such as, “The amount of housing developments jumped.”
  • The other type of map question, much rarer, is similar to a Static question.
    • For example, it will show you one map, and it will ask you to compare two places on the map.
    • You will use language such as, “Site 1 is much closer to public transport than Site 2.”

In this blog post, I explain how to score highly in all categories for map questions.


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Excellent strategy to feel more prepared for IELTS map questions:

  • Realize that the questions with two maps are similar to Change Over Time. Thus, you should use similar vocabulary and sentence structures.
  • Realize that the questions with one map are similar to Static questions. Thus, you should use similar vocabulary and sentence structures (such as comparatives and superlatives.)

Writing Task 1 isn’t the only place that you might face maps and diagrams on IELTS.

They can also pop up as Listening and Reading questions.

There are specific strategies toward handling these questions:

  • Look at the map/diagram and describe it in your head. Predict what you might hear/read.
  • Know if you need nouns/verbs/adjectives/adverbs to complete the labeling.
  • On Listening, the answers will always be in order.
  • On Reading the answers might not be in order, but they will usually be from one section of the passage (1-3 paragraphs.)

Do you have experience answering IELTS map questions?

Leave us a message in the comments section below!

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