IELTS Maps: Vocabulary and Sentence Structures

This lesson gives useful tips for IELTS map vocabulary and sentence structures for writing task 1 academic paper.

IELTS Map: Video Tutorial

Useful Map Language

  • north south east west
  • north east, south east, north west, south west
  • X is located in the north east of the town.
  • The population of Y is 60,000.
  • Y has a population of 60,000.
  • X is located to the north east of Y, which has a population of 60,000.
  • The railway (main road) runs through / crosses / passes through /goes through Y.
  • A is located in the town center which has a railway running through it from north to south.
  • B is situated in the north east of the town just outside the housing area.

Paraphrases for Maps

Be careful with paraphrases. Most words in the key do not need to be paraphrased.

  • town center = city center / center of the town (a town is not a city, don’t try to paraphrase the word town)
  • road = street (road and street are different)
  • housing area = residential area
  • is located = is situated / lies / is



  1. Hi Liz, I wish I know how big is the probability to receive a diagram in writing task 1? It seems more complicated to me in comparison to the others (bar chart,line graph etc).
    I mention that I will have my IELTS exam on 10th this month.

  2. Why do cambridge, British Council and idp emphasise on not writing overview process and map as they are the main body ? Please revert it.


    Dear Mam,
    I have a question for you. please clarify me.
    MAP question
    The map below is of the town of Garlsdon. A new supermarket ‘S’ is planned for the town. the maps shows two possible sites for the supermarket.
    Summarize the information by selecting and reporting the main features and make comparisons where relevant.

    my doubt is what exactly is this question is about? how do i write a comparison here? is it good to write my opinion for this?
    mam, you can find the map in this link
    please help me

    • “comparisons where relevant” – it is not always relevant to make comparisons. There are no opinions in IELTS writing task 1 academic.

      • MITHRA JACOB JOHN says

        dear mam,
        so which essay paln is better for this?
        intro- paraphrase the question,
        overview- general trend and subjective views
        body – site one explanation and comparison
        body – site two explanation and comparison
        intro- paraphrase the question
        overview- general trend and subjective views
        body-whole brief explanation of the map including keys, population, transportation and so on
        body- site one and site two comparison about which site is better to build a supermarket without adding my opinion.

      • Madam,
        Somebody told me that in map and process diagram, we can not write overview.
        Is it true ?

        • The overview is the most important paragraph and is essential for every type of task 1 for the Academic paper.

  4. Hlo mam , Is there any overview for maps and diagrams ?
    And mam I really want help regarding my ilets exam which will be on 20 oct and I hope that u will definitely help me.

  5. Hi Liz,
    I scored a straight 8 in all bands and 5.5 in writing, TWICE! 🙁 .. I’m re-taking the test for the 3rd time this Saturday and I see no hope .. tips are not helping out

  6. Nick Malkov says

    hello Liz! How did you figured out that the railway runs through Dartford exactly from north to south but not vice versa? Will it be counted as a mistake for example if i write it goes from south to north? and can I use a word small city instead of town as long as IELTS is so mad about paraphrasing?

    • This in an English language test – we always write “north to south” when directions are not given. We never write “south to north” unless it is actually specified. A small city is not a town. A town is a town – it isn’t paraphrased. Paraphrasing is not about changing all words, it is about knowing when to change a word and when NOT to change a word.

  7. Snehalata says

    Hi liz!!!!!

    Thank you for your help
    Good work

  8. Is it suitable to use phrasal verb? I don’t think so

    • Not all phrasal verbs are informal. The majority are and that is why the general recommendation is not to use them. But this phrasal verb is not informal at all and it fine to use. If you do not know the difference between informal phrasal verbs and those suitable for writing, don’t use them at all.

  9. Akudo Mba says

    Hello Liz, I must confess that you are doing a fabulous job via your website. Just had my speaking test in Enugu Nigeria, and these were the questions asked.

    Part 1
    . What do you do?
    . Do you love your job?
    . Why did you choose that kind of job?
    . Do you had a cordial relationship with your colleagues?

    . How often did you celebrate your birthday as a child?
    . In your opinion, when is the best time(age) to celebrate one’s birthday (15, 25 or 60)?
    .What do you do on your birthdays as an adult?

    . Kindly tell me your views about adverts
    . What do you think about Internet pop-ups?
    . What do you think about adverts on buildings?
    . Do television adverts influence your purchasing power?

    Cue Card
    Talk about a good news you recently received
    .who was it about?
    .what was is on?
    .when and how did you hear about it?
    Explain how you felt about it.

    . What do you think about sharing good news?
    .What is the role of the Internet in sharing news?

    .Do you let others know about your success?
    .Talk about the importance of sharing one’s good news
    .What effects can good news have on others?
    .What do you think about foreign countries sharing their good news?
    .How can Nations benefit from the success of others?

  10. sahil salhotra says

    Hello mam,i m not good in reading module
    Could you please help me.

  11. Hello Liz, after the video the link which u have provided for the Band score 9 that is not for MAPS . It contains both pie as well as bar. I cant find the Maps Bandscore 9 . Please help me find the Maps Writing part 1 . Thank you

  12. Hello Liz,
    your videos and lessons are incredibly useful for me. I would like to know more information about writing task 1 models in details. Thanks a lot, Liz you are so easy to understand. I’m planning to pass my IELTS exam next year in June, so I’m waiting forward your writing lessons soon:)

  13. Dear Liz,

    I am a little bit confused , do we have to use the past tense for the writing task 1 and 2 ?
    I am truly sorry if you already put the answer on your blog but I can not find it.

    Kind regards

    • You use whatever tense is suitable. Look at the dates given. If there are no dates, use the present tense.

  14. Kim Moreno says

    Hello Liz,

    I just want to thank you for the big help. Ironically, my part 1 questions for speaking were your sample questions. Literally, it was the exact sample questions. Good thing, I was able to read through it and answer them on my own. 🙂 Anyway, I have one question though, what will happen if I answer a sentence but wasn’t able to complete it that I changed the whole sentence to express my point. For example, I don’t think pollution is…… I stopped from there because I cannot continue with another word. So, after a short pause, I said, Pollution is very unhealthy. What do you think?

    Thanks in advance,

    • It will affect your score for fluency if you hesitated and stopped regularly during your test. If the majority of your test was fluent, don’t worry. That was really good luck getting the same topic 🙂

  15. hi
    dear liz

    there is no video here…. I cant see your video and download it

    pleaaazzzzz work on it

    thank you so much for your great free lessons

  16. Hello Liz, Reading seems to be typical for me could you help on these with three tasks demonstrating

  17. hello miss, i m not perfect to write the task 2.during writing task 2 lot,s of spelling can remember the difficult spellings.its big problem for me . pls help me

  18. Thank for the very useful lessons.I Highly apprecitated !

  19. Thanks a lot,but what a bout process as writing task 1.

  20. Thank you Liz for your share.
    best regards

  21. Hello liz

    Thanks for your help !!
    Appreciate it!

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