IELTS Map Vocabulary


Samarpita Goswami
Updated on Aug 12, 2022 05:30 PM IST

The map IELTS writing task 1 questions demand the usage of a particular map vocabulary. So, let us explore the most common IELTS map vocabulary for your quick reference.

IELTS Map Vocabulary
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IELTS map vocabulary is an important part of Writing task 1 in IELTS Academic. It provides you with language, phrases and words that you can use to describe an IELTS map which, in turn, is an integral part of the Writing section.

An IELTS map question is one of the types of questions where you can score high with the usage of correct words and plenty of practice. Often, it is seen that test takers skip preparing for map questions, which often cost them a high score in the exam. So, if you prepare for it beforehand, you will certainly be one step ahead of other candidates.

Here is a comprehensive guide where we will acquaint you with the different types of questions, the structure of writing answers and how to describe locations and general and specific changes in IELTS writing task 1 map vocabulary.

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IELTS Writing Task 1

Before delving into the IELTS map vocabulary, let us know about IELTS writing task 1.

The IELTS task 1 Academic asks you to write a summary in 150 words of the visuals provided in the question paper in the form of a graph or chart. 

The main features are to be described and a comparison of the data has to be made. The total duration allotted for IELTS writing task 1 is 20 minutes and it is to be written using a formal tone.

You will be expected to summarise a graph (bar, line or pie graph), chart, table, map or process (of how a thing is done). The purpose of this assignment is to test your ability to select and report the main features after identifying the visual information, identify trends in factual information or describe the procedure.

Types of IELTS Map Questions

There are three main types of map questions asked in IELTS writing task 1:

  • Describing a Map in the Present Day: Your answer is to be as per the representation of the map at present. Make sure to not make any sort of comparison of older maps.

  • Describing Two Maps (One in Present and the Other in Future): Your answer should be in both present and future tenses. The questions are usually based on the future developmental prospects of a city.

  • Describing Two Maps (One in Past and the Other in Present): The occurrence of this type of question is frequent and you will get questions to describe features and make a comparison. The answer has to be written in both present and past tense.

IELTS Writing Task 1 Map Vocabulary

IELTS map vocabulary includes certain words and phrases that are used to describe a map which are usually of a town, city, landscape or island. The general language of the writing task 1 map question is “Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features and make comparisons where necessary.”

To perform well in IELTS map questions, you need to understand the language of the location. It includes the usage of words related to directions and the use of prepositions of place.

IELTS Map Vocabulary for Positions and Locations

The positions or locations have to be described using the following map vocabulary:

  • Cardinal Directions: North, east, south and west.

  • Intercardinal Directions: Northeast, northwest,  southeast and southwest.

  • Preposition of Place: Along, clockwise, anticlockwise, perpendicular to, across, near, beside, between, next to and on

  • Adverbs of Place: Inside, outside, to the left, to the right and in front of

  • Verbs: Go up, go down, cross and run through

  • Noun: Area, crossroad, path, site and edge

IELTS Map Vocabulary for Description

Some of the IELTS map vocabulary that is used for the description of the visual information conveyed through the map are:

  • Buildings: Demolished, constructed, built, extended, expanded, modernised, flattened, developed into, converted to and remove

  • City/Town: Roadside, greenbelt, pavement, sidewalk, greenbelt, community area and zone of transition

  • Area: height, high, length, long, depth, deep, width and wide

  • Roads and Railways: Constructed, built and demolished

  • Trees: Planted, cleared, chopped and removed

  • Leisure: Developed, opened and set up

  • Landscape: Canal, hedge, moor, strait, bay, stream, valley, tide, tributary and summit

Usage of Vocabulary for Maps IELTS Task 1 

You will have to use map vocabulary in sentences so that you can write a good visual description of the map questions. Here are some of the sample sentences that you can write using IELTS task 1 map vocabulary:

IELTS Map Vocabulary

Sample Sentences


The map is illustrated with colourful locations.


The map demonstrates the dry areas of the country.


The red lines represent roads on the map.


You can see a new building along the roadside


The old lamp post was removed from the sidewalk.


The length of the stream is 200 metres.


The valley is located between two hills.


To the east of the river, lies the rail bridge.


The palm tree is located next to a banyan tree.


The medical shop is opposite the red house.

Structure of IELTS Task 1 Map 

As you already know, IELTS Writing Task 1 has to be summarised in 150 words. Therefore, you need to follow a particular sequence or pattern to write the question. Here, we will discuss the format of the IELTS map questions:

Paragraph 1

Paraphrase the question given in your own words. You will have to re-write the same thing but use synonyms or the IELTS map vocabulary given above.

Paragraph 2

Write two general statements about the map. You should differentiate between the two maps given here. Identify the general changes that you can see on the maps like if there are more or fewer houses on the maps. Or if the area is urban or rural?

Paragraph 3

It should contain more specific changes in the maps. You have to observe the maps minutely and write about the time and location.

Paragraph 4

Conclude the map writing task 1 with a general observation.

Evaluation Criteria for IELTS Task 1 Map

The IELTS writing section is assessed on the basis of task achievement, cohesion and coherence, lexical resource and grammar. If you can master a good IELTS Writing task 1 map vocabulary, you can achieve a high score in IELTS Writing task 1. Your knowledge will be tested based on the following points:

  • Use appropriate words and synonyms that match the question given.

  • Utilise appropriate IELTS map vocabulary.

  • While writing the summary, you should repeat words only if there is no synonym. Otherwise, we encourage you to write new words to show the range of your lexical knowledge.

  • Use rare and uncommon maps IELTS task 1 vocabulary to create a freshness in your writing.

Steps to Score High in IELTS Task 1 Map

It is considered quite easy to score well in IELTS map task 1. Here are some steps that will help you get a good IELTS writing task 1 score:

  • Analyse the maps given before starting to write the answer. It is a very crucial step.

  • You do not need to write about all the features of the map. You can just pick up 2 to 3 features and write on them. 

  • Identify the key features from map 1. Then see how it has changed in the second map. Check the time period, features that have changed or remained the same and location on the map.

  • Write a proper introduction, body and conclusion within the word limit.

Acquainting yourself with the map vocabulary will help you in IELTS writing task 1 as you will be supplied with the correct words while writing the answer. You can also use them to label maps in the IELTS listening task. What you should be mindful of here is not to repeat the same words. The greater the variety of words, the more structured your answer will be using map vocabulary.

If you have any doubts related to map vocabulary or IELTS writing task 1, write to us at

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Is IELTS map task difficult?

No, the IELTS map task is not at all difficult. You will have to simply memorise the IELTS map vocabulary and apply them as needed. Also, there is a set pattern of attempting map questions and you will have to follow that to get a high band score in the IELTS writing task 1.

Do IELTS map questions occur compulsorily?

No, IELTS map questions do not occur compulsorily in IELTS writing task 1. It is one of the types of questions of IELTS task 1. Apart from IELTS map task 1, line, chart and bar graphs also come in the writing task. So, you can be asked map questions but it is not mandatory.

Where can I get IELTS map vocabulary pdf?

You can get an IELTS map vocabulary pdf online. There are many websites that provide IELTS map vocabulary for students’ reference. There are both paid and free versions available on the websites. You can look at them to get an idea of how to structure your IELTS map answers.

What is meant by IELTS map vocabulary?

IELTS map vocabulary is a set of words, phrases and collations that are used to describe visual information in the form of a map in IELTS writing task 1. The IELTS map vocabulary consists of simple words that have to be used while elaborating on what you see on the maps provided in the IELTS question paper.

What are the different types of IELTS map?

The different types of IELTS maps that come in the question paper are mostly geographical maps including physical, topographical, time zone, road and geological. Students are asked to compare two given maps and write 2 to 3 features in a detailed manner.

How do you explain IELTS task map?

To explain the IELTS task map, you will have to use IELTS map vocabulary. For example, you can write the temple is situated to the southwest of the rail station. Here, ‘situated’ is a verb that has been used to denote the location of a place whereas ‘southwest’ is a direction.

Which tense is used in IELTS map task 1?

To answer IELTS map task 1, you will have to use past, present and future tenses depending on the types of map you get. Mostly, you will have to use the simple present tense. One such example is - the map shows the presence of three companies which emit pollutants and cause destruction to the atmosphere.

What is the duration of IELTS map task?

The duration of the IELTS map task is 20 minutes. However, we will advise you to take 2 mins time to frame the answer to the question while identifying the few features about which you are going to write. Also, try to complete the IELTS map task within 15 minutes so that you get more time for IELTS writing task 2.

What is the word limit of IELTS map task 1?

The word limit of IELTS map task 1 is 150 words. It is expected that you write in a concise and crisp manner within the word limit. The introduction and conclusion should have the same word length while the two body paragraphs must have the same word count.

What are some connectors in IELTS map vocabulary?

Some of the common connectors in IELTS map vocabulary are as for, in regards to, for example, in contrast, initially, firstly and others. These connectors are linking devices to connect one sentence with another. Therefore, the use of proper connectors demonstrates your cohesive and coherent use of the English language.

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