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Academic IELTS Writing Task 1 – How to Describe Maps

Many test takers feel nervous when they get two maps to describe in their Academic Writing Task 1. Let’s make sure it won’t happen to you! In this lesson Adam, our favourite ex-IELTS examiner of 10 years, is going to give you some great tips that will make describing maps a lot easier. Watch this video, follow Adam’s instructions and you will feel happy when you get a map to describe in your test!

Watch the lesson on YouTube, or below:


The questions to ask yourself when you get two maps to describe are:

1. What are you comparing?
What happened or will happen to the town, village, building, site, etc. in the period between the first and second maps?

2. When are you comparing?
Are the changes in the past, or in the future? Some maps show changes that were done in the past, but some will show you future changes, and you need to make sure you’re using the correct verb tenses.

3. What has been added, removed or changed? In any two maps you can expect some things to be
– added or introduced in the second map
– removed, so that they are no longer there in the second map, or
– changed / moved, so that they are in a different location on the second map.
Thinking about these things is critical to your planning.

4. How to show location?
You can use compass directions (North, South, East, West) and also landmarks – rivers, roads, etc. Adam will give you some examples.

But this is far from everything you will learn – so please do watch the entire video, because insider tips from an IELTS examiner are a sure way to a higher score. That’s certainly something you don’t get every day 🙂

Adam doesn’t give you a model response in this lesson, because he would like you to have a go and write your own. But if you’d like to see a Band 9 sample, check out our High Scorer’s Choice IELTS practice tests. This particular topic can be found in Package 2 and we also provide a model response for it, as well as all the other writing tasks.

Enjoy the lesson!

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