Listening Question Types: Labelling Maps and Plans
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Labelling maps and plans are very common in the IELTS Listening test, particularly in part 2. For maps, the speaker often describes changes that have occurred to a location or future developments.
For plans, the speaker often gives a tour of a building or describes the features in a particular room.
You need to identify areas, rooms or features by selecting from options or writing the answers in the numbered spaces.
Strategies & Tips
The answers for all question types will be in the same order as the information you hear. Always follow the question numbers for the order you will hear the answers.
Study the map or plan carefully before you listen. Pay attention to the places already labelled, as they will guide you to the missing answers.
Visualize yourself in the map or plan. In sample B it is clearly stated “YOU ARE HERE”. So, visualize yourself starting here when you follow the directions. In sample C start at the entrance and listen for the directions.
For written answers predict the information and type of word you will hear.
Stick to word limit for written answers and do not change the word you hear in recording. You will hear the exact word you need to write in the gaps even though the words around the answer may be paraphrased.
Check that the written answers fit grammatically.
For selecting from options, you can see in sample A there are more options (A – I) than places (numbers 17 – 20). This is common practice in this question type. There will always be distractors as in extra options.
It’s essential that you are familiar with the language used to describe directions and locations.
Maps often contain a compass as in samples A and B therefore, expect to hear the location described in terms of the compass.
Example: Sample B. Question 14
“In the south-eastern corner, beyond the marsh is our Market Garden area, growing vegetables and flowers.”
Answer: Market Garden
Example: Sample C. Question 20
In sample C there is no compass, so the language to describe location will be different.
“The artistic director’s office is through the double doors, turn right, and it’s the first room you come to on the right-hand side.”
When following directions, trace the route on the question paper as you listen.
Example: Sample B. Question 12
“Next to this... moving east...is the large grazing area for the rare breeds. Then further east... in the largest section of our Park is the Forest Area.”
Example: Sample C. Question 19
“The lighting box is where the computerized stage lighting is operated, and it’s at the back of the building. When you go through the double doors, turn left, turn right at the water cooler, and turn right again at the end, it’s the second room along that corridor.”