A Hard Question

Many of my students find labelling a map to be one of the most difficult questions on the listening test.

This is because you have to pay very careful attention to directions on the map and if you get lost, you might do really badly on a whole section of the IELTS listening test!

Don’t worry – I’m going to show you how to improve your score on this section and the skills you need to practice to make sure you don’t mess it up.

Be sure to avoid the mistakes that most students make on writing by signing up for my exclusive IELTS Ebooks here on Patreon.

Four Tips to Make it Easier 

Here’s an example map question:

Before you listen you will have 30 seconds to study the map. This time is really valuable.


Before you listen, you should underline the key locations on the map and circle all the letters.

If you have time read the names of the places you will have to label as well.

Tip #2:

While listening you should trace your route with your pencil.

Pay careful attention to the names of places and turns.

Tip #3:

To improve listening and labelling a map you should practice this as much as you can!

These ones aren’t hard because of difficult vocabulary. They just require some practice until you get used to them.

Tip #4:

Learn some basic vocabulary related to directions.

Turn: go towards the, take the first/second right/left, turn onto _____ street

Go straight: go straight on, continue past, walk past, walk by, pass the ______, walk along ______ street until you reach _______, follow the road until, go beyond

Next to: west of/east of, near, adjacent to, beside

Across from: cross the street/square, diagonal from the _____ is the _______,


Here are some links to our 3 favourite YouTube videos for this:




Now it’s your turn! Put your answers in the comments.

Do you also find labelling a map difficult?

What other kinds of listening tasks do you find most difficult?

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