WT1.58 ALL WT1 Maps Lesson from IELTS Simon: describe a map

According to some students, ‘map’ questions have been popular in recent IELTS exams. There are 2 types of map:

  1. A map that shows a comparison (see this lesson)
  1. A map that shows development of an area.
    For a good example of the second type of map, have a look at this question from Cambridge IELTS book 1 (go down to page 91), or look at the same map here.

To help you think about how to describe the map, answer these questions:

  1. How could you paraphrase “the map shows the development of the village”?
  2. How many periods of development are shown, and which period saw the most development?
  3. What is the relationship between transport and the growth of the village?
  4. How could you group the information in order to write two ‘specific details’ paragraphs?

I’ll give you my answers to these questions tomorrow, and I’ll write the full essay for next week.

IELTS Writing Task 1: diagram overview

After the introduction, I tell my students to write an overview of the information shown on the chart. When the chart shows numbers, we look for the highest, lowest, biggest change, overall trend etc.

But how do you write an overview of a diagram that doesn’t show numbers?

Here are some things you could put in a process diagram overview:

  • The total number of steps in the process.
  • Where the process begins and ends.

And this is what you could write about for a comparing diagram:

  • The total number of changes or differences.
  • The main changes or differences.
  • The main similarities or what doesn’t change.

IELTS Writing Task 1: diagrams and maps

I noticed a comment under last week’s map lesson from a student who suggested that we could ignore maps because they are much less common than graphs and charts.

While it’s true that graphs and charts are the most common types of question, I think it would be very unwise not to prepare for diagrams and maps too. What happens if you get one of these questions in your test and you haven’t prepared for it?

Another point to note is that diagrams and maps are really easy to describe if you know what you’re doing. Taking the time to study the lessons I’ve written about them could turn out to be a very good idea.