Tutorial: IELTS Writing Task 1 - Maps

Tutorial: IELTS Writing Task 1 - Maps

IELTS Writing Task 1

Master the map question for IELTS Writing Task 1—it's gaining popularity, and with preparation you can easily hit the top bands.

What is a map-style question?

These questions will show you two maps of the same location at different times.

They could be past and present, or they could be present and future. In either case, this question type asks you to describe change across time.

How do you solve map-style questions?

  1. Begin your response with a :location element. If you can summarize the changes to the location in a single statement, then use an informative location element that explains an overall trend in the changes. Otherwise, use a simple indicative location element, simply indicating what is represented in the figures, and then move on to the body paragraph.  
  2. List all the major changes. Don't be too specific, but don't ignore details either. If there are a number of small changes made in a single location, group them together under one broad characterization.
  3. Choose a focal point, and describe it in a single topic sentence. In respect of the :old→new principle, it's a good idea to begin the topic sentence with the village/location represented in the map, and to end it with a description of this focal point.
  4. Group the list of changes into each of  the four cardinal directions of the focal point.
  5. Combine the clauses in each of these four groups to form four single sentences: one for each of the four cardinal directions around the focal point.
  6. To promote :cohesion, begin each sentence by mentioning the focal point (e.g., Northeast of the school there is a football field; not there is a football field northeast of the school.)  
  7. Describe major changes in :independent clauses and minor details in :dependent clauses.

Following these steps, you should end up with an introductory paragraph of 1-2 sentences, and body paragraph with 5 sentences: one topic sentence that introduces the focal point, and four sentences that describe major changes in each of the four cardinal directions around that focal point.

Phrase Bank

Location Element (Active Voice)

  • At the north end of the village there is a bridge overpassing the River Stoke and leading to a main avenue that runs north to south through the middle of the village.
  • In the southeastern corner of the village there is an intersection connecting two main avenues, one running northwest to southeast and another running east to west.

Location Element (Passive Voice)

  • As is shown in the figures above, commercial areas in [location] were replaced with residential buildings from [before] to [after].
  • As is illustrated in the images above, [location] saw the expansion of residential buildings at the expense of commercial areas from [before] to [after].
  • As is seen from the pictures above, [location] transitioned away from commercial real estate towards residential zoning from [before] to [after].



You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.
The map below shows the development of the village of Ryemouth between 1995 and present.
Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features and make comparisons where relevant.
Write at least 150 words.

Model Response:

As is shown by the images above, between 1995 and the present the village of Ryemouth underwent a series of changes. The changes, which include an expansion of housing and the conversion of farmland and commercial districts to housing and leisure spaces, suggest a growing population.

At the south end of the town alongside the shore there is a coastal road that runs east to west, and at the northwestern edge of town there is another main avenue running southeast to intersect with the coastal road, forming a T. Northeast of the intersection there is a hotel that added a car park to the empty lot on its eastern side, and the forest park was cleared while the farmland was converted into a golfcourse that features a tennis court at its southern end. To the intersection’s northwest several houses were added, two alongside the main avenue and two more alongside a new road that extends past a small housing development. West of the intersection the shops along the northside of the coastal road were replaced with restaurants, and the fishmarket along the southside of the road was replaced with four apartments while the fishing port extending south off of the coast was removed entirely.

🎥 Video Tutorial: 28 min.

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