10 tips for answering map or plan questions in IELTS Listening
Listening
10 tips for answering map or plan questions in IELTS Listening

When was the last time you asked a person (not your phone or computer) for directions? If, like me, it was a long time ago, you may need help following the directions or description you hear when answering map or plan questions in Part 2 of the IELTS Listening test. The good news is that we have 10 tips on how to answer these types of questions and some IELTS Listening practice too. IELTS Listening map and plan questions Let’s start by looking at exactly what IELTS Listening map and plan questions are so you know what to expect in your IELTS test. There are in fact two different ways that map and plan questions are presented. The first way is numbered questions on a map or plan and a list of possible answers (A, B, C, etc.) above or to the side. (Click image to enlarge) The second way is the possible answers (A, B, C, etc.) on the map or plan and the numbered questions below that. (Click image to enlarge) This is important to know because, as you’ll see below, the way the questions are presented gives you a clue about how the information in the  recording is organised.  Tips for before you listen You only have limited time to look at the questions before the recording starts so here are some tips for making the best use of this time. Read the instructions and the title of the map or plan if there is one, check if the numbered questions are on the map/plan or below it, and most importantly, identify if there’s a likely starting place, e.g. an arrow and/or an entrance to a building or park like the main gate in the plan above. Circle or underline labels on the map/plan and check if there’s a compass as these will probably be included in the recording as part of the directions/description (e.g. It’s just south of the Adventure Playground). If the numbered questions are on the map/plan, check if the questions go in order from bottom to top, left to right, etc. as this tells you how the information in the recording will be organised and may indicate where the recording will start from (e.g. Questions 11-17 in the plan above go in order from the bottom left to the top and then to the bottom right). If the possible answers are on the map/plan, remember that these do not tell you how information in the recording will be organised (e.g. Location C may or may not be mentioned before Location D in the map above). Look at the list of places you need to identify but don’t try to remember them all as you can look at the list while listening or after listening if you take notes during the recording. Tips for while you’re listening If you follow the tips below, you’ll be less likely to get lost while listening, and, if you do get lost, you’ll be more able to quickly find your place again. Draw your place on the map/plan as you listen as this will keep you focused on following the directions/description and, if you do get lost, listen for a mention of one of the labels on the map/plan so that you know where you are again (e.g. the information point in the plan above). Listen for words/phrases that tell you the direction to move in or where something is (e.g. walk straight ahead, opposite, on the left) as these will help you follow the directions/description and identify answers. Listen for the locations given in the numbered questions or possible answers as the recording will use these names not synonyms, e.g. the recording for the map above will include ‘outdoor gym’ not ‘exercise equipment’. Avoid distractors as alternative but incorrect answers will be mentioned in the recording.  Remember, you are allowed to draw on the Listening question paper in the paper-based test. Tip for after you’ve listened Here’s one last tip in case you miss any of the answers while listening. Guess any answers you don’t know as you won’t lose marks for wrong answers and you could guess right! IELTS Listening practice  So now you’ve read the 10 tips for answering map or plan questions in the IELTS Listening test, it’s time to put them into practice and answer the IELTS Listening questions for the maps and plans above. Listen to the audio below (first map audio 00:00 to 02:43; second map audio 02:44 to 05:32):     Once you’ve answered the questions, check the answers and transcripts here, and then think about why you got any answers wrong and how you can do better next time. If you’re in an English-speaking country, the next time you’re about to go to your phone or computer for directions, why not ask a person instead? It might be less convenient but it could help you improve your listening for IELTS! Pete  

Pete Jones

15 September, 2021

10 tips for answering map or plan questions in IELTS Listening

10 tips for answering map or plan questions in IELTS Listening

When was the last time you asked a person (not your phone or computer) for directions? If, like me, it was a long time ago, you may need help following the directions or description you hear when answering map or plan questions in Part 2 of the IELTS Listening test.

The good news is that we have 10 tips on how to answer these types of questions and some IELTS Listening practice too.

IELTS Listening map and plan questions

Let’s start by looking at exactly what IELTS Listening map and plan questions are so you know what to expect in your IELTS test.

There are in fact two different ways that map and plan questions are presented.

The first way is numbered questions on a map or plan and a list of possible answers (A, B, C, etc.) above or to the side.

Questions 11-17 and the plan from the Official IELTS Practice Materials 2.

(Click image to enlarge)

The second way is the possible answers (A, B, C, etc.) on the map or plan and the numbered questions below that.

Questions 11-16 and the map from IELTS 15 General Training.

(Click image to enlarge)

This is important to know because, as you’ll see below, the way the questions are presented gives you a clue about how the information in the recording is organised.

Tips for before you listen

You only have limited time to look at the questions before the recording starts so here are some tips for making the best use of this time.

  1. Read the instructions and the title of the map or plan if there is one, check if the numbered questions are on the map/plan or below it, and most importantly, identify if there’s a likely starting place, e.g. an arrow and/or an entrance to a building or park like the main gate in the plan above.
  2. Circle or underline labels on the map/plan and check if there’s a compass as these will probably be included in the recording as part of the directions/description (e.g. It’s just south of the Adventure Playground).
  3. If the numbered questions are on the map/plan, check if the questions go in order from bottom to top, left to right, etc. as this tells you how the information in the recording will be organised and may indicate where the recording will start from (e.g. Questions 11-17 in the plan above go in order from the bottom left to the top and then to the bottom right).
  4. If the possible answers are on the map/plan, remember that these do not tell you how information in the recording will be organised (e.g. Location C may or may not be mentioned before Location D in the map above).
  5. Look at the list of places you need to identify but don’t try to remember them all as you can look at the list while listening or after listening if you take notes during the recording.

Tips for while you’re listening

If you follow the tips below, you’ll be less likely to get lost while listening, and, if you do get lost, you’ll be more able to quickly find your place again.

  1. Draw your place on the map/plan as you listen as this will keep you focused on following the directions/description and, if you do get lost, listen for a mention of one of the labels on the map/plan so that you know where you are again (e.g. the information point in the plan above).
  2. Listen for words/phrases that tell you the direction to move in or where something is (e.g. walk straight ahead, opposite, on the left) as these will help you follow the directions/description and identify answers.
  3. Listen for the locations given in the numbered questions or possible answers as the recording will use these names not synonyms, e.g. the recording for the map above will include ‘outdoor gym’ not ‘exercise equipment’.
  4. Avoid distractors as alternative but incorrect answers will be mentioned in the recording.

Remember, you are allowed to draw on the Listening question paper in the paper-based test.


Tip for after you’ve listened

Here’s one last tip in case you miss any of the answers while listening.

  1. Guess any answers you don’t know as you won’t lose marks for wrong answers and you could guess right!

IELTS Listening practice

So now you’ve read the 10 tips for answering map or plan questions in the IELTS Listening test, it’s time to put them into practice and answer the IELTS Listening questions for the maps and plans above. Listen to the audio below (first map audio 00:00 to 02:43; second map audio 02:44 to 05:32):

 

 

Once you’ve answered the questions, check the answers and transcripts here, and then think about why you got any answers wrong and how you can do better next time.

If you’re in an English-speaking country, the next time you’re about to go to your phone or computer for directions, why not ask a person instead? It might be less convenient but it could help you improve your listening for IELTS!

Pete

Pete Jones

Pete has been helping IELTS test takers and teachers for many years and really enjoys helping people improve their English and their IELTS band score.

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