How to Describe Map in IELTS Writing Task 1

Map Description in IELTS Writing

During the IELTS Writing Task 1, you should outline a map. This task may be difficult, but following a structured method to deliver a concise and clear explanation is crucial.

Read the map carefully

The first step is to read the map carefully and identify the key features. This includes the map’s title, the scale, and the symbols used. It is also important to note the north direction.

Identify the key features

After carefully reading the map, identify its critical features for description. This will vary depending on the type of map, but some standard features include:

  • Rivers, lakes, and oceans
  • Mountains, hills, and valleys
  • Cities, towns, and villages
  • Roads, railways, and airports
  • National borders

Write a clear and concise description

When writing your description, it is essential to be clear and concise. It’s best to steer clear of excessive jargon or technical language.

  • Start by giving a general overview of the map.
  • Then, describe the key features in more detail.
  • Use specific examples to illustrate your points.
  • Use transition words to connect your ideas and improve the flow of your writing.

Use appropriate vocabulary

When describing a map, it is essential to use appropriate vocabulary. This means using words that are specific to maps and geography.

  • Some common vocabulary words for maps include:
    • Latitude
    • Longitude
    • Scale
    • Symbol
    • Orientation
    • Topography

Avoid common mistakes

Students make a few common mistakes when describing maps in their IELTS Writing Task 2 essays. These include:

  • Not reading the map carefully.
  • Not identifying the key features.
  • Writing a description that is too long or too short.
  • Using too much jargon or technical language.
  • Not using appropriate vocabulary.

Practice makes perfect

The best way to improve your ability to describe maps is to practice. You can practice by describing maps that you find online or in textbooks. You can also practice by describing maps that you have created yourself.


Following these tips, you can write a clear and concise map description in your IELTS Writing Task 2 essay.


Here are some examples of how to describe a map in IELTS Writing Task 2:

  • Map of a city: The map shows the city of London. The River Thames runs through the centre of the town, and the city is divided into several boroughs. The major roads and railways are also shown.
  • Map of a country: The map shows the government of France. The major cities, towns, mountains, and rivers are labelled. The national borders are also shown.
  • Map of a region: The map shows the area of Southeast Asia. The major countries and islands and the major rivers and lakes are labelled. The international borders are also shown.

Here is an example of a short paragraph describing a map:

The map shows the city of London. The River Thames runs through the centre of the town, and the city is divided into several boroughs. The major roads and railways are also shown. The city centre has famous landmarks like Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, and the Houses of Parliament.

This blog post was helpful. Please leave any questions in the comments below.

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