Successful Map and Plan Labelling Strategies for the IELTS Listening Test in 2022


Map and Plan Labelling questions are most likely to appear in section 2 of the IELTS Listening test.

In section 2, you will listen to a single individual talking about a non-academic topic. They may give information to an audience about an event or exhibit visitors around a building, such as a university or a hotel. 

It’s slightly more challenging than section 1.

In order to answer questions of this type, you must be able to identify the various sections of the map or plan by listening to and comprehending a verbal description or following directions.

You will, therefore, be required to listen to and follow verbal instructions on a map or plan. You will be given a list of possible answers, like the one shown above, or none, in which case you must select the correct answer from the recording itself.

Common Problems for Map and Plan Labelling

  • Inability to recognize the vocabulary and functional language used to describe locations and directions. We provide a list of words below. 
  • Too much information. This question demands you to not only listen but also follow a description or directions, understand the map or diagram, and write short notes, all at the same time.
  • Spelling. This type of IELTS listening question is common in all tests, but particularly in this instance since you have to perform so many activities at the same time. 
  • Visualization. It refers to your ability to create mental pictures. When a person is describing a plan you have never seen before, you will take a seat in an exam room and the person will describe it to you. Unless you can imagine what it looks like, it will be very difficult to answer these questions.

Strategies for Map and Plan Labelling

  • Read the questions carefully. Understand the map or plan and its characteristics. Observe the plan or map in detail to help you navigate your way around. 
  • Ask yourself where the subject matter occurs in relation to the questions. This should assist you to predict the answers and follow the lecture. 
  • Imagine the place where the speaker is describing as he or she speaks. What is to the right and left of the speaker? What is between them and what is behind them? Context helps.
  • Predict what kind of words the response might be e.g., a room, street, building, etc. 
  • Pay particular attention to the start of the speech. This will assist you to comprehend the subject matter and follow the lecture. 
  • Make notes of any possible answers; however, be careful of distractors such as ‘this library was situated at the end of the corridor, but we moved it down to the middle’.
  • Associate phases of the recordings with a key phrase. For example, ‘You should remember that the next room we are about to see is…’, or ‘Just follow me to the next room.’
  • Absolutely use short notes or shorthand to key down answers or key points. Then, at the end of the exam, you can get your answers done easily.

Some Useful Collocations

Here are a few useful idioms, phrases, and collocations that you can get acquainted with to help you during the exam.

  • At the top/ bottom
  • To the left/ To the right/ On the far side
  • On the opposite side/ On the left-hand side/ On the right-hand side
  • In the middle/ Above/ Below/ In the centre
  • On the opposite side
  • In the front of/ Across/ Opposite
  • On the left-hand side/ On the right-hand side
  • Clockwise/ Anticlockwise
  • A little beyond/ Just past
  • Before you get to/ Adjoining/ Enter via

Final Thoughts

With the right strategy and the right amount of practice, you will be able to tackle IELTS Listening Plan and Map Labelling Questions successfully and move towards a fully optimized Band 9 Score.

The last thing that’s very important is Practice. And the best place to practice IELTS Listening Multiple Choice Questions is at the Kandor website or the Kandor app.

You can also read more blog posts and keep learning about IELTS at our Kandor Academy.

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