top of page

IELTS Listening: Plan/Map/Diagram Labelling Question

In this question, you will find a person is giving some instructions, or describing a non academic topic to an audience. Or it can be a person giving some information to an audience about a particular location, building etc. This question might appear in anywhere in the four sections of listening test, but usually it appears in the second section. You will find the second section more difficult than the first section, as you know that sections will appear progressively difficult.


The information that you will need to answer the question will be in the same order in the audio clip as in the question sheet. Let's take a look at the example below from an actual test question:


IELT Listening Map/Diagram Labelling Question

Source: Cambridge English IELTS Past Papers

In the example above, you are listening to a person describing a plan to someone, and you need to follow the description visualizing that you are that audience. You can see here in the example above, you are required to complete the question sentences from 16 to 20. You just need to pick the suitable letter (A - H) for your answer. You are not required to write any word. And at the end of the test, just transfer the answered letters into the box number 16 - 20 on your answer sheet. 

Common Problems

  • Students need to come across too much information. Moreover, they are required to be aware of directional language, understanding the diagram and note taking, all at the same time.

  • Creating mental visual image of a description is very challenging in case of a very unfamiliar topic. Whereas if you fail to visualize, it might be very difficult for you to answer this question.

  • Only because of spelling error, many students throw away a lot of marks in this question. It happens because in the listening section you need to do so many tasks at the same time when you are answering this question.

  • There are some common useful vocabulary that are used in this type of question. If you don't know these contextual expressions, answering this question might be a very challenging task for you. Check the useful expression list below:

Common Expressions for diagram/plan labelling

  • North/South/East/West

  • inside/outside

  • left-hand side/right-hand side

  • a little ahead/forward

  • just before you get in/to

  • runs beside/alongside

  • enter through/via

  • southeastern/northeastern

  • in the southeast/in the northeast

  • above/below

  • in front of/opposite to

  • clockwise/counterclockwise/anticlockwise etc.

Solution Tips

  • Read the instruction sentence carefully and try to understand and then predict the answer before you start hearing the clip.

  • The word that you need to answer might be a location, a building, a direction, an adjective, a verb, an adverb etc. Try to predict the type of word that you might need for your answer. 

  • Try to visualize the scenario. Put yourself into the audience's position who the speaker is describing to.

  • Make sure you listen carefully the beginning of the recording. Because beginning part is very important to understand the topic. If you get it, it will be pretty much easy for you to follow the audio.

  • Focus on the major parts of the map/plan where the main directional or navigational languages are used.

  • Take short notes in your own style whatever you are comfortable with. There is nothing wrong writing and taking notes on the question paper.

Review the resource in case you need:

Basic information on Listening section

Check the other Listening question types with detailed analyses and examples:

bottom of page