IELTS Listening: Strategy to solve label the map question

IELTS Listening Label a Map

The IELTS Listening Section has an assortment of question types to assess the listening skills of the student. One of the most common ones is Labelling Maps. A lot of students find this question type difficult because of how misleading it can be. I can usually see a few students look confused and scared when they see a Label the Map question. They are scared of being unable to follow the directions. But with a little smart work, any question type can be cracked!

Label the Map question has a pictorial representation of a town or a place. You are to locate a few places on the map with the help of instructions in the audio. This question type usually comes in Part 2 of the IELTS Listening Test. There will be more answer choices than questions to confuse the candidate.

IELTS Listening: Label a Map: A sample question

First try to solve the question and then read the strategy.

Questions 11-15

 Label the plan below. 

Choose FIVE answers from the box and write the correct letters A-I next to questions 11-15.

  1. Local history collection
  2. Reference books
  3. Periodicals

In the above diagram, you see numbers with blanks next to them.  Your task is to fill those blanks with the question choices given above. The answer choices are given alphabetically. 

Before reading further, try to solve the question.

How to identify the Correct Answer on Label a Map?

The directions mentioned in the audio will all start from a common point. The common point will be introduced in the beginning of the monologue itself. For example, in the beginning of the recording above, the Ann points out the landmark which is the main entrance and her desk. These landmarks are given so that it is easy to have a point of reference to begin with. A simple trick to make sure that you have the right alphabet is to concentrate on the descriptions that go along with the landmark. The last landmark is where you will find the right answer. Make sure to stick to your instincts and not overthink too much about one answer to keep pace with the audio.

We start solving the first question by hearing the audio. We hear Ann say “Well, as you see my desk is just on your right as you go in, and opposite this the first room on your left has an excellent collection of reference books” From this we can mark down 11, the room opposite to the librarian’s desk as a room where once can find reference books. Therefore, the answer to the first answer choice is ‘B- Reference Books’

How to identify the Wrong Answer on Label a Map?

There are more options on the map than there are questions in this question type. This means that there are a few trap options. These trap options are meant to make you second guess your answer. Generally, any option without a landmark that could be directly used for it is a trap option. Avoid that by tracing the landmarks mentioned in the audio instead of the directions. Sometimes students panic when they cannot understand the directions mentioned and they retrace the directions to double-check the answer. As a result, they miss out on further answers. Another way the student can get distracted is by trying to write the answer next to the question when the audio is playing. We suggest that you write the question number next to the alphabet on the map itself. Leaving the map is what makes students lose confidence in their answers. 

In the above question, for blank 11, the librarian does not tell you what the room actually is, but what it contains. This might easily confuse the students. To add to this, the librarian states “Just beyond the librarian’s desk on the right is a room where we have up to date periodicals such as newspapers and magazines and this room also has a photocopier in case you want to copy any of the articles.’ This can confuse the students into attempting the answer for blank number 12 incorrectly. 

Conclusion:

Label the Map question type usually comes in Part 2 of the IELTS Listening Test. It has a diagram of a place or a town and the monologue gives instructions about how to get to some of the places on the map. All directions start from a common point on the map mentioned in the beginning of the audio clip. There will be more options than questions to distract and confuse students, but that can be avoided by keeping an eye on the landmarks instead of the directions themselves, and going with one’s instinct instead of rechecking the answer while writing next to the questions.

Transcript of the Label a Map audio

OK everyone. So here we are at the entrance to the town library. My name is Ann, and I’m the chief librarian here, and you’ll usually find me at the desk just by the main entrance here. So I’d like to tell you a bit about the way the library is organised, and what you’ll find where … and you should all have a plan in front of you. Well, as you see my desk is just on your right as you go in, and opposite this the first room on your left has an excellent collection of reference books and is also a place where people can read or study peacefully. Just beyond the librarian’s desk on the right is a room where we have up to date periodicals such as newspapers and magazines and this room also has a photocopier in case you want to copy any of the articles.

IELTS Listening: Strategy to solve Matching Features questions

To read the next lesson,
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