Map Labeling questions

IELTS listening map labeling is common in Section Two of the test, though you may get a map in any of the sections. In section two of the IELTS listening test you hear one person speaking. It is quite common for the map to be related to some kind of tour.

There are many questions that come up when labeling a map. What information should be included? What is the best way to label the map so that it is easy to read and understand? Here are a few tips to help you label your maps effectively.

  • Read the instructions carefully - this is so you know what you need to do and the maximum number of words and / or numbers you can use – in this case it is no more than two words.
  • Know the vocabulary of location - you need to know words commonly used to describe where things are located (see below).
  • Identify where the numbers start and finish – as you can see from the example, the first one (15) starts at the bottom, not the top. The numbers (15, 16, 17) will follow the order of the listening.
  • Understand the context - listen carefully at the beginning as the speaker will give you the context. (where you are for example) which will help you follow the talk. Also, look over the map. This will help you identify exactly what you are labelling - note the things that are already labelled to get a feel for where things are.
  • Predict the answers - as with all the listening test, it helps to predict what the answer may be. Look at the gaps and see if you can guess what you are labelling - a room, building, sports facility, street etc?
  • Pay particular attention to things close by - for example, number 15 is by the ‘station’ so it is quite likely (though not definite) that this will be mentioned just before number 15
  • Pay attention to any other clues in the map - for example, you are given a compass icon in the corner telling you where ‘North’, ‘South’, ‘East’ and ‘West’ are. This means it is likely that these phrases will be used to direct you. So listen out for them. You are also given your location - in the tower.
  • Look at two questions at once - this is something you should always do in the listening test. If you hear the answer to question 16, you will know you missed 15. Forget about this and move on. If you are only looking at 15 you could miss both and get lost.


Keep it simple. When labeling a map, less is more. Use simple labels and symbols that are easy to understand. This will make the map more user-friendly. You can also download our app from the playstore or visit our website.