IELTS Map Vocabulary

Task 1 of IELTS writing asks the test taker top describe the map. We can say that this is one of the most frequently asked questions and if you practice well, it will definitely help you in the IELTS test.

This vocabulary section helps you to understand the main phrases, language and the vocabularies that can be used while describing a map in IELTS writing task 1. The criteria you need to keep in mind while answering this question is task achievement, lexica resource, coherence and cohesion, grammatical range and accuracy. If you have high knowledge about the vocabulary, you can get a high IELTS band score in this section. Whether you have great knowledge about the lexical resource is known by these following points:

  • Usage of appropriate synonyms in your writing.
  • Usage of appropriate vocabulary in the writing.
  • Only if there is no alternative, you can repeat the words while paraphrasing or else try to write your own words.
  • You will be able to achieve a high band score if the less commonly used vocabulary is included in your writing.
  • Do not repeat the words in your writing.
  • Use accurate words in the sentence, which match the question.

Important Map Language

There are various phrases that can be used to explain things. But there are certain words which can be used to describe the map or a diagram which are as follows:

Adverbs and Prepositions

  • North/South/East/West
  • Upstairs/Downstairs
  • Clockwise/Anticlockwise
  • To the north/To the south/To the east/To the west
  • Across the road
  • Before you get to
  • In the middle of = in the center of
  • Just beyond = a little beyond = just past
  • Inside/Outside
  • To the left of/ To the right of


  • Go up/Go down
  • Start by
  • Is located = is situated = lies = there is = is
  • Run through = cross = pass through = go through
  • Cross = pass over = cut across


  • Crossroad = intersection = junction
  • Hosing area = residential area = sleeping area
  • Entrance = doorway
  • Path = way
  • Roundabout
  • Area = field = zone
  • Site = place = location
  • Edge = boundary = end = fringe


  • The railway runs through the pass-through/ crosses/ goes through Z.
  • A is located in the northeast of the town.
  • X is situated in the northeast of the town, just behind the housing area.
  • A is located in the northeast of B, which has a lot of population.
  • Y is located in the center of the town, which has a railway running through it from north to south.


You need to be careful while paraphrasing the sentences. Sometimes the words that you paraphrase may not be appropriate

  • Town center = city center may be the wrong word used because the town cannot be a city. So the correct paraphrasing should be center of the town

Vocabulary words used for Map

In order to succeed this, you have to know some of the vocabulary which is given below. These words will help you in succeeding the test:


  • Illustrates
  • Describes
  • Demonstrates
  • Represents
  • Reflects
  • Shows
  • According to
  • Provides detail of
  • Gives information about

System of Co-ordinates

  • Axis
  • Trend
  • Coordinate
  • Verticle axis Y
  • Horizontal axis X

Table format

  • Row
  • Column
  • Cell
  • Data


  • Go up
  • Increase
  • Peak
  • Jump
  • Rise
  • Come down
  • Decrease
  • Decline
  • Fall
  • Fluctuate


  • Over the time period
  • Estimated
  • Gradually
  • Rapidly
  • Further
  • Makeup
  • Per week/month
  • Account for
  • Projected
  • Substantially

Map Location

  • Situated
  • Located
  • Vicinity
  • Northeast
  • Southeast
  • Northwest
  • Southwest
  • North
  • South
  • East
  • West


  • Was reported
  • On the other hand
  • Was noted
  • Overall
  • It can be concluded that
  • To summarise
  • In total

Thus the IELTS writing task 1 asks you to use different vocabularies for the data given for the map. You should be able to choose the main features and explain their trend, compare and contrast the data if 2 maps are given in order to get the band score you desire.

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Misbah Kagad is a Content Marketing Specialist, currently working as IELTS Trainer at Experience Expert with a demonstrated history of working in the education management industry. Skilled in Copywriting, Web Content writing, Management, IELTS and Research. Strong professional with a Diploma focused in Computer Science... Currently helping aspirants to crack IELTS, with tips and tricks to score a bandwidth of 8 and more. Handles the ideation and creation of compelling content including content for IELTS website, writing e-books and solving previous IELTS question papers…

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