IELTS reading- diagram labelling

ielts reading diagram labelling

IELTS reading diagram labelling


The IELTS reading test comprises of various question types, and diagram labelling is one of the very important ones. This article is going to highlight the importance of diagram labelling questions and how you can answer them properly if a proper strategy is followed. It is a very easy and straight forward type of question which can give you the full score.


How many types of questions are there in the IELTS reading test?
Remember that the IELTS reading test different from the academic module to the general training module, however, the question types are the same regardless of the module taken. Hence, it is mandatory to understand what type of questions can be seen in the test and what the strategy fits to answer each question type.


1. IELTS reading – diagram labelling
2. Note completion of sentence completion
3. Flow chart completion
4. Summary completion with options or without options
5. Table completion
6. Multiple choice questions where a single option needs to be selected
7. Multiple choice questions where two options have to be selected
8. Matching the list of titles or headings to the paragraphs
9. Matching the endings of sentences
10. Identifying the paragraph which contains the information
12. Short answer questions
13. True/ false /not given
14. Yes /no /not given.


What are the do’s and don’ts to be followed while labelling a diagram?


Diagram labelling is one of the simplest forms of fill in the blanks. In fact, If you see a diagram labelling question in the IELTS reading test, it is understood that you are going to score well if you follow certain tips and tricks. It is very rare to see students facing a problem with diagram labelling unless they are not sure of what they are looking for.


1. Always read the instructions carefully. This will give you a clear idea of what is expected of you. Furthermore, you will also understand the word count which is very important while attempting the test.


2. Follow quick reading methods like skimming and scanning to understand the context and to answer the questions confidently.


3. Follow the order of the questions to get the answers in a quicker way.


4. Generally, you will notice that for diagram labelling questions, a clear title will be seen. This title will give you the clue to locate the answers.


5. Depending on the structure of the part which has to be labelled, you can predict what exactly you are looking for. So, always observe the given diagram carefully and then search for the related word.


6. Understand that synonyms are critical when answering the reading test. Synonyms give us an idea because of which the answers can be easily found in the text.




1. Never confirm the answer without referring to the context. In short, do not answer without reading properly.


2. Do not overlook the spellings. As the IELTS test is an English proficiency test, spellings are very important. If you get the spelling wrong, then even though the answer is correct, it will be marked as an error.


3. Do not avoid reading the word instructions. It is observed that much test-takers neglect this fact and they write the answer in more than the instructed number of words.


4. Do not read the entire paragraph extensively at the start of the question type. Refer to the part of the text that gives the related information which will help in labelling the diagram.


How to follow the process of diagram labelling?
Follow these steps to label the diagram properly.


Step 1: Begin with reading the instructions for word count. The various word instructions could be
a. Write the answer in one word only.
b. Write the answer in one word and/or a number.
c. Write the answer in no more than two words.
d. Write the answer in no more than 2 words and /or a number.
e. Write the answer in no more than three words.
f. Write the answer in no more than three words and /or a number.


Why is it important to follow the word instructions?
 Let us understand this with an example. Imagine that the answer you are looking for is ‘A closed gate’. If you look at the word instructions and you observe that the answer has to be written in one word, then you can omit the words ‘A’ and ‘closed’ depending on what you predict the answer to be, and you can write the answer as Gate.


Similarly, if the word instructions say no more than two words, then you can just meet the word ‘A’ and write the answer as a closed gate. In the case of Forwarding instructions instructing you to write no more than three words, then you can go ahead and write the answer as a closed gate. If you observe, it all depends on the word instructions.


Step 2: Read the title and any side headings carefully. The title is very important for labelling a diagram. In fact, it is very easy to look for synonyms for the words given in the title, and this will help us to label the diagram much more effectively. Underline keywords such as nouns, verbs, adjectives, prepositions, etc. Mainly nouns will help us as these will not be given as synonyms.


Step 3: Based on your understanding of the keywords, you can now begin your search by skimming and scanning the text. Skimming refers to the process of quick reading in which you notice the title and the important words which are given in capital letters, such as proper nouns. In addition to this, you will have to make short notes in and around the text depending on what you understood.


After skimming, read the text closely to locate the answer. In this process, you are getting the right answer because you know what you are looking for. Predicting the answer will definitely help in this process.


Step 4: Finally, write the answer in the IELTS reading answer sheet with the right spelling.


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