IELTS academic writing task 1 maps
There are several question types in the IELTS academic writing task 1, and maps are a very important question type here. Many test-takers often face difficulty in selecting and reporting the features that they see on a map. In this article, we shall understand how to describe a map properly so as to gain a high score in the IELTS academic writing task 1.
To start with, it is generally known that maps are based on a plan or a layout. You have to describe the main features that you see on this map to write a report of at least 150 words. There is no upper limit for this, but care should be taken that you do not deviate from the main idea. If you do this, the band score would be lowered.
Types of maps in the IELTS academic writing task 1:
In the IELTS exam, you may be given one or two maps. If two maps are given, it is highly essential that you immediately understand what kind of maps they are and what is the common point between them.
1. The first type of map compares the current layout of an area with how it was in the past. Here, it is immediately understood that you should use the appropriate tenses (past tense in 1 body paragraph and present tense in the other). Do not forget to compare the differences and similarities that you see and highlight them clearly in the report.
2. The second kind of map represents the current plan of an area with the layout showing the possible refurbishments in the future. Just like the previous kind of map, in this scenario too, you should use the right vocabulary to indicate that you are talking about the present tense in the first paragraph and use the future tense to make predictions for the future.
Now that we have understood how to identify the kind of map, let us learn how to write a proper report based on a map.
Stages in writing a perfect, high scoring report based on a map or two maps:
To keep it simple, there are 4 major steps in writing a report.
Step 1: Analysis of the given question ( the layout (s) in this case).
Step 2: Planning and sequentially organizing the content.
Step 3: Writing the report
Step 4: Editing the content for any possible errors.
Now, we shall discuss each of these steps in detail.
Step 1: How to analyze a given map?
A map often shows several features and landmarks, such as libraries, swimming pools, leisure rooms, waiting for the hall, sports Centre, cafeteria, school, office buildings, Park, railway tracks, etc. In the first one or two minutes of the test, you should first identify what are the landmarks and their position accurately in terms of the directions. In some maps, you will clearly see the directions as north, south, east, west. These directions will be indicated by a compass.
Step 2: Organising the information logically
Organizing the information would give clarity to the reader. It would make the report complete and sequential. Hence, this is a very important step while describing a map. If the two maps depict an area in the past and in the present, it is very obvious that you have to represent the information first in the past and then compare it with the structure in the present. Alternatively, you can also describe the present layout followed by how it was looking in the past.
Similarly, if the two maps indicate the present layout and the future developments, you should use the present tense to indicate the current plan, and then you should talk about the expected developments in the future. Care should be taken so that you don’t modify the details that you see on the map in any way.
Step 3: Writing the report
The next step to write the report based on the information which you have selected and arranged logically. While writing a report, make sure that the structure is appropriate and that you don’t split the information into too many paragraphs. Do not attempt to write the information in the form of bullet points. Remember that paragraphing is an essential skill that has to be displayed while writing the report.
Always begin the report by paraphrasing the question. Since maps do not have any units of measurement, you need not worry too much about it. The introduction is the first paragraph of the report that should essentially contain the paraphrased statement of the title.
The next paragraph is called the overview. In this paragraph, briefly outline the significant changes that you see from one map to another. These could be the developments or changes which have already been done or expected to be completed in the future.
Following the overview should be the body paragraphs. The number of body paragraphs would essentially vary depending on the kind of maps. However, it is advisable to write at least one or two body paragraphs.
Ensure that you use proper cohesive linkers while describing a connection between the two maps.
Finally, end the report with the conclusion which has to be brief, and should be a rephrased version of the overview. Do not include any irrelevant or new details in this conclusion. Remember that you are not supposed to give your own opinion while describing a map or any report for that matter.
Step 4: Rechecking
Ensure that you do not skip this step. Leave at least 2 to 3 minutes time to check what you have written in terms of grammatical accuracy and spellings. Ensure that the sentences have conveyed the right meaning in the right sense with proper punctuation.
There are several things to avoid while writing the report.
1. No extra details have to be given. Avoid over interpretation. This often lowers the band score.
2. Avoid using oral language as this makes the report look less formal.
3. Spelling mistakes may severely distort the message that you try to convey. Hence, avoid making spelling mistakes.
4. Avoid writing memorized phrases in the report.
5. Avoid deviating from the central theme of the map. Stick to the core ideas and explain them with the relevant details and statistics.
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