IELTS Writing Task 1: Describe Changes In Maps

Apr 9, 2020 | IELTS WRITING TASK 1

Source: Cambridge IELTS 12, Test 6


Step 1: Identify the type of map(s) => which tense(s) to use

Step 2: Look at the given labels => think of synonyms/ paraphrases

Step 3: Identify changes regarding the size, shape, and location of the items in the maps (notice any items that are new or have disappeared or remain unchanged)

Step 4: Select the main features to put in the Overview as well as other details of changes in the Body paragraphs

Step 5: Write the report

Step 6: Double check your work


  1. Introduction:
    • paraphrase the question title
    • 1 sentence
  1. Overview:
  • point out the most noticeable differences between the 2 maps
  • 1 – 2 sentences
  1. Body:
  • Body 1: 3 – 4 sentences about specific changes
  • Body 2: 3 – 4 sentences about specific changes


  • While identifying changes, highlight/ circle the changes and make notes.
  • Use vocabulary that is NOT there on the map(s). Try to paraphrase by using synonyms.
  • Don’t just state what is there on the map(s). Try to link the details

❌: There are roads and footpaths.

✅: Roads and footpaths connect the various parts of the islands.


Simple language Advanced language
Destroy Buildings, roads, bridges & railways: Demolish/ dismantle/ tear down/ knock down

Trees & forests: clear/ cut down/ chop down/ remove

Build Construct/ develop/ set up/ establish/ erect
Move Relocate
Change Convert/ transform/ alter/ (re) develop (into)
Upgrade Renovate/ refurbish/ revamp/ modernize
Increase in size Expand/ enlarge/ extend/ stretch/ broaden/ widen/ swell
Decrease in size Shrink/ shrivel/ diminish/ downsize/ dwindle
Increase in number Double (x2)/ triple (x3)/ quadruple (x4)/ quintuple (x5)
Decrease in number Curtail/ cut down/ contract/ downsize
Having more/ fewer houses Be more/ less residential
Having more/ fewer trees Be greener/ less green
The area that covers warehouse and factories An industrial estate
Having factories, warehouses, and ferry A mainly urban landscape
Having more shopping malls, office buildings Become more commercial
Having more resorts, hotels Become more touristy
Describe location 1. Use ‘located’, ‘situated’, ‘be’, ‘lie’ (lie – lay – lain)

o  The school was located/ situated in the city center.

o  The school was/ lay in the city center.

2. There + be + noun + direction

o   There was an airport to the north of the river.

3. Direction + be/lie + noun

o   South of the residential complex was/ lay a convenience store.

2. Use ‘north’, ‘south’, ‘east’, ‘west’

o   A golf course was constructed to the north of the airport.

o   The airport in the city center was relocated to the north-east of the river.

o  The houses in the south-west of the town were demolished

Use prepositions of place (at/ in/ on/ by/ beside/ adjacent to/ off/ from, etc)

To the south of the town, there is a golf course surrounded by trees.

o  The trees alongside the river were cleared to make way for houses.

o  A number of wind turbines were placed in the sea, just on the coastline.



  • The town transformed dramatically over 20 years.
  • The town experienced/ underwent/ saw/ witnessed a dramatic transformation over 20 years.
  • There was a dramatic transformation in the town over 20 years.
  • The two decades saw/ witnessed/ experienced a dramatic transformation in the town.


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