IELTS Map Listening Practice

This lesson is to practice map completion for IELTS listening. First, there is some sentence completion and then you must do the map completion exercise.

Tips for Maps

  1. Check the location of each number on your map
  2. Think of language that might be used to describe that location
  3. Look for any arrows on the map
  4. Answers to questions will come in order (the answer for question 1 will come before the answer for question 2 in the recording)
  5. Most map recordings are similar to a guided tour which follows a logical order
  6. Don’t be distracted by extra information
  7. Don’t forget to make notes – you can write all over your question paper
    1. when you make notes, avoid writing long words – just use abbreviations or simple letters

Map Listening Practice: The Taj Mahal 

Questions 1-2

Complete the sentences below using no more than one word and/or a number.

  1. The Taj Mahal was completed in ……………..
  2. Around ………… labourers were used in its creation.

Questions 3-7

Label the map below using no more than two words and/or a number.

building map ielts listening



Welcome to the Taj Mahal. This is one of the most famous monuments to love in the world. It was built between 1631 and 1653 in the city of Agra by the Mughal Emperor Shah as a mausoleum for his wife. The construction involved some 20,000 workers and incorporated materials from China, Tibet, Sri Lanka and Arabia.

We are here at the Outer Gate and directly in front of us is the forecourt. On the left hand side of the forecourt, you will see some subsidiary tombs and opposite that are the tomb attendants’ quarters. If you go straight ahead, you will come to the Great Gate and beyond that is the formal gardens. The gardens are divided into 4 sections by paths which represent the 4 rivers of paradise. Midway, where the paths intersect, is a marble pond, in which the mausoleum is beautifully reflected. Walking through the gardens, past the pond, you will come to the mausoleum itself which has a marble dome, 35m high. Each side of the building has archways which are framed by carefully chosen verses from the Qur’an in beautifully stylised calligraphy. To the left of this, is the mosque and to the right you can find a guesthouse. Now I’ll give you some time to wander round and see this marvel for yourself.

  1. 1653
  2. 20,000
  3. forecourt (you must have the correct spelling)
  4. Great Gate (capital letters not important – see IELTS Exam FAQ page)
  5. pond / marble pond
  6. mausoleum
  7. guesthouse / guest house


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  1. Sumit Singh says:

    Hi Liz,

    You did not reply my query and I don’t event see my question above in comments section.

    Any specific reason of deleting it.

    Please confirm.


    • All tips are on my website – I don’t offer private help to individuals. I also have over 10 thousand comments waiting.

  2. Hi Liz
    Could you explain more on “tomb attendants’ quarters” please? I have no idea what is that ?

    • “quarters” = see number 9 definition on this page:

      • But what is Tomb attendants ? Something together with the tomb or else ?

        • An attendant is a person: Emma, you really need to use a dictionary and start building your vocab with word lists of new words.

          • Thanks Liz.
            I think my previous comment submission did not deliver ,so, I submit to clarify you again. I have asked for meaning of “tomb attendants quarter” not only seperate word for ‘attendants’ or ‘quarter’ which no need to find on dictionary since there are very commond vocabs. You might wonder what kind of student doesn’t even know that easy words? Seem we are on the different track Liz. Moreover, serching on Google for that whole word only found building with archway and cause confusion whether it refers to building or human.

            You might not aware that some countries have no mosque, tomb but pagoda , stupa, funeral pyre in stead. Different culture and perception can lead to difficulty in interpretation. My friend help to clarify that it is area/room for graveyard guards (in commond language) which made me surprise due to there is no such thing in my country, only undertaker deal with the body and done.
            Thanks for contribute great lesson Liz.

            • What do you think a “pagoda attendant” is? Do you think “pagoda attendants” have “quarters” = sleeping places? You will never learn 100% of all words in English but you can use common sense to understand meaning. If you are not willing to attempt meaning based on your knowledge, then you will struggle in IELTS. I have lived in China, Vietnam and many other countries which are not similar to English – you learn to adapt and learn to adapt your knowledge.

  3. Nadine Bachour says:

    Hello Liz,

    Why the answer to question 1 isn’t Agra. The transcript does not say it was built in 1653, but it gives the duration of time. I am very confused here.

    • The collocation is “completed in…” with a date or time. You can’t use the verb “complete” with a place. This is about knowing your collocations.

  4. Hi Liz
    There is no instructions for question no 1-2, just FYI…


  5. lisaWealth says:

    Good afternoon Liz, thank you for the teachings! I’m grateful☆☆☆please how can I listen to the mp3 audios because I can’t access that of sound cloud. Thank you.

    • Some of my listening are soundcloud but some are not. Go through the other exercises and do the ones that don;t use soundcloud.

  6. Amr shaaban says:

    Hello Liz am very vey thankful to you and your great site
    Just wanna tell you about answer 1 i thought he needs how many years so I answer it IN 22 years

    • The recording did not say “22 years”, it gave a date. Your task is to write the answer you hear, not put in synonyms or calculate time.

  7. Dear Liz,
    I would like to ask a question about the form of written answers in the answer sheet.
    If the answer isn’t a proper name ( doesn’t need a capital letter), can we still begin with a capital letter. In other word, if the answer is “garden”, can we write the following in the answer sheet:
    1. Garden
    or we have to write:
    1. garden
    Thank you so much,
    Best regards.

    • IELTS don’t pay attention to capital letters in listening. You can use them, not use them or mix them up. No problem (2017).

  8. My Answer were
    1. 1653
    2. 20,000
    3. Fore Court
    4. Great Gate
    5. Marble Pond
    6. Marble Dome
    7. Guest House

    May you please Enlighten me if Title Case remains fine … I know the wrong correct answers from the above mentioned list though …

    Is my way of answering 3 4 5 7 remains OK as they have first alphabet in capital …

    • Hello Liz and Abhi,
      In the BC website itself ,there was no particular tip given for using Capitalisation. And I checked in other blogs too – ex There also, it was given, writing CHINA / china / China / cHiNa – all are correct.

    • Bharat Sharma says:

      Your sixth answer is incorrect. She said mausoleum twice.

  9. here there are some difficult words like mauselom….which are not spelled….what do about it

  10. Ma’am could you please provide me task 1 samples for 9 bands..and please help me in finalising my preparation strategy for Listening and Espacially for reading,..i need 6.5 overall

  11. HOW TO WRITE DATE DAY (14th,1/5th,etc in capital letter

  12. Deep Sharma says:

    Dear Liz,
    Would you please advise about the separation of thousand with ” , ” is compulsory?
    I.e. 20,000. or 20000 also is correct?

  13. Al_slam Alykm

    when they given me a invert of time such as ( was built between 1631-1653) , when ask me in question what time taj mahal was built ? i always choose the last date (1653)?
    thank you , for helping

    • The question asked when it was completed which means finished. If the question is when was it built, the information will give only one date.

  14. Mosaab Ragab says:

    Hi liz ,
    Is the mausoleum spelling must be correct?

  15. Hi Liz,
    Thank you for this marvelous website.

    May I ask you, why an answer under the number 6 is “mausoleum” and not “marble dome”. I thought that a speaker should a little bit emphasize the right answer with the intonation or pause, whereas in this particular case the word “mausoleum” was not accented at all and vice versa the word “dome” was definitely emphasized.

    Sorry for such a long sentence 🙂
    And thank you in advance for your answer.

    • The transcript says “you will come to the mausoleum itself which has a marble dome,”. This means the answer is “mausoleum” and “marble dome” is just a description of that location.

  16. thank you very much, i’m started listening to your websites just since few days, but i find its very helpful. Thank you again

  17. Harith says:

    HI liz
    i have an question
    do the exam questions will returned sometimes ? or never will be same?

    • The speaking questions and topics remain similar for about three months and then change. But they are often repeated year after year. The writing topics are often similar but the questions change.

      • oh thanks very much
        Moreover . i am in Malaysia so the exam questions same with UK or every country has different questions .
        Do u have an exam questions for this year 2016 ?
        THANKS a lot

      • Hi Liz
        as u said the writing topices are often similar means next month will be also abpout the education because the month was about education
        please reply me bc next month my exam
        thanks a lot

  18. Hi I would like some privet lessons, how i can get it?

  19. Hi Liz,

    Thank you for this great website.


  20. Hi Liz…

    I want to thank you for this great website which has everything available for IELTS aspirants. With God’s grace and your blog I was able to achieve my desired band score.
    Thanks a lot…..
    God Bless

  21. Hi Liz,
    Can we write all the answers in capital letters in the listening and reading parts of ielts ?

  22. Hello Liz,

    Am about to appear for the IELTS test in this coming month. I have very few time to left for the exam. I have started with listening test first and have done with the section 1 completely. However, in section 2 I am facing problems on map completion. There are many vocabulary in directions that was used in the audio which was a difficult part for me to understand. I request you to provide me with some important tips and vocabulary for directions, So that I can use it carefully in the map completion part.

  23. Mayur Kathiriya says:

    I always make mistake in using of capital letters while answering. can you please explain when to use capital letters? why you used capital in great gate and why not in marble pond or in guest house?


    • Hi!
      I was just wondering why on Earth should we know such detail about the history of India that Taj Mahal’s Great Gate is a name not a description? If I answer “great gate” then I wrote down what I heard and since I don’t know the different parts of Taj Mahal in detail, I couldn’t predict that these words should’ve been written with capital letters. It’s not really comparable to July or Mr Brown.

  24. kabiraj khatri says:

    Hi Liz,

    Can you give me the name of website where I can find past IELTS test questions in all section?? ,please !

  25. I need more practice regarding maps in listening. Where I can find more maps?

  26. Hii liz, please snd me listening tests and reading

  27. Muhammed Shamsuddin says:

    Thank you madam for your nice lesson . Really you are a great person .

  28. Hi Liz,
    Might i have any mark if i do not capitalize great gate?
    Thank Liz!

  29. Hello Liz,
    Thanks for your efforts. I am very grateful to your writing session as well as the listening.
    Please upload some another maps. it would be more helpful for me.
    I am going to take the IELTS test (General Training) in the next month, so please do for me right now and please upload GT reading module which can be more helpful for me.
    once again thank you very much and if I made any grammatical mistake please notify me as well.

  30. Mam,
    can you give more practices regarding map or share a link so we can master on this topic

    Thanks in advance

  31. Anandita Rizki says:

    (1) 1673 (aaaa…I’m not focused!)
    (2) 20,000
    (3) folkout (the correct one is forecourt and I didn’t know that word before)
    (4) great gate (I didn’t write the first letter in capital. So, I assume that I make a wrong answer)
    (5) marble pond
    (6) mosleem (the correct one is mausoleum and I didn’t know that word before)
    (7) guest house

    Thanks Liz! 🙂

  32. Hi liz,

    I am currently using your blog to understand the format and strategy of IELTS.It is according to me , of an indispensable help.I am thankful to your generosity .. On top of that, I would like to add that, I have been given a book on IELTS,an the author`s name is,Simone Bravermann.I would like to ask you whether ,in your opinion of expertise whether this book is of any benefit in being an adjunct to clearing IELTS exam along with your net site.

    • Hi Roy,

      I have heard of her work but I haven’t actually seen any of her books so I can’t give my opinion. It’s certainly worth getting her books but you must use your judgement as to whether the recommendations in the books are suitable or not. Most books for IELTS offer good advice in listening, reading and speaking but sometime can give confusing or conflicting advice about writing – however, you must decide for yourself. The best way to judge is if you feel advice is clearly explained and also supported by the band score descriptors published by IELTS.
      All the best

  33. Dear Liz,
    Thanks for your nice work you are doing. Would you like to explain why you wrote in capital letter answer no .4 i.e., Great Gate?

  34. Amritpal singh says:

    dear i have problem in reading in finding paragraph headings.what can i do for it???

    • Hi,

      For finding paragraph information, the key is to spend more time preparing the information in the questions before you try to find the location. Paraphrasing is the essential so you need to prepare paraphrases for each question and then scan through the passage quickly looking for those key words. There is no order so you don’t need to start with the first question if you don’t want to.
      All the best

  35. Amritpal singh says:

    Hi liz…

    What want we do for gud result in multiple choice questions ? ?

  36. Hi Liz

    Till now I found the mapping , filling diagram and sometime I felt from practicing listening
    Sometime feeling the gaps with words is not mentioned in the chat
    Would you tell me how i can go through all of them please

    • Hi Sally,

      I’m not sure I understand your question. Do you mean how to do both sets of questions? Usually in IELTS listening, there is a break between one type of question and another but not always. You must read through your questions before listening to know what problems you might have and to be ready to jump from sentence completion to the map. Part of your skill is to learn when to move to the next set of questions. As soon as you hear “we are here…” you know it is talking about the map because there is an arrow which shows where you are and what direction you are going in. So, listen for these signals to know which questions are being talked about.
      All the best

      • Thanks Liz
        Yes I’m talking about mapping through listening exam
        The problem i found if u missed A then all the other answers will be wronge
        If you any way to make easy form me please help

        • Hi,

          I understand. That happens to many students. The key is the way you prepare your map before you listen. You must look at the order to numbers on the map and think about their location. You need to train yourself to do this quickly.

          For example, on this listening exercise you can see that number 3 is in the middle of an area, number 4 is a kind of doorway or you must pass through something, number 5 is in the middle of 4 roads or 4 lines – this is the way you think. When you listen, you should listen for number 3 first but you should also keep your ears open for information about number 4 or even number 5. If you suddenly hear the word “gate” or “doorway”, you know that you might have missed number 4 and you should listen out for number 5. We call this learning to navigate your map.

          Don’t forget that maps have a limited vocabulary. If there is a gate way between places, there are only a certain number of ways to describe it. That is why it is important to learn vocabulary from transcripts, practice predicting the language when you look at the map and then practice keeping your ears open and your eyes on two or three locations at the same time.
          All the best

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