Writing a Plan: IELTS Listening Practice Question

IELTS listening plans

In this post, we will look at plans in the listening test.

Students will have to understand a description of a place and follow directions. You will probably be familiar with some of these plans, as you see them when you visit galleries, museums and other places like schools. 

In section 2 you will probably hear a person talking about a topic that is not academic. It is usually someone talking about an event or showing them around a building

The plans below are a bit more complex than those that you will see in the IELTS Listening Test. When you listen to the recording during the test, look out for the language of location. For example, next to, near, opposite, in front of etc.

TIP >> During the test make notes and/or mark the way on the question paper before transferring your answers at the end. 

TIP >> Make sure you spell your answers correctly.

Question Example

Label the plan below.

Choose EIGHT answers from the box and write the correct letters A-I next to questions 11-15.

IELTS maps example quesion

The Language of Location

To understand the description of a plan and to locate certain places you need to understand the language of location

You should also be familiar with prepositions of place, such as in, at, on, by, next to, beside, near, between, among, behind, in front of, under, below, over, above, across, through, to, into, towards, onto and from. 

For example, if we look at the plan above;

  • Gallery 1 is next to gallery 2.
  • Gallery 2 is beside gallery 3.
  • Gallery 6 is in front of gallery 7.
Common language of location for IELTS listening

Labelling A Plan

In order to be able to label a plan, you must listen for a description or directions on the recording. You will most likely hear a person describing a plan or showing people around somewhere. You may be given a list of possible answers in a box or not.

The information you hear will be in the same order as the recording. You should study the plan carefully before listening so that you have an idea of where the options may be. 

TIP >> You can cross out any options that you think are wrong and if you can’t decide between two answers, write both down and make a choice later.

Question Example

Label the plan.

Write the correct letter. A-E, next to questions 11-15.

Labelling A Plan


A distractor is when you are given information that is wrong. This can lead you to choose the incorrect answer. They are common in the IELTS Listening tests, as they test your ability to choose the right information for the answers, by ignoring the wrong information.

The distractors will try to trick you into selecting the wrong answer, so you must listen carefully for specific information.

The distractors for this type of task might be more rooms etc on the plan or extra options in the list of possible answers. 


The questions will paraphrase the information from the recording, or a speaker in the recording may paraphrase, so you will have to use your knowledge of synonyms, noticing any keywords and terms. Recognising and using synonyms shows the examiner that you have good vocabulary knowledge. Paraphrasing is a skill that is needed in all parts of the test.

Review And Strategy

TIP >> The plans, maps and diagrams questions do not follow the order that you hear the information in the recording. Therefore it is important that you read the questions and familiarise yourself with the plan or map you are looking at before you start listening. 

TIP >> Study the map and see where things are before listening to the recording. Marks can be lost if you do not do this and read the questions properly.

TIP >> Listen carefully for information but be wary of distractors. 

TIP >> Make notes on the paper and draw lines to destinations etc. This may help you to locate information.

We hope you found this post useful in helping you to study for the IELTS Test. If you have any questions please let us know in the comments below or on the Facebook page.

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