IELTS Academic Writing Task 1: two maps of Portview Town; with discussion, bonus tips and model answer

IELTS Academic Writing Task 1: two maps of Portview Town; with discussion, bonus tips and model answer

This IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 post can help you write a great answer for task 1 question with maps. In this post, we will look at two maps of the same area named Portview Town with some changes happening at two different times. The post will also help you learn some grammar discussions which are important to describe locations and changes in a place. You will find a model answer for the given question at the end of the lesson with bonus tips.

Let’s have a look at the question first. 

The maps show developments made in a seaside town called Portview between 1990 and 2010.

IELTS Academic Writing Task 1: two maps of Portview Town; with discussion, bonus tips and model answer

IELTS Academic Writing Task 1: two maps of Portview Town; with discussion, bonus tips and model answer

Describing different locations /places in a map:

As an IELTS candidate, you are expected to describe different locations or places and the changes that take place in different maps. So, learning how to describe different places and the changes are essential

When I was given two maps to describe some changes in my first IELTS exam, what I first did was marking the maps and highlighting the changes. I used some circles and different symbols to mark the changes.

Here is an example of how you can mark the pictures in the exam hall.

IELTS Academic Writing Task 1: two maps of Portview Town; with discussion, bonus tips and model answer

IELTS Academic Writing Task 1: two maps of Portview Town; with discussion, bonus tips and model answer
Take a careful look at how I marked the changes in the picture with a pencil. You can do this before you start writing your answer. 

Here are some sentence patterns which you can use to describe different locations and changes in those locations.  

Have a close look at the use of ‘to the’ and ‘of the’.


A humongous golf course was set up to the west of the farmland.

The airport to the north of the canal was cut down.

The plantations in the north-east of the city were knocked down.

The railroad to the south-west of the village was replaced with a highway road.

The school to the south-east was knocked down and a new one built to the east of the forest.

Remember that you may need ‘preposition of places’ such as in/on/at/by/beside/to/from/off etc. to explain locations of different landmarks.  


The ancient railroad running from east to west was replaced by a modern highway.

A kindergarten school was constructed next to the University cafe.

Major improvements took place in the surrounding area.

The housing estate is surrounded by lots of trees.

A small harbour was built on the seaside.

Model answer:

The depicted maps illustrate how a seaside town, known as Portview, has transformed over two different time periods (1990 and 2010). Overall, significant changes took place in infrastructure and facilities over twenty years.

In 1990, Elvin Street dissected Portview town into two sides. On the western side, a golf course was established with a small resort to the far north side while most of the area was occupied by humongous farmland. A shopping mall and a swimming pool were also built adjacent to Elvin Street. The eastern side was dissected by Waterfront Street which led directly to the Pier where small boats could take refuge. Some shops were built on the north while a small café was erected on the south side.

However, the 2010 map shows major improvements with the golf course and the café being augmented in size while the resort was upgraded to 5-star hotels. The shopping mall was turned into a big shopping centre whereas the farmland was converted into a large park area with lots of trees, waterholes, two footpaths and seating arrangements. Two more swimming pools were added while a new car park was constructed just opposite the hotels. Waterfront Street also experienced some changes with shops on both sides and another pier being built on the south side.

Another model answer:

The provided maps illustrate how Portview, a seaside town, had developed from 1990 to 2010.

Overall, over the 20-year period, Portview had undergone many changes with most of its previous infrastructures transforming into more complex and developed ones.

On one hand, in 1990, the town of Portview was quite simple and was divided by Elvin Street into two. Perpendicular to it, to its right, was Waterfront Street which had four shops  bordering it on one side. Moreover, opposite to the shops was a cafe and by the sea, was a pier. On the other side of Elvin Street was a resort and a shopping mall; the latter having a swimming pool in its vicinity. The rest of the town was covered by a golf course and farmland.

On the other hand, in 2010, the seaside town was completely transformed with firstly the cafe becoming larger and while the pier still remained, a second pier was added. The amount of shops doubled over two decades and Waterfront Street was then bordered by shops on both sides. A car park was constructed over the empty space opposite to the original row of shops. Furthermore, there was the addition of two more swimming pools while the resort became 5-star hotels and the shopping mall transformed into a complex. The golf course, though it remained, was bigger. Finally, the farmland was demolished to make way for a park that consisted of trees, benches, small waterholes and a footpath.

Contributor: Sumayyah Jumoorty, Mauritius

Bonus tips:

Use of synonyms:

The use of synonyms can make a major difference in earning a great band score. So, try to use synonyms as much as possible and avoid repeating the same words. However, don’t be too worried about repeated articles and prepositions. They will appear often in your writing. Follow some 8.0-9.0 band answers and see how many articles and prepositions have been repeated.

Here are some other maps for you to practice:

Two maps showing changes in an industrial town

Two maps showing changes in Islip Town; Cambridge 12 Test 6

Three maps showing changes in Forton Valley City

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6 months ago

content is really great ,sir


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