In your IELTS preparation, you’ll need to practice a total of 11 IELTS reading question types. In this article, we’ll look at the Match Heading IELTS reading question type in detail and provide you IELTS reading exam tips on how you can answer successfully.
In this post, you will
- Identify what a Match Heading question is
- Identify common problems students make when answering Match Heading questions
- Learn IELTS reading exam tips & strategies for successfully answering a Match Heading question
- Do a Match Heading IELTS reading practice question.
Match Heading Question Type Introduction
The Match Heading question type is one of the easier question types on the IELTS reading exam, because as long as you can understand the general idea of each paragraph, you can answer questions correctly. In this question type, you will see between 5 and 7 headings. A heading is a short sentence that summarises the information in a paragraph. Your job is to match each paragraph to one heading.
Common Problems Answering IELTS Reading Match Heading Questions
When doing Match Heading questions, inexperienced IELTS test-takers will read every paragraph slowly and go back to look at headings, and then attempt to match headings to paragraphs. This is totally inefficient and unnecessary. Let me tell you why.
The first and the second sentences of each IELTS reading paragraph usually give a summary of what the rest of the paragraph will discuss, and often contain keywords that one of the headings has. This means, by just looking at the first and second sentences of the paragraph, you will have a rough idea of what the paragraph is about, and sometimes you can find the associated heading right away
Example: When I skimmed through the list, I noticed that heading iii had similar words corresponding to the nouns in the first sentence of paragraph B – “Farming and soil erosion” (See the example question at the bottom of this post)
Of course, this will not always work. We will talk about the full strategy for this question type in the next section, but many times you will find that there is only one heading containing keywords or synonyms that match the first sentence of the paragraph.
IELTS Reading Exam Tips & Strategies: How to Answer Match Heading Questions
The most essential skill to answer Match Heading questions is skimming, which is being able to read a text quickly to get a general idea of meaning. The following answer strategy explains how you can utilize skimming skills to tackle this question type.
- Skim the first paragraph. When you skim it, read the first one or two sentences and the last sentence to understand the general meaning.
- Once you have a general idea of the first paragraph, you should be able to identify some keywords that are important Usually keywords are found in the first and the second sentences. For example, in the above sample question, the keywords in the paragraph A is government and environmental management
- Browse through all headings and match any headings that are very obvious and you are sure about. Usually by this step, you can already find the answer. However, if there is more than one heading, and you are not sure which one is correct, continue to the next step
- Write all potential headings beside the paragraph. Identify the difference between each of them. Pay attention to any synonyms in the paragraph to keywords in the headings. If you still can’t pick one, move one. The answer will often reveal itself later.
Follow this step by step process for each paragraph.
Using this strategy, you’re certain to find answers efficiently. Remember, this is for some of the easier question types in the reading exam, so you should aim to match each of headings in 1 minute. This way, you will have more time for the more difficult questions.
Also, if you have several question types for the same passage, always do the matching headings questions first, as the headings summarize the text and can help you scan the answers for other questions.
Free IELTS Reading Samples
Let’s do some IELTS reading practices to hone the new skills, tips, and strategies you’ve learned. You are welcome to leave your answers in the comment section.
Here is an example of Match Heading IELTS reading sample question.
Questions 1 – 5
Reading Passage 6 has six sections, A-F.
Choose the correct heading for sections A-D and F from the list of headings below.
Write the correct number i-ix in boxes 1-5 on your answer sheet.
List of Headings
- The probable effects of the new international trade agreement
- The environmental impact of modern farming
- Farming and soil erosion
- The effects of government policy in rich countries
- Governments and management of the environment
- The effects of government policy in poor countries
- Farming and food output
- The effects of government policy on food output
- The new prospects for world trade
- Section A _______
- Section B _______
- Section C _______
- Section D _______
- Section F _______