In the IELTS Reading Test there are about 6 different types of Matching questions.
- Matching headings to paragraphs
- Matching information to paragraphs
- Matching people
- Matching people – ‘one, both or neither’
- Matching sentence endings
- Matching dates with events
Most teachers advise reading the Headings BEFORE you skim the Reading (they always come BEFORE the text in the exam).
Some of the other matching activities appear AFTER the text, but it is still advisable to read them (underlining key words) before the text.
1. Matching Headings to paragraphs
General advice for matching headings and information:
- the information will NOT be in the same order in the text
- some headings/statements will NOT be used (there will be 3 or 4 distractors)
- On the answer sheet, you usually need to write a ROMAN NUMERAL (i, ii, iii) so take great care when you transfer your answers to the answer sheet.
- The answers can usually be found in the synonyms.
- Underline key words before you read the text.
- The Lost City (with video) – this text is chronological (in order of time), so synonyms in the headings e.g. ‘The aim of the trip’ help us find the paragraph at the start of the story ‘‘his goal was to…’.
- The Water Crisis (with video) – a more difficult Passage 3 text, where the headings sum up the whole paragraph, but the clues are also in the structure e.g. The heading ‘What the future holds’ is easy to match because of the language of prediction in the last paragraph (‘It is likely that…is bound to affect…a grim prospect’)
- Is anybody out there? (with video) – an example of how the FIRST LINE of each paragraph helps you find the answer.
- Tourism – in this lesson I break up the long text to give you more manageable practice
- Tea – this lesson takes you step by step through the Matching Heading strategies
- Auckland airport – a VERY simple GT Part 1 Reading, but a good lesson to spot distractors
2. Matching Information
With Matching Headings, you can only match ONE Heading with ONE paragraph.
The difference with Matching Information is that you can match one paragraph with more than one piece of information.
- Autumn Leaves – this very difficult text is a good example of matching information where you are asked to find e.g. a description, a reason, some evidence, an explanation, a suggestion
- Glow worms – This is an easier General Training text where you can find more examples of ‘types of information’.
3. Matching people
- How did writing begin? – this lesson takes you to my main tips for Matching People. It is a good example of different experts expressing their opinion on how writing began (all are Doctors), and you have to work out who said what. It gives many examples of the reporting verbs ((he said, she believes, he argues, she claims, she asserted, they question, he does not accept etc) that are so important for this type of question.
- Coffee and Chocolate – this lesson walks you through my tips for matching people with an easy text.
Strategies to help you match statements to people
- Use the capital letters of the people’s names to help you find them quickly.
- Circle the names of the people you have to match.
- Ignore any other names that appear.
- The names of the people do not appear in the same order as the statements.
- Remember that you can use any of the names more than once.
- Before the test, learn ‘reporting verbs’: expressions of opinion (e.g. claims, argues, believes, agrees, doubts)
4. Matching people – ‘one, both or neither’
- Serendipity – In this type of matching, there are only 2 people so you have to match each statement according to whether it is true of one of them, both of them, or neither of them.
- Coffee and Chocolate – there is a similar activity where you match a fact with A, B or BOTH.
5. Matching sentence endings
- Serendipity – this is an excellent example of a scientific description contained in 2 paragraphs where you have to match the effects of different experiments.
6. Matching dates with events
- Raising the Mary Rose – this is a straightforward activity but there are tricks involved, and you will need to have a good knowledge of synonyms e.g. launched/initiated, founded/set up.
Matching people: a simple example
Look at this example taken from ‘Research Using Twins‘.
Do the exercise in the box below, then check your answers.
1.a 2.c 3.b 4.a 5.b
The answers are in the synonyms and in the way the person’s idea is paraphrased in the statements.
- Galton invented a term (coined a phrase) to distinguish two factors affecting human characteristics (‘nature and nurture’)
- Reed expressed the view (adds) that the study of epigentics (that the latest work in epigenetics) will increase our knowledge (promises to take our understanding further)
- Bouchard developed a mathematical method (used this mountain of data) of measuring genetic influences (to identify how far twins were affected by their genetic makeup).
- Galton pioneered (first suggested) the approach
- Bouchard carried out research into twins who had lived apart (Study of Twins Reared Apart)
The answers are clear if you know the vocabulary or are able to guess from context.
Doing intensive analysis exercises like this regularly will help you build your vocabulary and know what to look for in the real test.
For more advice on different parts of the Reading Test, click on the links below: