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IELTS Reading: Matching Heading Question

In case of Matching Heading  questions, you will be given a number of headings. All you need to do is match these headings with the paragraphs. You know the heading of a paragraph is a short summary of the paragraph. In this question, you will need to identify which heading matches with which paragraph summary. There will be more number of headings than the number of paragraphs. Therefore, you will get enough options to choose from. Look at the example from an actual test question:


IELTS Reading Matching Heading question

Source: Cambridge English IELTS Past Papers

Take a look at the example question above. You are instructed to choose a correct heading for each paragraph. There are six paragraphs in the reading passage. You are given eight heading options to match with those six paragraphs. You do not need to write the headings, you are required to write only the designated numbers in the specific boxes on your answer sheet. If you write the heading on your answer sheet rather than writing only the numbers, your answer will be considered wrong. Because, look at the third line from top, it says 'write the correct number', not the word.

Common Problems

  • This is not an order question. Answers do not follow the same order in the reading text as the order of the question sentences.

  • There are too much information to come across in each paragraph. It is really difficult for a student to get the main idea of a paragraph in a very short time.

  • When they are in rush, some students try to match some words from the headings to the words in the reading text. And eventually end up with a wrong answer.

  • Looking for too much details in a paragraph, or spending too much information in one question can create pressure on other questions that come afterwards.

Solution Tips

  • A million dollar tip is, answer this question first. Because you are summarising the paragraphs. Therefore, if you do this first, you will get a good grasp on whole reading passage that you will need later. 

  • Skim the text to understand a general meaning of the paragraph. Don't read too fast. If you go through the information too fast, you may end up understanding nothing which turns out a complete waste of time.

  • Always stay aware of synonyms and paraphrases. Don't rush to match the words from the headings to the words in the reading passage. Examiners know that you might have this tendency, that's why they usually put synonyms or paraphrases to test your vocabulary skill. For example, the word "task" might be used there in the reading passage rather than the word "work" that is used in the question sentence.

  • Do not try to understand the details of a paragraph. It will take too long time. Rather just read a couple of sentences from the starting and the finishing areas of a paragraph. It will help you get a general meaning of the paragraph and guess the probable heading.

  • You might come across some headings that seem similar. find out the subtle difference among them and select the best suit for your paragraph.

Check the other Reading question types with their detailed discussion:

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