Answering The IELTS Reading Matching Question Type

Matching information tasks are an everyday task type in the IELTS exam. In today’s lesson, we will focus on answering the IELTS Reading Matching Type Question. There are four main types of corresponding exercises. These are:

  1. Matching Information
  2. Matching Headings
  3. Matching Sentence Endings
  4. Matching Features

And we will be covering all four in this blog post, so stick around to the end and practice along if you want to get a high score in the IELTS Matching questions.

Matching Information

For matching information tasks, you will need to look at each phrase in the question and then look for the information or idea in the text. This task is similar to what we have practised in earlier lessons in this module.

It’s worth mentioning that unlike other sections of the IELTS exam, the order of the questions WILL NOT be in the order that you find them in the text.

You need to develop a new skill to achieve this efficiently.


Skim reading is the ability to understand the text’s central idea quickly.

When we’re skim reading, we’re just looking for the main ideas/points or pieces of information in the text. For example, when looking for your evening bus to get home, do you read the full bus timetable? Of course not. That would be ridiculous. So, we’re training the same skill in English. Locate WHAT they want you to find, and then try as quickly as possible to locate it, looking for similar words, ideas or meanings.

The types of information we skim for:





A date

A problem



A time



A cause

Matching Information Example

Look at the extract from Stonehenge – Wikipedia and match them to the type of information.

A description

A date

A location

A problem

Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, England, two miles (3 km) west of Amesbury.

It consists of an outer ring of vertical sarsen standing stones, each around 13 feet (4.0 m) high, seven feet (2.1 m) wide, weighing around 25 tons, topped by connecting horizontal lintel stones. Inside is a ring of smaller bluestones. Inside these are free-standing trilithons, two bulkier vertical Sarsens joined by one lintel. The whole monument, now ruinous, is orientated towards the sunrise on the summer solstice. The stones are set within earthworks in the middle of the densest complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments in England, including several hundred tumuli (burial mounds).[1]

Archaeologists believe that Stonehenge was constructed from 3000 BC to 2000 BC. The surrounding circular earth bank and ditch, which constitute the earliest phase of the monument, have been dated to about 3100 BC. Radiocarbon dating suggests that the first bluestones were raised between 2400 and 2200 BC,[2] although they may have been at the site as early as 3000 BC.[3][4][5]

Now let’s look at Matching Headings.

You may be required to match a list of headings to paragraphs in the exam.

Here’s a proven strategy of what to do when you encounter one:

  • Quickly read the list of headings and underline keywords
  • Skim read the passages and jot down a one-word gist (main idea)
  • Starting from the first paragraph, re-read if required and match to the most related heading
  • Skip the ones you find difficult and then choose based on the process of elimination and logic

Remember that a heading is a summary of all the information below it!

A paragraph heading is a signpost and indication of what the entire paragraph is talking about. You may find that one or more of the options could be used. But remember, we are not just looking for the related word or synonym, but does the heading represent the entire paragraph, not just a sentence.

Let’s look at an example: How to enjoy a digital detox over Christmas (

Match The Headings To The Relevant Paragraph

Find the positives


Lock it away

Don’t forget to plan


  1. (Missing Heading)

By far, the most efficient way to get the most out of the experience is to lock your phone, laptop and tablets away. Of course, you have the option to turn on “do not disturb” mode or selectively turn off notifications on some apps. However, it is quite a task to turn off notifications for certain groups of apps, and with your phone still in your pocket, there’s always an excuse to check Facebook or Instagram, to reply to an email, or upload a photo. This approach means you could still scroll through your phone, and muscle memory means you can open apps without even realising it.

You could consider limiting your phone usage time—for example, one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening. But our study found that soon you would spend much longer without realising it and find more excuses to be online.

So, the best solution is to go cold turkey and lock your phone in a box or hide it somewhere. This removes the challenges of turning off notifications or limiting your phone time.

At first, it might be a bit overwhelming. But after a while, you will start to feel the benefits and hopefully feel more liberated freer, or like a weight has been lifted.. You may even find that you want to stay disconnected for longer.

  1. (Missing Heading)

It’s very difficult not to unwind in the countryside. There, you don’t need to worry about navigating city streets and the overwhelming digitalised infrastructure of cities (such as apps for booking restaurants, cinema tickets and public transport). So if you can get away, it will make the detox feel much more natural.

But prior planning is essential. Turn on your out-of-office message, let your colleagues, clients and boss know that you are away. Inform your loved ones and friends so you won’t be stressed about them trying to reach you.

You should also print booking confirmations and train, plane and other travel tickets – and get a paper map so you can leave your digital devices behind. If you find the preparation too much of a fuss, you can book your experience with a digital detox holiday provider who will help with the planning and adjustment to a week or two without sensory overload.

  1. (Missing Heading)

As technology is considered the “default” in our lives, you might experience some difficulties disconnecting cold turkey from a world where we are connected 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

At first, disconnecting might throw up some considerable emotional challenges – such as feeling stressed, anxious or frustrated.

We suggest trying to re-frame the struggles in your mind as positive by looking at the experiences as rewards rather than punishments. For example, not being able to use digital apps or websites to navigate around and find highly-rated restaurants can be frustrating – but it can also create a sense of excitement from having the opportunity to explore the unknown, experience unexpected encounters, or master new skills in using paper maps and perhaps even a compass.

You might find hidden gems or more opportunities to talk to locals.

Yes, you won’t be able to share your experience instantly on social media, but you will have more quality time with your companions rather than checking likes and replying to comments on your posts.

The digital detox experience opens up opportunities to reconnect with long forgotten nostalgic childhood memories, and the old times you probably haven’t thought about for a long time. Sometimes humming an old tune or simply playing some childhood games can be enough to take you back.

  1. (Missing Heading)

The most important tip is to reflect on the digital detox experience. Everyone has their own unique relationship with technology, and you would benefit greatly from finding the best way to achieve a healthier relationship with it. Try to use the experience as an opportunity to reflect on how the digital detox makes you feel and what would you like to do after returning to the busy connected world to help prevent digital overload from setting in again.

Now let’s look at Matching Sentence Endings

Another task you might face is a question that requires you to match sentence endings…

In most cases, the sentences created will follow a logical order.

To grasp this task, you need to understand and explore the potential relationships between the two statements. Just like creating complex sentences with two clauses, this is a similar task.

Let’s try now and see if you can guess which sentence endings match the sentence starters…

If you don’t eat,

Progressed to the next stage of the application

The students with the highest scores

It improves my focus and fitness level.

When I go running

you will suffer from starvation and malnutrition.

As you can see, from using the strategies we’ve discussed before, these SHOULD provide logical statements.

When I go running, you will suffer from starvation and malnutrition? Well, I hope not!

Look at the other options. Is there a better-suited one? Be careful not to match synonyms because you know that running has to do with weight loss.

When I go running, it improves my focus and fitness level. – Perfect!

Now, last but not least, let’s look at Matching Features

Matching features are a question type that requires you to skim the entire text as we’ve practised before.

Matching features, however, is a question type that requires you to locate information within a text that provides lots of information and asks you to describe or decipher between them.

Also, matching feature questions are used in texts presenting various opinions and comments.

The questions do not appear in the same order as the text, and there will be many distractors, so watch out for them!

Let’s look at an extract fromFive fascinating insights into the inner lives of plants (‘, so you can understand what I’m talking about…

Approximately 4.5 billion years ago, Earth’s land surface was barren and devoid of life. It would take another 2 billion years for the first single-celled organisms to appear in the ocean, including the first algae Grypania spiralis, which was about the size of a 50 pence piece.

Plants composed of many cells have only been around for a mere 800 million years. To survive on land, plants had to protect themselves from UV radiation and develop spores and later seeds which allowed them to disperse more widely. These innovations helped plants become one of the most influential lifeforms on Earth. Today, plants are found in every major ecosystem on the planet and scientists describe more than 2,000 new species every year.


Various dates/years are mentioned in this text? Why?

What is the article discussing? A person, object of a living creature?

Have different opportunities arisen? What are they?

How long did it take you to find the answers?

To increase your reading speed, you need to read more.

If you want to enter your answers to check your score, you can take our Free Score Calculator to receive your results…

I know you’ve been told this 1000 times, but it’s worth it being repeated. Throughout this course, we have included websites that we use and love. Please explore your interests in these sights and try to read as many different things and styles as you can manage!

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