How to match headings in IELTS reading

IELTS test takers always find matching headings difficult because this question of matching headings involves matching the headings to the correct paragraphs or sections. This question is to evaluate and recognize the main idea of the paragraph and to identify the supporting themes and ideas.

The following are the reasons why most of the IELTS test takers find it difficult to handle this question type.

  • The number of headings is sometimes more than the paragraph
  • Some paragraphs don’t need headings
  • Some of the headings might have similarities
  • This question type consumes more time than any other questions
  • Some paragraphs have the same words as in the given question but they don’t match at all

Read the question first

Read each heading. Make sure to read each and every heading to completely understand the meaning of each heading. Paraphrasing can help to understand the main idea of the heading.

Mark or highlight the keywords within the heading. Make sure to underline any keywords in the heading when you read them for the first time. This might make it easier for you to connect the heading to the appropriate paragraph.

Note any similarities of the difference between the headings. These kinds of questions will have either similar headings or completely opposite headings. Once you note the keywords, the similarities and differences will become clearer among the headings.

Always read the first and last sentence of the given paragraphs. In most of the paragraphs, the main ideas are in the first and the last lines of it. Read these sentences carefully and skim the other sentences quickly. Skimming the other sentences is important as the main idea might not be apparent until you read the second or third sentence.

The most suitable heading for the paragraph must be selected. You have to choose the closest heading to the paragraph once you read them. Make a note if you’re unsure of the headings and cross out irrelevant headings because doing this might make it clearer. Always remember, a heading is the main idea of the paragraph but might not be a specific detail or the same detail in the paragraph like, matching word might be in the heading but not be the main idea which can be quite confusing to the test takers.

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