How To Answer IELTS Listening Matching: 6 Effective Strategies


You are very likely to encounter IELTS Listening Matching questions on the exam, they being one of the most common types of questions, so make sure you know how to answer them. They are most likely to appear In sections 1 or 3.

In these sections, you will hear a recording of two or more people talking. You must match the two sets of information to answer this type of question. 

By studying the following suggestions, you can improve your chance of success when answering matching questions.

Here, you are given a set of choices (21-25) and a list of courses (21-25) in this scenario. You must listen to the recording and find out which course the student selects. 

Strategies for IELTS Listening Matching Questions

Analyze the question

The most difficult part of matching questions in the IELTS listening test is that you may not understand them at first glance, so first analyze the question to ensure you comprehend it completely.

Step 1 – Consider how the question sentence connects to the options. Highlight the sentence and think about how it relates to the answers.

Step 2 – After that, look at questions in relation to the answer options.

Answer order

In matching questions, the order in which the questions are recorded will be the same, but the corresponding answer options will be randomly assigned. 

In our example, the speakers discuss Media Studies, Women and Power, and Culture and Society in order. The three decision options as to whether or not to take each course could be heard in any order.

Synonyms and Paraphrasing

When preparing for your IELTS Listening Matching questions, it is critical to spend time studying synonyms and paraphrasing. 

Because you will be asked questions that use many different word choices, it is critical to study synonyms and paraphrases so that you can respond quickly and appropriately.

To begin, let’s take a look at the three possible answers provided in the sample question. Jack will not say,

  • I will definitely take the Introduction to Cultural Theory course.
  • I may or may not take the Culture and Society course.
  • I will not take the Identity and Popular Culture course.

In order to convey the same message, he will use different words and phrases. To hear both positive and negative vocabulary and sentence structures, you must pay close attention to the sentence structure. 

For example,

  • I’m very interested in Women and Power so I think I’ll go for that one.
  • I’ll give Media Studies a miss as I did a similar module last year.

You will be prepared for the synonyms and paraphrases if you can create a few examples of what you might hear Jack say.

Watch out for Distractors

The examiners are expecting you to get caught out by distractors. The phrase or word that is substituted for the original statement is a distractor. So, you might get an answer that is removed, then it might be changed or corrected. 

The following are examples of questions containing distractors. The words are identified. 

  • I’d really like to study Identity and Popular Culture but I don’t like the lecturer so I’m not going to take it.
  • I discounted Culture and Society. However, a friend took it last year and loved it, so I’m seriously considering it as an option.

‘However’ and ‘but’ are both common distractors, but they are not the only words that may be used to alter the information provided, such as ‘In fact’ and ‘Although’.

‘No’ and ‘stop’ are examples of phrases that can be utilized to change the statement.

Writing the Answer

It is best to create an A, B, or C next to a question as soon as you hear the correct response, but continue to listen carefully if you are certain you are incorrect.

As soon as you are sure you heard it correctly, you can quickly cross out the incorrect answer and continue writing the correct one.

For matching questions in the IELTS Listening test, you must write a letter, for example, A, B or C for the answer, not a word or phrase.

If you write ‘He’ll definitely do it’ for your answer, it will be marked incorrect even if the information is correct. Don’t lose marks by making silly mistakes like this.

Guess if Necessary

In some questions, you may be able to predict some likely matches of information. This will help you quickly eliminate some of the possible answers. 

This isn’t possible with this example in particular, but remember it as you practice with other sample questions. 

It’s also important to not leave blank questions on the answer sheet. If you miss an answer, make an educated guess. It gives you at least a little chance of getting it right.

Don’t get stressed if you miss an answer or it will hinder your ability to answer the next set of questions. Simply make your choice and proceed.

Final Thoughts

With the right strategy and the right amount of practice, you will be able to tackle IELTS Listening Matching Questions successfully and move towards a perfect Band 9 Score.

The last thing that’s very important is Practice. And the best place to practice IELTS Listening Matching Questions is at the Kandor website or the Kandor app.

You can also read more blog posts and keep learning about IELTS at our Kandor Academy.

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