5 Great Tips for You to improve IELTS Reading Matching Headings scores

Introduction to IELTS Reading Matching Headings

One of the crucial question types in the reading section is IELTS Reading Matching Headings. 

To answer these questions, you must match the list of headings to the paragraphs they describe. The headings should match the paragraphs in terms of theme.

You must have the appropriate skills to answer these questions to succeed, as extra details or information can throw you off if you are not fully equipped to answer these questions, leading to a lot of loss of time and a lesser band score.

Common Problems Students Face in IELTS Reading Matching Headings

Most students face the following problems when it comes to this particular kind of question:

  • There is too much text material to consume and not enough time. 
  • When trying to match a word or phrases from headings to text, they don’t match.  
  • Headings may appear to have the same meaning, even though they do not. 
  • Students only read the first sentence of each section and don’t comprehend the theme of the document. 
  • Students spend too much time focusing on a single section or heading. 
  • Answers are not in the same order as the text.

Tips for IELTS Reading Matching Headings

  • Before tackling other questions, answer questions of this type first. Doing so will help you get a sense of the text as a whole, making it easier for you to focus on the details of other questions later on.
  • The full text does not need to be read in order to answer the questions. You should be able to get a general understanding of the whole text after reading the first couple of sentences and the last sentence. 
  • You should only focus on the main idea (the essence) of each paragraph. You should also glance at the rest of the paragraph briefly but do not read every word. If you don’t understand a word, don’t worry. The paragraph as a whole should be understood rather than individual words.
  • Instead of looking for the exact word in the heading, try looking for synonyms. Many students miss synonyms because they are busy seeking the word that matches exactly with the text. For example, the word ‘beautiful’ might be used in the heading, however ‘attractive’, ‘pretty’, ‘lovely’, and ‘stunning’ are all synonyms.
  • Take note of keywords when choosing between similar headings. Try noticing how the meaning of your heading changes if the keyword is changed, and select accordingly.
  • If you still can’t decide which one is best, proceed and return to it later. After matching some headings, the answer will be more easily accessible.
  • It is important to treat the passages as if you have no prior knowledge of the topic. You shouldn’t panic or get confused if you have no prior knowledge of the topic. This is not a knowledge test, so the text is not a reference for information. You are being tested on your ability to find the main idea, and not on your knowledge of the information discussed.
  • Do not look at the headings first, it creates a bias and automatically makes you look for specific words in the text rather than the essence of the text.

Suggested Steps for IELTS Reading Matching Headings

  • Once you see this type of question on the paper, attempt it first.
  • Don’t look at headings beforehand to avoid bias.
  • Read the first couple of sentences and the last sentence of each paragraph to understand the general meaning of the paragraph. Try to understand the just or the idea conveyed by the passage.
  • Now look at the headings and try to locate keywords within each heading.
  • Match any headings that are quite obvious and you where feel confident.
  • For the others, shortlist 2 or 3 headings and identify the difference between them. Establish if there are any synonyms in the paragraph to the identified keywords in the headings.
  • If you still can’t pick one, move on. The answer can easily reveal itself later, otherwise, it won’t be worth wasting the time.

Final Thoughts

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

Lastly, the one thing that’s very important is Practice. And the best place to practice IELTS Reading Matching Headings 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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