IELTS Reading Overview, Tips and Matching Headings
Reading Overview, Tips and
Today we are going to:
• look at an overview of the reading test
• discuss some tips
• work on a strategy for matching headings
• practice matching heading questions
Walk around the room and find the answers to these questions. When
you have finished, return to your seat and compare answers. You have
1. Are the IELTS reading papers the same for both Academic and
2. How much time will I have?
3. What skills will be tested?
4. What are the different question types?
5. I need a band 7. How many questions do I need to get correct?
What reading skills were just tested?
Match the paragraphs with the headings. You have
5 minutes only.
What skills were required?
How could you have done it more quickly?
Read the tips in full at IELTS Advantage- Reading
That was actually a very easy task because you
were just looking for exact matches.
In the test it will almost always be a paraphrase.
Try to paraphrase the first sentence of each tip.
Write them on a piece of paper and then swap
them with another group and see if they can
match them to the correct paragraph.
Look at the following question
What problems do you think this type of
question would cause you? Discuss with a
• There is too much information to get through and not
• Trying to match a word or words from the headings to
a word in the text.
• Some of the headings may appear to have the same
• Some students only read the first sentence of each
paragraph and do not understand the main idea of the
• Spending too much time on one paragraph or heading.
• Answers are not in the same order as the text.
How could we overcome these problems?
Solutions- Matching Headings
• Do this question first. By doing this you will be able to get the general meaning of
the text as a whole.
• You are not expected to read every word of the text. This will take too long and
you don’t have time for this. In this kind of question you are only expected to
understand the main idea of each paragraph.
• If there are words you don’t understand, don’t worry about this.
• Be aware of synonyms.
• If there are two or three headings that are similar, write them beside the
paragraph and try to find out the difference between the two headings. If you still
can’t decide which one suits best, move on and come back to it later.
• Don’t read too quickly. Some teachers advise that students should just ‘skim’ the
text because you don’t have much time. In my experience, this leads to students
not understanding most of the text and making mistakes.
• Don’t panic if you know nothing about the general topic of the reading text.
• Don’t look at the headings first.
Strategy- Matching Headings
• If this type of question is on the test, do it first.
• Don’t look at the headings.
• Read the first one or two sentences and the last
sentence of each paragraph to understand the
• Look at the headings and identify keywords.
• Match any headings that are very obvious.
• For the others, write 2 or 3 headings beside the
paragraph. Identify the difference between each of
the headings. Establish if there are any synonyms in
the paragraph to keywords in the headings.
• If you still can’t pick one, move one.
• Repeat until finished.
You have 10 minutes to complete the 5