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How to Answer IELTS Listening Matching Questions

Ron Ross October 12th, 2021

In your IELTS preparation, you'll need to practice a total of 6 IELTS listening question types. In this post, we'll look at the Matching IELTS listening question type in detail and provide you with 22 IELTS listening Matching practice questions.

First, join IELTS Instructor Tina below to learn how to approach an IELTS listening Matching question.

Table Of Contents

IELTS Listening Matching Question Introduction

In a matching question, you are required to match a numbered list of items from the listening text to a set of options on the question paper/computer screen. This task requires you to listen for detailed information and recognise relationships and connections between facts in the listening text. Matching questions ofteen appear often in the section 2 and 3 of the listening test.

Below is a sample practice. Give it a try!

Questions 1-5
What does Jack tell his tutor about each of the following course options?
  1. He'll definitely do it.
  2. He may or may not do it.
  3. He won't do it.

Write the correct letter A-C next to questions 1-5.

1. Media Studies

2. Women and Power

3. Culture and Society

4. Identity and Popular Culture

5. Introduction to Cultural Theory

  • spellcheck Answers
    1. C
    2. A
    3. B
    4. B
    5. C
Listening Script

You will hear a Communication Studies student talking to his tutor about optional courses for the next semester. 

Dr Ray: Come in. Oh hello, Jack. Have a seat. Right, you said you wanted to see me to talk about your options next semester?

Jack: That's right. We have to decide by the end of next week. Really, I'd like to do all five options but we have to choose two, don't we?

Dr Ray: Yes, but the choice depends on your major to some extent. You're majoring in Communication Studies, aren't you?

Jack:  That's right.

Dr Ray: So, for example, the Media Studies Option will cover quite a lot of the same area you did in the core module on mass communications this semester - the development of the media through the last two centuries, in relation to political and social issues.

Jack: Mmm. Well, that was interesting, but I've decided I'd rather do something completely new. (#21) There's a Women's Studies option, isn't there?

Dr Ray: Yes, 'Women and Power' – again, it has a historical focus, it aims to contextualise women's studies by looking at the legal and social situation in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Jack:  So it would be useful if I intended to specialise in women's studies...but I'm not sure I do, actually.

Dr Ray: Well, it might still be useful to give you an idea of the issues involved. It's taught by Dr. Steed.

Jack: Oh, really? I'll sign up for that, then. (#22) What about the option on Culture and Society?

Dr Ray: That addresses the historical debate on the place of culture since the Industrial Revolution in Britain.

Jack:  So, a historical focus again...

Dr Ray: Do I get the message you're not so keen on history?

Jack: Well, it's just we seem to have done quite a lot this semester …anyway, I'll think about that one. (#23)

Dr Ray: If you're interested in a course focusing on current issues, there's the option on Identity and Popular Culture – that approaches the subject through things like contemporary film, adverts, soap operas, and so on.

Jack:  Oh? That sounds interesting. Can you tell me who runs it?

Dr Ray: Well, it's normally Dr. Stevens, but he's on sabbatical next semester, so I'm not sure who'll be running it. It should be decided by next week though.

Jack:  Right, well I might wait until then to decide. (#24) And the last option is Introduction to Cultural Theory, isn't it. I'm quite interested in that too – I was talking to one of the second year students, and she said it was really useful, it made a lot of things fall into place.

Dr Ray: Yes, but in fact in your major, you'll have covered a lot of that already in Communications 102, so that might be less useful than some of the others.

Jack:  Oh, I'll forget about that one, then. (#25)

Dr Ray: Now, while you're here, we could also discuss how you're getting on with your Core Module assignment...

Practice this sample practice on our IELTS App

Now that you're familiar with the Matching question type, it's time to teach you some IELTS Listening tips & strategies for successfully answering a Matching question.

How to Answer Matching Questions

Step 1: Read the Questions

Before we even listen to the prompt, take time to quickly read the questions and all of the answer options in order to understand the topic and key words. you will have about 20 seconds to do this. For the Matching section, you usually will not have to read a lot of information. Use this to your advantage and start working on the next two steps! Of course, if you'd like, you can combine this step with Step 2 below.

Step 2: Underline Key Words

After you have quickly read (or while you are reading), underline the key words. What are key words? They are important words that will call out your attention while you listen to the prompt. Usually, the information that you will need to “match” to features or questions will be names, places, or perhaps even dates. Therefore, this step will be minimal, since the answers will already be key words, subjects, or names. This will save you on time, and you can spend more effort on Step 3!

Step 3: Think of Synonyms

Now that you've completed the first two steps, think of potential ways that the key words can be said in the listening prompt. 

So, it would be a good idea to think of potential synonyms for the underlined key words from the previous two steps. You do not have to necessarily write out the synonyms, but be aware of words that could be spoken during the listening prompt. In other words, do not be surprised if you hear “starving” instead of “hungry”, even though “hungry” is written in your paper! 

Remember: you do not have to necessarily write down these synonyms in your test booklet, but just be aware of the different ways to say these things. We've written some possible synonyms just to give you an idea!

Step 4: Make a Chart

Now it is time to start listening! As you listen, make a chart close to your questions and answer options when you hear key words. Remember: you will only hear each listening prompt once, so it's important to remember key information. Remember: information will come in order for the Matching question type. If you get side-tracked and miss information, continue right where you left off. 

For Section 3, we suggest taking notes in the following way: make a chart with as many columns as there are speakers. Since the directions tell us that we will be listening to Jack and his tutor, we can make two columns. What you write in these columns will depend on the type of exercise you have. If you must understand who says what, it would be best to write key words and points in the columns. If you find it difficult remembering who is who, make notes by the speaker that will help you differentiate his/her voice from the other speakers. For example, “deep voice”, “UK accent”, “younger speaker” should help you understand who is speaking and saying certain things.


Here are some brief tips to remember when approaching this question type:


  1. Utilize the 20 seconds you will have prior to hearing the listening prompt and read the information first, underline your key words, and actively listen for those key words during the prompt. 
  2. Remember that the answers will come in order during the Matching Listening prompt. This means that you should keep notes for your chart! Doing so will help you pick up where you left off if you miss something, and it will help you understand each speaker's thoughts.
  3. Find a chart-making technique that works for you. Feel free to experiment during your practice sessions and try writing in the margins or close to your answer options. Make it easy to reference afterwards if necessary.
  4. Study up on your synonyms and paraphrasing techniques. The more you study, the more you will increase your vocabulary and increase your chances of understanding what the speakers are saying.


  1. Waste your time before and after the listening prompt is played. Think of these 30 minutes of the listening exam as ‘game time', and actively listen or read the questions as much as you can! 
  2. Focus on only one aspect of the process. In other words, don't just listen, don't just read, and don't just answer. You will need to combine these three tasks in order to have enough time in this section. In other words: make sure to multitask. 
  3. Immediately answer based on hearing only key words. Remember, as we saw in #21 specifically, contradictory thoughts are sometimes joined by a ‘but' or other connective. Be aware that this section of the exam will include sentences that are meant to trick you, and are usually spoken right before the sentence that contains the correct answer!
  4. Leave anything blank! Even if the exam is difficult, choose your best guess in order to maximize your chances of scoring high.

IELTS Listening Matching Practice List

Now it is time to practice! Check out the following Matching practice questions.

IELTS Listening - Matching Questions Practice List

22 IELTS Listening matching Questions
Section 1
IELTS Listening Practice 1
Removal Booking Confirmation
(form completion/matching)
IELTS Listening Practice 141
Stretton Festival Box Office
(table completion/matching)
Section 2
IELTS Listening Practice 46
Horizon Holidays
(multiple choice/matching)
IELTS Listening Practice 50
Happy Holiday Apartments
(short answer/multiple choice/matching)
IELTS Listening Practice 54
Castle Visitor Centre
(sentence completion/matching)
IELTS Listening Practice 74
The English Academy info session
(note completion/matching)
IELTS Listening Practice 86
New City Developments
(multiple choice/matching)
IELTS Listening Practice 102
The Team Building Company
(multiple choice/matching)
IELTS Listening Practice 106
The theme park
(multiple choice/matching)
IELTS Listening Practice 110
Theatre Trip to Sydney
(multiple choice/matching)
IELTS Listening Practice 114
Seal Conservation Trust
(multiple selection/multiple choice/matching)
IELTS Listening Practice 134
Dolphin Conservation Trust
(multiple selection/multiple choice/matching)
IELTS Listening Practice 138
New city developments
(multiple choice/matching)
IELTS Listening Practice 142
Changes in Barford
(multiple choice/matching)
Section 3
IELTS Listening Practice 15
Marketing assignment
(multiple choice/matching/diagram labelling)
IELTS Listening Practice 31
Psychology assignment 
(sentence completion/matching)
IELTS Listening Practice 67
A Discussion between a Professor and a Student
(sentence completion/matching)
IELTS Listening Practice 95
Getting Advice from Dr. Jackson
(sentence completion/matching)
IELTS Listening Practice 128
Optional Courses (Video Explanation Included)
IELTS Listening Practice 139
Theatre Studies Course
(multiple choice/matching)
IELTS Listening Practice 143
Subject of Drawing
(table completion/matching)
Section 4
IELTS Listening Practice 12
Physical Education faculty's session
(table completion/multiple selection/matching)

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