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How to Answer IELTS Reading Matching Sentence Endings Questions

Kayla C. April 8th, 2020

In your IELTS preparation, you'll need to practice a total of 11 IELTS reading question types. In this post, we'll look at the Matching Sentence Endings IELTS reading question type in detail and provide you with many IELTS reading Matching Sentence Endings practice questions.

First, join IELTS Instructor Tina below to learn how to approach an IELTS reading Matching Sentence Endings question. Click either General Training or Academic to watch the associated video lesson.


Table Of Contents

IELTS Reading Matching Sentence Endings Question Introduction

In this question type, you will be given a list of incomplete sentences with no endings and another list with possible endings. Your job is to match the incomplete sentences with the correct ending based on the reading text. Although this question type is not very common, it does appear in the test and it is a rather difficult question type as the information needed to answer all questions is scattered across the whole text rather than in a specific part of the text.

The Matching Sentence Endings question type will feature answers that are usually letters (A - G), and there are usually more endings given that you need. You will not be able to repeat endings as answers, since they will each be specific to a sentence. Keep in mind that the completed structure must be grammatically correct, therefore, it is also important to pay attention to grammar as well as the information. However, more difficult exercises will usually have options that make sense grammatically with all potential sentences. Unlike most of the different question types in the reading section, these answers do not necessarily present themselves in order in the passage.

Below is a sample practice. Give it a try! Remember to click either General Training or Academic based on the IELTS test you are taking or plan to take.

Questions 1-7
Complete each sentence with the correct ending A-J from the box below.

Write the correct letter A-J in boxes 1-7 on your answer sheet.

NB You may use any letter more than once.

  1. chemical responses in the brain
  2. temperature levels in the body
  3. over five chemicals in the brain
  4. natural responses to hunger or emotions
  5. ways to fund research on yawning
  6. animals reacting to potential death
  7. predators feeling tired
  8. levels of importance to the topic of yawning
  9. overt levels of strength or control
  10. people increase their levels of alertness

1. Chemically speaking, the act of yawning could be comparable with

2. A “contagious” yawn theory involves

3. One popular theory posits that yawning can help

4. Neurosurgeons would believe that yawning triggers

5. Scientists disagree on

6. Yawning could be a way to control

7. Yawning can occur without


  • spellcheck Answers
    1. D
    2. F
    3. J
    4. A
    5. H
    6. B
    7. I

When was the last time you yawned? If you are finding it hard to remember, consider yourself just the same as every other person living in Australia! Not paying attention to the frequency of yawning is understandable, as it is one of the earliest reactions that is instinctively learned. It is made evident, for example, during a newborn's first stages of life, but it has also been noticed in fetuses at a gestational age of a mere twelve weeks! Based on an Australian study completed in 2008, yawning is considered to be one of the most basic functions our body can complete without much warning or strength. In some cases, it can catch us off guard and seem to appear out of nowhere. For this reason, some believe that yawning is comparable to other basic acts, such as crossing one's legs or rubbing an itchy eye. In other words, it is so mundane that people hardly notice when it happens, nor do they prepare for its occurrences.

Even though yawning is considered to be one of the most basic functions in our daily routines, sufficient research still has not been done to answer the question on why yawning occurs. One reason for this is because most scientists do not believe that yawning is worthy of additional research, since it is thought of as a rudimentary function. As such, those who are against researching this phenomenon believe that it will have little to no impact on the scientific communities. Moreover, there have not been any documented instances in which yawning was considered dangerous or a cause of death. These scientists believe that if yawning is not a potential peril to human life, its basic functions are not worth exploring. Others, however, believe that even the most basic functions can shed light on how humans process information and act. Proponents of this idea argue that there could be a more important and deeper physiological significance behind yawning.  

Not only is there a heightened debate regarding the importance of studying yawning, but there are also different speculations regarding why people yawn. The most well-known theory is that yawning helps people increase their levels of alertness. For instance, a university student sitting in a less-than-thrilling lecture may yawn in order to increase blood flow and intake more oxygen to the brain. This is just one reason why yawning has been associated with falling asleep. Of course, people are not actively thinking about the mechanics behind this process when yawning occurs. That is, this natural response to increasing one's blood flow is rooted in our subconscious, and always has been. When shifting this scientific explanation to animals, the idea behind the process changes slightly. A perfect example of this is the “contagious” yawn theory, dating back to animals centuries ago. In short, an animal would instinctively yawn in order to alert other members of the herd to a possible predator. Yawning was not necessarily attached to alertness in terms of “attention”, but rather, making others aware of potential dangers. 

Despite these interesting theories dating back centuries, other scientists believe that yawning is nothing more than a type of temperature regulator of the body, similar to the air conditioner dials in one's car. In other words, a yawning reaction is triggered when one feels overheated, which acts as a “cool-down method” for the body. In most cases, this reaction is involuntary, meaning that a person is not completely aware that yawning is changing his or her body temperature.  On a different note, the study of neuroscience, in particular, posits that yawning is just another way to precipitate a chemical response in the brain. Consequently, it is believed that chemicals, such as serotonin and dopamine, could possibly cause yawning. If proven to be true, this would mean that yawning is similar to natural triggers, such as hunger or happiness. The main difference between these three examples, then, would be the amount of research and attention that have been paid to understanding their specific causes and effects.

Not only is yawning an interesting topic in the field of science, but it is equally a divisive topic as well. Based on current trends, scientists will most likely not soon agree on potential reasons for yawning, nor will they agree on the value of researching it. During Australia's most recent “International Conference on Human Interaction”, for example, a panel discussion including scientists across a variety of sectors discussed which future projects were worthy of receiving monetary aid. Similar to years past, neuroscientists presented their research showcasing how possible chemical imbalances could lead to a higher frequency of yawning in adolescents. Although the project was not chosen to receive monetary assistance for further study, most agreed that it was able to bring attention to the interdisciplinary approach that is surely needed when understanding the causes and effects of yawning. While the future of its research is unclear, we can rest assured that yawning presents an intriguing case of natural behavior in both humans and animals.


28. D - The statements, “Consequently, it is believed that chemicals, such as serotonin and dopamine, could possibly cause yawning. If proven to be true, this would mean that yawning is similar to natural triggers, such as hunger or happiness.” prove that this is correct.
29. F - The statements, “A perfect example of this is the “contagious” yawn theory, dating back to animals centuries ago. In short, an animal would instinctively yawn in order to alert other members of the herd to a possible predator.” prove that this is correct.
30. J - The statement, “The most well-known theory is that yawning helps people increase their levels of alertness.” proves that this is correct, as 'popular' is a synonym for 'well-known'. 
31. A - The statements, “On a different note, the study of neuroscience, in particular, posits that yawning is just another way to precipitate a chemical response in the brain. Consequently, it is believed that chemicals, such as serotonin and dopamine, could possibly cause yawning.” prove that this is correct. 
32. H - The statement, “One reason for this is because most scientists do not believe that yawning is worthy of additional research, since it is thought of as a rudimentary function.” proves that this is correct.
33. B - The statements, “Despite these interesting theories dating back centuries, other scientists believe that yawning is nothing more than a type of temperature regulator of the body, similar to the air conditioner dials in one's car” prove that this is correct.
34. I - The statement, “...yawning is considered to be one of the most basic functions our body can complete without much warning or strength.”, proves that this is correct.
35. impact - The statement, “As such, those who are against researching this phenomenon believe that it will have little to no impact on the scientific communities.” proves this to be correct.
36. theory - The statement, “The most well-known theory is that yawning helps people increase their levels of alertness”
37. contagious - The statements, “When shifting this scientific explanation to animals, the idea behind the process changes slightly. A perfect example of this is the “contagious” yawn theory, dating back to animals centuries ago.” prove this to be correct.
38. precipitate - The statement, “On a different note, the study of neuroscience, in particular, posits that yawning is just another way to precipitate a chemical response in the brain.” proves that this is correct.
39. natural - The statement, “If proven to be true, this would mean that yawning is similar to natural triggers, such as hunger or happiness.” proves this to be correct.
40. divisive - The statement, “Not only is yawning an interesting topic in the field of science, but it is equally also a divisive topic as well.” shows that this is correct.

Practice this sample practice on our IELTS App

Questions 1-3
Complete each sentence with the correct ending A-E from the box below.

Write the correct letter A-E in boxes 1-3 on your answer sheet.

NB You may use any letter more than once.

  1. requires both perceptual and social intelligence skills.
  2. focuses on how groups decide on an action.
  3. works in many fields, both artistic and scientific.
  4. leaves one open to criticism and rejection.
  5. involves understanding how organisations manage people.

1. Thinking like a successful iconoclast is demanding because it

2. The concept of the social brain is useful to iconoclasts because it

3. Iconoclasts are generally an asset because their way of thinking


  • spellcheck Answers
    1. A
    2. B
    3. C
Reading Passage

In the last decade a revolution has occurred In the way that scientists think about the brain. We now know that the decisions humans make can be traced to the firing patterns of neurons in specific parts of the brain. These discoveries have led to the field known as neuroeconomics, which studies the brain's secrets to success in an economic environment that demands innovation and being able to do things differently from competitors. A brain that can do this is an iconoclastic one. Briefly, an iconoclast is a person who does something that others say can't be done.

This definition implies that iconoclasts are different from other people, but more precisely, it is their brains that are different in three distinct ways: perception, fear response, and social intelligence. Each of these three functions utilizes a different circuit in the brain. Naysayers might suggest that the brain is irrelevant, that thinking in an original, even revolutionary, way is more a matter of personality than brain function. But the field of neuroeconomics was born out of the realization that the physical workings of the brain place limitations on the way we make decisions. By understanding these constraints, we begin to understand why some people march to a different drumbeat.

The first thing to realize is that the brain suffers from limited resources. It has a fixed energy budget, about the same as a 40 watt light bulb, so it has evolved to work as efficiently as possible. This is where most people are impeded from being an iconoclast. For example, when confronted with information streaming from the eyes, the brain will interpret this information in the quickest way possible. Thus it will draw on both past experience and any other source of information, such as what other people say, to make sense of what it is seeing. This happens all the time. The brain takes shortcuts that work so well we are hardly ever aware of them.

We think our perceptions of the world are real, but they are only biological and electrical rumblings. Perception is not simply a product of what your eyes or ears transmit to your brain. More than the physical reality of photons or sound waves, perception is a product of the brain.

Perception is central to iconoclasm. Iconoclasts see things differently to other people. Their brains do not fall into efficiency pitfalls as much as the average person's brain. Iconoclasts, either because they were born that way or through learning, have found ways to work around the perceptual shortcuts that plague most people. Perception is not something that is hardwired into the brain. It is a learned process, which is both a curse and an opportunity for change. The brain faces the fundamental problem of interpreting physical stimuli from the senses. Everything the brain sees, hears, or touches has multiple interpretations. The one that is ultimately chosen is simply the brain's best theory. In technical terms, these conjectures have their basis in the statistical likelihood of one interpretation over another and are heavily influenced by past experience and, importantly for potential iconoclasts, what other people say.

The best way to see things differently to other people is to bombard the brain with things it has never encountered before. Novelty releases the perceptual process from the chains of past experience and forces the brain to make new judgments. Successful iconoclasts have an extraordinary willingness to be exposed to what is fresh and different. Observation of iconoclasts shows that they embrace novelty while most people avoid things that are different.

The problem with novelty, however, is that it tends to trigger the brain's fear system. Fear is a major impediment to thinking like an iconoclast and stops the average person in his tracks. There are many types of fear, but the two that inhibit iconoclastic thinking and people generally find difficult to deal with are fear of uncertainty and fear of public ridicule. These may seem like trivial phobias. But fear of public speaking, which everyone must do from time to time, afflicts one-third of the population. This makes it too common to be considered a mental disorder. It is simply a common variant of human nature, one which iconoclasts do not let inhibit their reactions.

Finally, to be successful iconoclasts, individuals must sell their ideas to other people. This is where social intelligence comes in. Social intelligence is the ability to understand and manage people in a business setting. In the last decade there has been an explosion of knowledge about the social brain and how the brain works when groups coordinate decision making. Neuroscience has revealed which brain circuits are responsible for functions like understanding what other people think, empathy, fairness, and social identity. These brain regions play key roles in whether people convince others of their ideas. Perception is important in social cognition too. The perception of someone's enthusiasm, or reputation, can make or break a deal. Understanding how perception becomes intertwined with social decision making shows why successful iconoclasts are so rare.

Iconoclasts create new opportunities in every area from artistic expression to technology to business. They supply creativity and innovation not easily accomplished by committees. Rules aren't important to them. Iconoclasts face alienation and failure, but can also be a major asset to any organization. It is crucial for success in any field to understand how the iconoclastic mind works.

 
38. A - Thinking like a successful iconoclast is demanding because it requires both perceptual and social intelligence skills. – By looking at the key words “successful”, “iconoclast” and “social intelligence”, you should arrive at the end of the passage, at the penultimate paragraph. There it states that: “Finally, to be successful iconoclasts, individuals must sell their ideas to other people. This is where social intelligence comes in.” However, this is not sufficient to answer the question. Even so, test takers could find “social intelligence” in option A and complete the answer. For the full answer, continue reading in the paragraph until you see this sentence: “Perception is important in social cognition too.”, thus completing the sentence.
 
39. B - The concept of the social brain is useful to iconoclasts because it focuses on how groups decide on an action. – By looking at the key words “social brain”, “iconoclasts”, “groups”, and “decide”, the sentence in the passage: “In the last decade, there has been an explosion of knowledge about the social brain and how the brain works when groups coordinate decision making.” This statement includes the key words and is found in the general area of the section.
 
40. C - Iconoclasts are generally an asset because their way of thinking works in many fields, both artistic and scientific. In the last paragraph, several keywords are included to sum up the passage. The complete answer to this question is split in two parts, the first: “Iconoclasts create new opportunities in every area from artistic expression to technology to business.” This shows the range of subjects. Then, “Iconoclasts face alienation and failure, but can also be a major asset to any organization.” Therefore, both of these sentences make up the whole.

Practice this sample practice on our IELTS App

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

How to Answer Matching Sentence Endings Questions

What To Do:
1. Read the Sentences and Endings and Underline Key Words - Familiarize yourself with the theme and the vocabulary of the passage. Underline key words in both the sentences and the endings that will help you when scanning the passage.

2. Scan the Passage - Starting with the first sentence, scan the passage for the underlined words. Once you've found an area that looks promising, move on to the next step.

3. Skim as Necessary - Once you've read the sentence and scanned the passage, skim read in order to find the correct ending for the sentence half.

Eliminate as Possible - Once you've skimmed and have a potential answer in mind, go back to the sentence endings to see what would make the most sense. As you browse your answer endings, eliminate the endings that would not make sense with the beginning of the sentence that you are working with. Mark an 'x' by these options. This will help you narrow down your search and effectively use Process of Elimination (POE) as necessary.

What Not To Do:
Do not read the entire passage, and do not read the passage first, as you won't know what you are looking for. As a general rule for the Reading section, it is not necessary and actually time-restrictive to read the entire passage, word for word. Be sure to use the scanning technique, first and foremost, and then the skimming technique as necessary. Do not match up sentence endings that are not grammatically correct, even if you think the idea is correct.

Do not reuse a sentence ending unless explicitly stated to do so in the instructions. Again, this question type usually does not require test takers to repeat answers.

Do not assume that answers will come in order. Mark your answers in the passage in order to maintain organization, but you may have to read out of order.

Recap

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

Do:

  • Read the questions first, underline key words, and scan for information.
  • Remember that answers do not necessarily come in order.
  • Remember to make sure that the sentence ending must make grammatical sense.
  • Let your keywords guide your scanning and skimming.
  • Eliminate options as you go on.

Don't:

  • Read the entire passage first.
  • Match up sentence endings that do not make grammatical sense.

IELTS Reading Matching Sentence Endings Practice List

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

Academic Reading - Matching Sentence Endings Questions Practice List

matching sentence endings Practice 1 - 16
Practice 1Practice 2Practice 3Practice 4Practice 5Practice 6Practice 7Practice 8Practice 9Practice 10Practice 11Practice 12

General Reading - Matching Sentence Endings Questions Practice List

matching sentence endings Practice 1 - 16
Practice 1Practice 2Practice 3


 
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