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How to Answer an IELTS Matching Features Question Type

James Liu April 13th, 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 Features IELTS reading question type in detail and provide you with many IELTS reading Matching Features practice questions.

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


Table Of Contents

IELTS Reading Matching Features Question Introduction

In this question type, you are required to match a list of options to a set of statements. Options are presented in a box. These options are usually someone's name or features, which will have been mentioned in the passage. The statements will not be ordered in the same way as the given text. In addition, statements will paraphrase information from the text. Additionally, there will often be more options to choose from in comparison to the questions.

In the IELTS Academic Reading Test, this question type goes along with the theme of academic readings. The options will usually be of experts, researchers, and scientists. This type of question is most common with texts that include theories or comments about people, specific dates, things, specific places, or even opinions.

In the IELTS General Reading Test, this question type goes along with the theme of general or work-related readings. The options can range from names mentioned in the passage (usually Section 3), features of something included in an employee handbook (usually Section 2), or features included in advertisements or listings (usually Section 1).

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 1-5
Look at the following Descriptions (Questions 1-5) and A list of terms below.

Match each description with the correct term.

Write the correct number A-E in boxes Questions 1-5 on your answer sheet.

NB You may use any letter more than once.
A list of terms
  1. Fair dismissal
  2. Summary dismissal
  3. Unfair dismissal
  4. Wrongful dismissal
  5. Constructive dismissal

1. An employee is asked to leave work straight away because he has done something really bad.

2. An employee is pressured to leave his job unless he accepts conditions that are very different from those agreed to in the beginning.

3. An employer gets rid of an employee without keeping to conditions in the contract.

4. The reason for an employee's dismissal is not considered good enough.

5. The reasons for an employee's dismissal are acceptable by law and the terms of the employment contract.


  • spellcheck Answers
    1. B
    2. E
    3. D
    4. C
    5. A

Read the text below and answer questions 24–28.

Workplace dismissals

Before the dismissal

If an employer wants to dismiss an employee, there is a process to be followed. Instances of minor misconduct and poor performance must first be addressed through some preliminary steps. 

Firstly, you should be given an improvement note. This will explain the problem, outline any necessary changes and offer some assistance in correcting the situation. Then, if your employer does not think your performance has improved, you may be given a written warning. The last step is called a final written warning which will inform you that you will be dismissed unless there are improvements in performance.  If there is no improvement, your employer can begin the dismissal procedure.

The dismissal procedure begins with a letter from the employer setting out the charges made against the employee. The employee will be invited to a meeting to discuss these accusations. If the employee denies the charges, he is given the opportunity to appear at a formal appeal hearing in front of a different manager. After this, a decision is made as to whether the employee will be let go or not. 

Dismissals

Of the various types of dismissal, a fair dismissal is the best kind if an employer wants an employee out of the workplace. A fair dismissal is legally and contractually strong and it means all the necessary procedures have been correctly followed. In cases where an employee's misconduct has been very serious, however, an employer may not have to follow all of these procedures. If the employer can prove that the employee's behaviour was illegal, dangerous or severely wrong, the employee can be dismissed immediately: a procedure known as summary dismissal.

Sometimes a dismissal is not considered to have taken place fairly. One of these types is wrongful dismissal and involves a breach of contract by the employer. This could involve dismissing an employee without notice or without following proper disciplinary and dismissal procedures. Another type, unfair dismissal, is when an employee is sacked without good cause. 

There is another kind of dismissal, known as constructive dismissal, which is slightly peculiar because the employee is not actually openly dismissed by the employer. In this case the employee is forced into resigning by an employer who tries to make significant changes to the original contract. This could mean an employee might have to work night shifts after originally signing on for day work, or he could be made to work in dangerous conditions.

 
24. B - If we scan for the features options, it should become obvious that “Summary Dismissal” is only included once in the entire passage. This is a great place to start, because it narrows down our options for where to find the answer. If we take this strategy and briefly scan read the surrounding area, we see the words “illegal” and “wrong”. Through skim reading, it is clear that this is the type of dismissal for something in which the employee was at fault. Therefore, it makes the most sense to link this to the statement in #24, “An employee is asked to leave work straight away because he has done something really bad.”
 
25. E - If we continue to scan for the features options, it should become obvious that “Constructive Dismissal” is only included once in the entire passage. Conveniently, it occurs shortly after our answer to #24. If we take this strategy and briefly scan read the surrounding area, we see the words “forced into resigning” and “original contract”. Through skim reading, it is clear that this is the type of dismissal for something in which changes were made to the original working conditions. Therefore, it makes the most sense to link this to the statement in #25, “An employee is pressured to leave his job unless he accepts conditions that are very different from those agreed to in the beginning.”
 
26. D - If we continue to scan for the features options, it should become obvious that “Wrongful Dismissal” is only included once in the entire passage. Conveniently, it occurs shortly after our answer to #24 and before #25. If we take this strategy and briefly scan read the surrounding area, we see the key words “employer” and “breach of contract”. Through skim reading, it is clear that this is the type of dismissal for something in which the employer is at fault through not adhering to contractual obligations. Therefore, it makes the most sense to link this to the statement in #26, “An employer gets rid of an employee without keeping to conditions in the contract.”
 
27. C - “Unfair Dismissal” is only mentioned once--and briefly so. Conveniently, it occurs immediately after our answer to #26 and is included in only one sentence. The phrase “sacked without good cause” is similar to the phrase in the question in #27, “The reason for an employee's dismissal is not considered good enough.”
 
28. A - Although “Fair Dismissal” is mentioned a few times in the passage, they are close together, making it a bit easier to answer this question. The key words, “legally”, “contractually strong” are clear with the scanning technique. Through skim reading, it is also clear that this type of dismissal for something “fair” and acceptable. Therefore, it makes the most sense to link this to the statement in #27, The reasons for an employee's dismissal are acceptable by law and the terms of the employment contract.”

Practice this sample practice on our IELTS App

Questions 1-4
Look at the following DescriptionS (Questions 1-4) and A list of people below.

Match each description with the correct people.

Write the correct number A-D in boxes Questions 1-4 on your answer sheet.

NB You may use any letter more than once.
A list of people
  1. Edmond Halley
  2. Johannes Kepler
  3. Guillaume Le Gentil
  4. Johann Franz Encke

1. He calculated the distance of the Sun from the Earth based on observations of Venus with a fair degree of accuracy.

2. He understood that the distance of the Sun from the Earth could be worked out by comparing observations of a transit.

3. He realised that the time taken by a planet to go round the Sun depends on its distance from the Sun.

4. He witnessed a Venus transit but was unable to make any calculations.


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

June 2004 saw the first passage, known as a 'transit', of the planet Venus across the face of the Sun in 122 years. Transits have helped shape our view of the whole Universe, as Heather Cooper and Nigel Henbest explain.

On 8 June 2004, more than half the population of the world were treated to a rare astronomical event. For over six hours, the planet Venus steadily inched its way over the surface of the Sun. This 'transit' of Venus was the first since 6 December 1882. On that occasion, the American astronomer Professor Simon Newcomb led a party to South Africa to observe the event. They were based at a girls' school, where - it is alleged - the combined forces of three schoolmistresses outperformed the professionals with the accuracy of their observations.

For centuries, transits of Venus have drawn explorers and astronomers alike to the four corners of the globe. And you can put it all down to the extraordinary polymath Edmond Halley. In November 1677, Halley observed a transit of the innermost planet, Mercury, from the desolate island of St Helena in the South Pacific. He realised that, from different latitudes, the passage of the planet across the Sun's disc would appear to differ. By timing the transit from two widely-separated locations, teams of astronomers could calculate the parallax angle - the apparent difference in position of an astronomical body due to a difference in the observer's position. Calculating this angle would allow astronomers to measure what was then the ultimate goal: the distance of the Earth from the Sun. This distance is known as the astronomical unit' or AU.

Halley was aware that the AU was one of the most fundamental of all astronomical measurements. Johannes Kepler, in the early 17th century, had shown that the distances of the planets from the Sun governed their orbital speeds, which were easily measurable. But no-one had found a way to calculate accurate distances to the planets from the Earth. The goal was to measure the AU; then, knowing the orbital speeds of all the other planets around the Sun, the scale of the Solar System would fall into place. However, Halley realised that Mercury was so far away that its parallax angle would be very difficult to determine. As Venus was closer to the Earth, its parallax angle would be larger, and Halley worked out that by using Venus it would be possible to measure the Suns distance to 1 part in 500. But there was a problem: transits of Venus, unlike those of Mercury, are rare, occurring in pairs roughly eight years apart every hundred or so years. Nevertheless, he accurately predicted that Venus would cross the face of the Sun in both 1761 and 1769 - though he didn't survive to see either.

Inspired by Halley's suggestion of a way to pin down the scale of the Solar System, teams of British and French astronomers set out on expeditions to places as diverse as India and Siberia. But things weren't helped by Britain and France being at war. The person who deserves most sympathy is the French astronomer Guillaume Le Gentil. He was thwarted by the fact that the British were besieging his observation site at Pondicherry in India. Fleeing on a French warship crossing the Indian Ocean, Le Gentil saw a wonderful transit - but the ship's pitching and rolling ruled out any attempt at making accurate observations. Undaunted, he remained south of the equator, keeping himself busy by studying the islands of Mauritius and Madagascar before setting off to observe the next transit in the Philippines. Ironically after travelling nearly 50,000 kilometers, his view was clouded out at the last moment, a very dispiriting experience.

While the early transit timings were as precise as instruments would allow, the measurements were dogged by the 'black drop' effect. When Venus begins to cross the Sun's disc, it looks smeared not circular - which makes it difficult to establish timings. This is due to the diffraction of light. The second problem is that Venus exhibits a halo of light when it is seen just outside the Sun's disc. While this showed astronomers that Venus was surrounded by a thick layer of gases refracting sunlight around it, both effects made it impossible to obtain accurate timings.

But astronomers laboured hard to analyse the results of these expeditions to observe Venus transits. Johann Franz Encke, Director of the Berlin Observatory, finally determined a value for the AU based on all these parallax measurements: 153,340,000 km. Reasonably accurate for the time, that is quite close to today's value of 149,597,870 km, determined by radar, which has now superseded transits and all other methods in accuracy. The AU is a cosmic measuring rod, and the basis of how we scale the Universe today. The parallax principle can be extended to measure the distances to the stars. If we look at a star in January - when Earth is at one point in its orbit - it will seem to be in a different position from where it appears six months later. Knowing the width of Earth's orbit, the parallax shift lets astronomers calculate the distance.

June 2004's transit of Venus was thus more of an astronomical spectacle than a scientifically important event. But such transits have paved the way for what might prove to be one of the most vital breakthroughs in the cosmos - detecting Earth-sized planets orbiting other stars.

 
18. D (Johann Franz Encke) – In Paragraph F, Johann Franz Encke is mentioned for the first time. Since this is near the end of the passage, it's a great place to start skim reading for information. The sentence before his name is mentioned states "…astronomers labored hard to analyse the results of these expeditions to observe Venus transits." And then later sates "Johann Franz Encke…finally determined a value for the AU based on these parallax measurements…reasonably accurate for the time". This information contains the key words Venus and accurate. Therefore, it is the best option for the statement: "18. He calculated the distance of the Sun from the Earth based on observations of Venus with a fair degree of accuracy."
 
19. A (Edmond Halley) - By scanning for "distance", "Sun", and "Earth", you should find yourself at Paragraph B. "Halley observed a transit…he realised that the passage of the planet across the Sun's disc would appear to differ." You will also see "Calculating this angle would allow astronomers to measure what was then the ultimate goal: the distance of the Earth from the Sun". Therefore, A: Edmond Halley is the best option for the statement: "19. He understood that the distance of the Sun from the Earth could be worked out by comparing observations of a transit."
 
20. B (Johannes Kepler) - In Paragraph C, Johannes Kepler is mentioned for the first time. In the second sentence of the passage, it states "Johannes Kepler…had shown that the distances of the planets from the Sun governed their orbital speeds". Since this is the only place which Kepler is mentioned, and it contains the key words: "planet", "Sun" and "orbital speeds". Therefore, B: Johannes Kepler is the best option for the statement: "20. He realised that the time taken by a planet to go round the Sun depends on its distance from the Sun."
 
21. C (Guillaume Le Gentil) - In Paragraph D, Le Gentil is mentioned. The sentence, "Le Gentil saw a wonderful transit—but the ship's pitching and rolling ruled out any attempt at making accurate observations." Therefore, C: Guillaume Le Gentil is the best option for the statement: "21. He witnessed a Venus transit but was unable to make any calculations."

Practice this sample practice on our IELTS App

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

How to Answer Matching Features Questions

The first two steps contain "preparation work", which will be done while reading the headings. The last step is to be done with the reading passage itself.

1. Read the Questions - As always, it is a good idea to look at the questions before reading the passage. This will give you an idea of what to look out for while skimming and scanning the reading. In this particular case, the questions will most likely be statements that describe the features, and you should read them before looking at your options.

An optional part of this step (and something that we will do for practice in this exercise) is to start thinking of potential synonyms and different ways to say what is listed in the questions. Why? Remember: the information presented in the questions may be re-stated in a different way in the passage.

2. Pull Out Key Words - This step can be done at the same time that you are focusing on reading the questions. If you briefly underline key words in the questions, you will be better able to know what you are looking for in the passage.

3. Focus on the Answer Options - Once you've read the questions, take a look at the options that you are able to choose from. If the options are names, remember that the names in the text may appear as first and last names. If the options are different details, be sure to watch out for these in the passage as well. Pay close attention to whether or not you will be able to use the options more than once.

4. Scan the Passage - As you scan the passage, you should circle or underline those names from answer options. This will help you locate where you want to read more later.

A great optional strategy is to focus on how often each name or detail appears in the passage. If one of your answer options appears more often than another, it will be more difficult for you to pinpoint the answer. It could be helpful to write a star or symbol next to the areas in which the information is presented so that you can reference it later. Look out for options that appear once or twice in the passage - these will generally be easier to answer, and you may want to focus on these questions first.

Quick Tip! Since you may have to go back and forth in order to find the correct answer, follow this helpful tip. When you find that the entire name is listed in the passage (i.e 'Francis Lloyd Wright' rather than just 'Wright') it is a good sign that it is the first time the person has been mentioned. Usually, the passage will list the only the last name of the person after he or she has been mentioned with his or her whole name

5. Skim the Paragraphs - As noted in the previous step, looking for information in the passage about the answer options is an important step. For those answer options that appear multiple times in the passage, you will need to skim the surrounding information in order to match them correctly with the options provided. Additionally, do not be surprised if you notice synonyms of the information provided in the options. For instance, the phrase "a decrease in available funds" could be included in the passage as "a drop in accessible investments".

After you've done this, start answering your questions. Some things may make immediate sense after having scanned the text, but some questions may take more time. Before we use these tips to look at an example, let's briefly discuss what not to do when answering the Matching Features question type.

1. Do not read the entire passage. 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, for this section.

2. Do not get confused if the text includes synonyms of the information that is originally presented in the questions. This section is known for using synonyms and presenting information in different ways, which is why it's important to brush up on your vocabulary for this exam.

3. Do not write words or names on your answer sheet. The answers for this question type will be the letters that correspond to the various paragraphs.

4. Do not expect the answers to come in order. Since the questions do not follow the order of the text, you may have to go back and forth in order to find the correct answer. Obviously, this is why scanning is an important tool for this task.

Recap

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

Do:

  • Read the questions first and circle or underline any key words.
  • Scan the passage looking for information provided in the features and also the questions.
  • Skim as necessary in the areas surrounding the key words and features in the passage.
  • Write letters in your answer sheet.
  • Remember that answers will not come in order.

Don’t: 

  • Read the passage first. 
  • Read for general information! You want to read for specific details, use the scanning method first, and then skim as necessary.
  • Repeat any letters if not instructed to do so in the directions.
  • Write any words in your answer booklet for this section.

IELTS Reading Matching Features Practice List

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

Academic Reading - Matching Features Questions Practice List

matching features Practice 1 - 16
Practice 1Practice 2Practice 3Practice 4Practice 5Practice 6Practice 7Practice 8Practice 9Practice 10Practice 11Practice 12Practice 13Practice 14Practice 15Practice 16
matching features Practice 17 - 32
Practice 17Practice 18Practice 19Practice 20Practice 21Practice 22Practice 23Practice 24Practice 25Practice 26

General Reading - Matching Features Questions Practice List

matching features Practice 1 - 16
Practice 1Practice 2Practice 3Practice 4Practice 5Practice 6Practice 7Practice 8Practice 9Practice 10Practice 11Practice 12Practice 13Practice 14


 
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