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How to Answer an IELTS Matching Features Question Type

James Liu October 21st, 2019

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. Our IELTS Instructor Tina will also show you exactly how you should approach IELTS reading Matching Features questions in a lesson video.

Table Of Contents

IELTS Reading Matching Features Practice List

If you are already familiar with the IELTS Reading Matching Features question type and are just looking for some extra practice, check out the following Matching Features practice questions.

IELTS 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

IELTS 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 13

Matching Features Question Type Introduction

In this test question type, you are required to match a list of options to a set of statements. Options are presented in a box and are often someone’s name, normally an expert, researcher or scientist. Statements could be theories, research findings, places, years, etc.  The statements will not be ordered in the same way as the given text. In addition, statements will paraphrase information from the text. Below is a sample Matching Features Question. Give it a try!

Matching Features Question
Questions 7 – 10

Look at the following statements (Questions 18-21) and the list of people below.

Match each statement with the correct person.

Write the correct letter A-D in boxes 18-21 on your answer sheet.

NB You may use any letter more than once.

  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.
List of People

A  Edmond Halley
B  Johannes Kepler
C  Guillaume Le Gentil
D  Johann Franz Encke

Answer sheet

  • spellcheck Answers
    18 D
    19 A
    20 B
    21 C
Reading Passage 6

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 round 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 kilometres, 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 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.

Now, let' look at strategies for how to answer Matching Features questions.

IELTS Reading Exam Tips & Strategies: How to Answer Matching Features Questions


Below are the strategies for successfully answering a matching features question.

  1. Step 1: Read the Questions and Pull Out Key Words - Get a general idea of each piece of information and underline any key word as necessary. For optional practice, you can start thinking of different synonyms and ways that you could say the information in a different way. Remember, this is an optional step, but practicing this way can help you prepare for the exam.
  2. Step 2: Focus on the Answer Options - - How many answer options are available? Do the directions tell you that they can be used more than once?
  3. Step 3: Scan the Passage - Now you need to read the passage and scan for the information. Circle or underline those names from the answer options
  4. Step 4: Skim the Paragraphs and Answer the Questions

Common Problems Answering IELTS Reading Matching Features Questions

Matching features questions are not difficult, but there are some traps you should avoid falling into.

The most common mistake is trying to search for words in the text that match exactly with words in the statement. Statements in matching feature questions usually paraphrase and use synonyms, so you won’t find the exact same words.

Another mistake made by students is to read the whole text and try to find the name. A better and much more efficient way is to find the name by quickly scanning the text. Once you find it, you can read closely to locate the answer.

The final mistake is getting stuck on one statement/name for too long. Out of all the names, there will be one or two that are harder to match corresponding statements. Some names will come up only once in the text and some will occur several times. The names that appear several times will be more difficult to match because you will need to look at several places in the text. If you find yourself stuck on one statement for too long, you’re better off moving on to the next statement.

Free IELTS Reading Matching Features Exercise

Let’s do some IELTS reading practice to hone the new skills, tips, and strategies you’ve learned.

Matching Features Question
Questions 20-23

Look at the following findings (Questions 20-23) and the list of researchers below.

Match each finding with the correct researcher or researchers, A-E.

Write the correct letter A-E, in boxes 20-23 on your answer sheet.

20. A sense of identity can never be formed without relationships with other people.
21. A child’s awareness of self is related to a sense of mastery over things and people.
22. At a certain age, children’s sense of identity leads to aggressive behavior.
23. Observing their own reflection contributes to children‘s self-awareness.

List of Researcher
A James
B Cooley
C Lewis and Brooks-Gunn
D Mead
E Bronson

Answer sheet

  • spellcheck Answers
    20 D
    21 B
    22 E
    23 C
Young children's sense of identity

A sense of 'self' develops in young children by degrees. The process can usefully be thought of in terms of the gradual emergence of two somewhat separate features: the self as a subject, and the self as an object. William James introduced the distinction in 1892, and contemporaries of his, such as Charles Cooley, added to the developing debate. Ever since then psychologists have continued building on the theory.

According to James, a child's first step on the road to self-understanding can be seen as the recognition that he or she exists. This is an aspect of the self that he labeled 'self-as-subject', and he gave it various elements. These included an awareness of one’s own agency (i.e. one’s power to act) and an awareness of one’s distinctiveness from other people. These features gradually emerge as infants explore their world and interact with caregivers. Cooley (1902) suggested that a lot of the self-as-subject was primarily concerned with being able to exercise power. He proposed that the earliest examples of this are an infant’s attempts to control physical objects, such as toys or his or her own limbs. This is followed by attempts to affect the behavior of other people. For example, infants learn that when they cry or smile someone responds to them.

Another powerful source of information for infants about the effects they can have on the world around them is provided when others mimic them. Many parents spend a lot of time, particularly in the early months, copying their infant's vocalizations and expressions in addition, young children enjoy looking in mirrors, where the movements they can see are dependent upon their own movements.This is not to say that infants recognize the reflection as their own image (a later development). However, Lewis and Brooks-Gunn (1979) suggest that infants' developing understanding that the movements they see in the mirror are contingent ­on their own, leads to a growing awareness that they are distinct from other people. This is because they, and only they can change the reflection in the mirror.

This understanding that children gain of themselves as active agents continue to develop in their attempts to co-operate with others in play. Drum (1988) points out that it is in such day-to-day relationships and interactions that the child's understanding of his· or herself emerges. Empirical investigations of the self-as-subject in young children are, however, rather scarce because of difficulties of communication: even if young infants can reflect on their experience, they certainly cannot express this aspect of the self directly.

Once Children have acquired a certain level of self-awareness, they begin to place themselves in a whole series of categories, which together play such an important part in defining them uniquely as 'themselves'. This second step in the development of a full sense of self is what lames called the 'self-as-object'. This has been seen by many to be the aspect of the self which is most influenced by social elements, since it is made up of social roles (such as student, brother; colleague) and characteristics which derive their meaning from comparison or interaction with other people (such as trustworthiness, shyness, sporting ability).

Cooley and other researchers suggested a close connection between a person’s own understanding of their identity and other people's understanding of it. Cooley believed that people build up their sense of identity from the reactions of others to them, and from the view, they believe others have of them He called the self- as-object the ’looking-glass self', since people come to see themselves as they are reflected in others. Mead (1934) went even further, and saw the self and the social world as inextricably bound together. The self is essentially a social structure, and ­it arises in social experience.  It is impossible to conceive of a self-arising outside of social experience.

Lewis and Brooks-Gunn argued that an important developmental milestone is reached when children become able to recognize themselves visually without the support of seeing contingent movement. This recognition occurs around their second birthday. In one experiment, Lewis and Brooks-Gunn (1979) dabbed some red powder on the noses of children who were playing in front of a mirror, and then observed how often they touched their noses. The psychologists reasoned that if the children knew what they usually looked like, they would be surprised by the unusual red mark and would start touching it. On the other hand, they found that children of 15 to 18 months are generally not able to recognize themselves unless other cues such as movement are present.

Finally perhaps the most graphic expressions of self-awareness, in general, can be seen in the displays of rage which are most common from 18 months to 3 years of age. In a longitudinal study of groups of three or four children, Bronson (1975) found that the intensity of the frustration and anger in their disagreements increased sharply between the ages of 1 and 2 years. Often, the children's disagreements involved a struggle over a toy that none of them had played with before or after the tug-of-war: the children seemed to be disputing ownership rather than wanting to play with it. Although it may be less marked in other societies, the link between the sense of ’self' and of 'ownership’ is a notable feature of childhood in Western societies.

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