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How to Answer IELTS Reading Matching Headings Questions

Madison Oster April 14th, 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 Headings IELTS reading question type in detail and provide you with many IELTS reading Matching Headings practice questions.

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


Table Of Contents

IELTS Reading Matching Headings Question Introduction

For this question type, you will usually be presented with five to nine headings, sometimes, although rare, there could be more than nine headings. It's important to note that there will always be more headings than paragraphs. The objective of this question type is to match each paragraph in the reading text to one heading, based on the general information in the text. The amount of questions for this specific task can vary, but keep in mind that answers will only be used once in the Matching Headings question type.

Common Problems Answering IELTS Reading Matching Headings Questions

When doing Matching Headings questions, inexperienced IELTS test-takers will read every paragraph slowly and go back to look at headings, and then attempt to match headings to paragraphs. This is totally inefficient and unnecessary. Let me tell you why.

The first, the second sentence, and the last sentences of each IELTS reading paragraph usually give a summary of what the rest of the paragraph will discuss, and often contain keywords that one of the headings has. This means, by just looking at the first, the second, and the last sentences of the paragraph, you will have a rough idea of what the paragraph is about, and sometimes you can find the associated heading right away.

Also, do not be misled by headings that include only specific details rather than a general idea. Remember, there will be more headings than paragraphs, and these detailed headings are most likely included in order to confuse test-takers.

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
The reading passage has seven sections, A-G.

Choose the correct heading for sections A-G from the list of headings below.

Write the correct number i-x in boxes 1-7 on your answer sheet.

List of Headings
  1. How can reflection problems be avoided?
  2. How long should I work without a break?
  3. What if I experience any problems?
  4. When is the best time to do filing chores?
  5. What makes a good seat?
  6. What are the common health problems?
  7. What is the best kind of lighting to have?
  8. What are the roles of management and workers?
  9. Why does a VDU create eye fatigue?
  10. Where should I place the documents?

1. Section A

2. Section B

3. Section C

4. Section D

5. Section E

6. Section F

7. Section G


  • spellcheck Answers
    1. vi
    2. viii
    3. v
    4. x
    5. ii
    6. i
    7. Iii

Read the text below and answer Questions 15-21.

Section A 

Sensible work practices are an important factor in the prevention of muscular fatigue; discomfort or pain in the arms, neck, hands or back; or eye strain which can be associated with constant or regular work at a keyboard and visual display unit (VDU).

Section B

It is vital that the employer pays attention to the physical setting such as workplace design, the office environment, and placement of monitors as well as the organisation of the work and individual work habits. Operators must be able to recognise work-related health problems and be given the opportunity to participate in the management of these. Operators should take note of and follow the preventive measures outlined below.

Section C 

The typist must be comfortably accommodated in a chair that is adjustable for height with a back rest that is also easily adjustable both for angle and height. The back rest and sitting ledge (with a curved edge) should preferably be cloth-covered to avoid excessive perspiration.

Section D

When the keyboard operator is working from a paper file or manuscript, it should be at the same distance from the eyes as the screen. The most convenient position can be found by using some sort of holder. Individual arrangement will vary according to whether the operator spends more time looking at the VDU or the paper – whichever the eyes are focused on for the majority of time should be put directly in front of the operator.

Section E

While keying, it is advisable to have frequent but short pauses of around thirty to sixty seconds to proofread. When doing this, relax your hands. After you have been keying for sixty minutes, you should have a ten minute change of activity. During this spell it is important that you do not remain seated but stand up or walk around. This period could be profitably used to do filing or collect and deliver documents. 

Section F

Generally, the best position for a VDU is at right angles to the window. If this is not possible then glare from the window can be controlled by blinds, curtains or movable screens. Keep the face of the VDU vertical to avoid glare from overhead lighting. 

Section G

Unsatisfactory work practices or working conditions may result in aches or pain. Symptoms should be reported to your supervisor early on so that the cause of the trouble can be corrected and the operator should seek medical attention.

 
15. vi - Since this is a short paragraph, it is acceptable to quickly scan the sentences for the key words while skimming for information. Paragraph A contains the key word VDU, but the heading does not focus on VDU. Just using the scanning technique (without the skimming technique) may lead some candidates to choose ix Why does a VDU create eye fatigue? Note, however, that this is not the correct answer because the paragraph does not contain reasons (another key word that we wrote next to the heading), despite containing the key word, “eye fatigue”. This is a common trick for this question type. Instead, the paragraph contains common health problems such as muscle fatigue, discomfort, or eye strain. Since these are problems (a key word that we wrote next to the heading after paying attention to the key word), you should be drawn to this heading: vi  What are the common health problems? 
 
16. viii - This is another short paragraph, but it is not necessary to skim each and every sentence. Immediately, we see the word “employer” and understand that the paragraph involves different people in the office setting. With this in mind, we should start thinking of viii What are the roles of management and workers?, since this specifies different roles. To verify this, we can continue reading and skim read while underlining key words. As you will note in our example passage, words such as “placement” “monitors” and “work habits” stick out from others. This shows that the roles of management are to provide a proper workplace environment for employees. Thus, our original idea was correct. 
 
17. v - Section C provides yet another short paragraph. Immediately, we have underlined the word “typist”, which shifts the focus from the employer (in Section B) to the employee (or typist, in this case). As we continue to skim read, we should be made aware of the various positions of a seat (with the key words “chair”, “back”, and “adjustable”). These various explanations and features make it clear that v What makes a good seat? is the best choice.
 
18. x - Section D features a longer paragraph, and we will first focus on the first and last sentences. As such, the first sentence contains words such as “operator”, “manuscript”, “distance”, “screen”. Thus, we know we are reading about an employee (an operator, specifically) and the proper eye distance regarding the screen. The last sentence contains more key words, such as “VDU” and “time”. With this in mind, we should be directed to either ix Why does a VDU create eye fatigue? or x Where should I place the documents?. With a closer examination of Section D, we are made aware of the mention of “paper” (in this case, a synonym for “document”). Since there are specific instructions on this, option x Where should I place the documents? is the best option. Option ix Why does a VDU create eye fatigue? does not provide an adequate answer nor does it provide a reason to answer the question.
 
19. ii - Section E features a paragraph similar in length to Section D. Starting with the first sentence, the key words “pauses” and “thirty to sixty seconds”. After having paid attention to key words, Similarities, and Differences in Step 3, we should start thinking about the fact that “time” is in a few headings. With the last sentence, key words such as “period”, “filing”, “documents” pop out, providing further proof that the paragraph involves something related to time. The two options we had gathered for time include ii     How long should I work without a break?  And iv  When is the best time to do filing chores? . This is perhaps the most difficult question of the group, so let's dissect the correct answer. Key words from both ii and iv are included in this paragraph, and we must focus on which question is correctly answered. Going back to our information in Step 3, option ii requires an answer of a specific time, whereas option iv requires a specific time. The paragraph contains the answer to heading ii in the first statement, “While keying, it is advisable to have frequent but short pauses of around thirty to sixty seconds to proofread.”. The specific time makes this the best answer for heading ii. 
 
20. i - The short paragraph in Section F contains key words “position” and “VDU” in its first sentence. In the last sentence, the words “vertical”, “avoid glare”, and “lighting” should make the reader shift attention to the heading i How can reflection problems be avoided?. Section F contains a procedure (or “method”) for how to avoid glare. After having recognized that this heading was looking for a “method” in Step 3, we can correctly choose heading i for this question.
 
21. iii - Lastly, Section G closes the passage with a few sentences. The first sentence contains the key words, “unsatisfactory” and “conditions”. A resolution to the “trouble” (a key word in the last sentence) is also provided. With this, the heading iii     What if I experience any problems? should be immediately considered. Although the heading vi contains key words regarding health problems, Section G does not discuss “common” problems. Additionally, vi should have been eliminated since it was the correct answer for the first question. 

Practice this sample practice on our IELTS App

Questions 1-5
The reading passage has five sections, A-E.

Choose the correct heading for sections A-E from the list of headings below.

Write the correct number i-vii in boxes 1-5 on your answer sheet.

List of Headings
  1. Commercial pressures on people in charge
  2. Mixed views on current changes to museums
  3. Interpreting the facts to meet visitor expectations
  4. The international dimension
  5. Collections of factual evidence
  6. Fewer differences between public attractions
  7. Current reviews and suggestions

1. Section A

2. Section B

3. Section C

4. Section D

5. Section E


  • spellcheck Answers
    1. v
    2. ii
    3. vi
    4. i
    5. iii
Reading Passage

Section A

The conviction that historical relics provide infallible testimony about the past is rooted in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when science was regarded as objective and value free. As one writer observes: 'Although it is now evident that artifacts are as easily altered as chronicles, public faith in their veracity endures: a tangible relic seems ipso facto real! Such conviction was, until recently, reflected in museum displays. Museums used to look — and some still do — much like storage rooms of objects packed together in showcases: good for scholars who wanted to study the subtle differences in design, but not for the ordinary visitor. to whom it all looked alike. Similarly, the information accompanying the objects often made little sense to the lay visitor. The content and format of explanations dated back to a time when the museum was the exclusive domain of the scientific researcher.

Section B

Recently, however, attitudes towards history and the way it should be presented have altered. The key word in heritage display is now 'experience the more exciting the better and, if possible, involving all the senses. Good examples of this approach in the UK are the Jorvik Centre in York; the National Museum of Photography, Elm ­­and Television in Bradford; and the imperial War Museum in London. In the US the trend emerged much earlier. Williamsburg has been a prototype for many heritage developments in other parts of the world. No one can predict where the process will end. On so-called heritage sites, the re-enactment of historical events is increasingly popular, and computers will soon provide virtual reality experiences, which will present visitors with a vivid image of the period of their choice, in which they themselves can act as if part of the historical environment. Such developments have been criticised as an intolerable vulgarisation. but the success of many historical theme parks and similar locations suggests that the majority of the public does not share this opinion.

Section C

In a related development, the sharp distinction between museum and heritage sites on the one hand, and theme parks on the other. is gradually evaporating. They already borrow ideas and concepts from one another. For example, museums have adopted storylines for exhibitions, sites have accepted 'theming' as a relevant tool, and theme parks are moving towards more authenticity and research-based presentations in zoos, animals are no longer kept in cages, but in great spaces, either ln the open air or in enormous greenhouses, such as the jungle and desert environments .In Burgers' Zoo In Holland. This particular trend is regarded as one of the major developments in the presentation of natural history in the twentieth century.

Section D

Theme parks are undergoing other changes, too, as they try to present more serious social and cultural issues, and move away from fantasy. This development is a response to market forces and, although museums and heritage sites have a special. rather distinct, role to fulfill, they are also operating in a very competitive environment, where visitors make choices on how and where to spend their free time. Heritage and museum experts do not have to invent stories and recreate historical environments to attract their visitors: their assets are already in place. However, exhibits must be both based on artefacts and facts as we know them, and attractively presented. Those who are professionally engaged in the art of interpreting history are thus in a difficult position, as they must steer a narrow course between the demands of 'evidence' and 'attractiveness especially given the increasing need in the heritage industry for income generating activities.

Section E

It could be claimed that in order to make everything in heritage more `real` historical accuracy must be increasingly altered. For example, Pithecanthropus erectus is depicted in an Indonesian museum with Malay facial features, because this corresponds to public perceptions. Similarly, in the Museum of Natural History in Washington, Neanderthal man is shown making a dominant gesture to his wife. Such presentations tell us more about contemporary perceptions of the world than about our ancestors. There is one compensation, however, for the professionals who make these interpretations: If they did not provide the interpretation, visitors would do it for themselves. based on their own ideas. misconceptions and prejudices. And no matter how exciting the result, it would contain a lot more bias than the presentations provided by experts.

Human bias is inevitable, but another source of bias in the representation of history has to do with the transitory nature of the materials themselves. The simple fact is that not everything from history survives the historical process. Castles, palaces and cathedrals have a longer lifespan than the dwellings of ordinary people. The same applies to the famishing and other contents of the premises. In a town like Leyden in Holland, which in the seventeenth century was occupied by approximately the same number of inhabitants as today, people lived within the walled town, an area more than five times smaller than modern Leyden. In most of the houses, several families lived together in circumstances beyond our imagination. Yet In museums, line period rooms give only an image of the lifestyle of the upper class of that era. No wonder that people who stroll around exhibitions are filled with nostalgia; the evidence in museums indicates that life was so much better in the past. This notion is induced by the bias in its representation in museums and heritage centers.

 
1. v - The first sentence contains “The conviction that historical relics provide infallible testimony about the past is rooted in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when science was regarded as objective and value free. ", showing that historical relics provide factual evidence. The sentence containsSuch conviction was, until recently, reflected in museum displays. Museums used to look — and some still do — much like storage rooms of objects packed together in showcases: good for scholars who wanted to study the subtle differences in design, but not for the ordinary visitor.”, showing that museums have collections of historical relics. Therefore, the answer is “v. Collections of factual evidence”
 
2. ii - The first sentence contains "attitudes towards history...have altered.", showing that something has changed. The last sentence contains "Such developments have been criticized...but...the majority of the public does not share this opinion.", showing that the views could be mixed and not standard across the board.
 
3.  vi - The first sentence contains the "sharp distinction between museum and heritage sites on the one hand, and theme parks on the other, is gradually evaporating" alluding to the fact that the differences between the two are growing fewer and fewer. The last sentence contains "major developments in the presentation of natural history in the twentieth century" which provides a time reference.
 
4. i - The first sentence contains "Theme parks are undergoing changes...", which could allude to current changes, although the word "current" is not included. The last sentence contains "Those who are professionally engaged in the art of interpreting history are thus in a difficult position...", which clearly calls upon the "people in charge" of museums and the pressures they face.
 
5. iii - The first sentence contains "historical accuracy must be increasingly altered." alluding to an interpretation of facts. The last sentence contains"...it would contain a lot more bias than the presentations provided by experts." alluding to the fact that perhaps information is being understood through a different lens.

Practice this sample practice on our IELTS App

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

How to Answer Matching Headings Questions

The most essential skill to answer Matching Headings questions is skimming, which is being able to read a text quickly to get a general idea of meaning. The following answer strategy explains how you can utilize skimming skills to tackle this question type.

  1. Step 1 and 2: Get a general idea of each heading and find keywords - Ask yourself: What would you pull out as a key word for each heading?
  2. Step 3: Note similarities/differences - Which of these headings are similar and could cause you to make a mistake? Mark a symbol next to similar headings, and look for opposites as well.
  3. Step 4: Read the first and last sentences - After you have read the headings for meaning, key words, and similarities, it is time to read the passage. However, you must optimize your time. Instead of reading every single sentence, reading the first and last sentences of each paragraph will allow you to gain a general idea of the paragraph.
  4. Step 4: Answer Questions

Using this strategy, youre certain to find answers efficiently.

Also, if you have several question types for the same passage, we recommend you do the matching headings questions first, as the headings summarize the text and can help you scan the answers for other questions.

Recap

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

Do:

  • Read the headings first and circle or underline any key words.
  • Read the passage looking for information provided in the headings.
  • Pay attention to clues in the headings, such as question words or similarities and differences. This will help you later on when you answer the questions.
  • Skim as necessary.
  • Write the roman numerals in your answer booklet.
  • Remember that answers will not come in order.

Don’t: 

  • Waste time reading paragraphs that are not included in the question set for this question type.
  • Read the passage first.
  • Repeat any headings for answers.
  • Write any words in your answer booklet for this section.

IELTS Reading Matching Headings Practice List

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

Academic Reading - Matching Headings Questions Practice List

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

General Reading - Matching Headings Questions Practice List

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


 
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