Matching questions in IELTS reading

Matching questions in IELTS reading

Matching questions in IELTS readingIn the IELTS reading test, matching questions come in 3 different forms. You could be asked to match a heading to a paragraph (this is covered in the Headings lesson), match two halves of a sentences or match cause and effect. This post will focus on matching sentence halves and cause and effect statements.

NOTE: This post does not cover classifying, which is a slightly different skill and will be covered in future posts.

Matching parts of sentences

Here’s an example of a matching exercises that requires you to match parts of a sentence.

1 This exercise is A. a common ‘matching’ question type.
2 Putting sentence halves together is B. a simple example of this question type.

The correct combination is:

1 – B

2 – A

Useful tip: When matching sentence halves, grammar and logic are important. If you are having difficulty finding the correct answer, begin by eliminating the options you think are wrong.

Practice by matching the sentence halves below. There is no text for this exercise – use the tip above to find the correct answers.

1 Further education is essential if … a … you are hoping for a good job.
2 Degree-level study and beyond … b … is part of building your English.
3 Good teachers … c … is a very useful tool in the job market.
4 The ability to speak English … d … should be self-funded.
5 Completing homework assignments … e … have good students.
Click here to see the answers
1=A, 2=D, 3=E, 4=C, 5=B

Matching cause and effect

Here’s a simple example of a cause and effect matching question:

1 University enrolment has increased a Specialised courses developed to train people.
2 Technology is increasing in the workplace b More competition for places.

The correct combination is:

1 – B

2 – A

Useful tip: Matching cause-and-effect sentences can be difficult as they often rely on reference words, they will not always be in the same sentence with a clear connecting word and there are many ways of expressing cause and effect (see here for a closer look at cause and effect constructions). When matching cause-and-effect questions, you will often find that the linking words and the grammar have been abbreviated, leaving almost note-form sentences. It often helps to build each cause or effect phrase into a complete sentence after you have
matched them. For example:

Question: University enrolment hasĀ  increased = more competition for places
Complete sentence: As a result of increased enrolment in university, there is now more competition for places.


Practice matching questions

Practice by reading the text below and matching cause and effect in the table that follows.

For many sufferers of dyslexia, the knowledge that they have this learning difficulty came too late to help. Having been through, and often dropped out of, the standard school system, they are left with a low sense of self-worth and the conviction that they are mentally below par. Yet in reality, dyslexics often have above-average intelligence. The problem, it appears, is that they have trouble translating language into thought and thought into language. The two-dimensional world of reading and spelling is a constant source of frustration, and those suffering from dyslexia need more time and help in reading and spelling. Undiagnosed, children see a difference between themselves and their peers but don’t know how to express it to others and continue quietly struggling to compete in a world for which their mind is not geared. Teachers and even other students push them to simply ‘try harder’ or ‘just concentrate and you’ll get it’.

Moving from childhood to adolescence, the situation becomes worse. Young teenagers are academically left even further behind, and this is often noticed by fellow students, an embarrassing situation for people already going through hormonal and biological changes. Anxiety and anger build from repeated failures, low school results and an inability to follow the flow of lessons that other students seem to comprehend with relative ease.

Motivation then becomes a problem as these young teens are mislabelled ‘lazy’, or ’emotionally disturbed’, and some schools then probe into the home life of a student in order to uncover causes for these problems. This inevitably adds pressure to an already tense situation.

Fear of humiliation combined with an unimpressive academic record often combines to discourage students from continuing to university or further education. For those that do pursue an academic path, they often find college just as hard, if not harder. Finding some solace in menial jobs which do not require the academic skills they could never master, many intelligent people with dyslexia never get to explore their true abilities and so are left with low self-esteem that follows them throughout their adult life.

1 Symptoms not recognised in childhood a Lack of ambition
2 Peer pressure b Feeling of inferiority begins
3 Incorrectly diagnosed c Chronic low self-confidence
4 Fear of further humiliation d Deeper investigation into the wrong areas
5 Never realising full potential e Additional stress at an already difficult age
Click here to see the answers
1=B, 2=E, 3=D, 4=A, 5=C
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