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1 Best IELTS Reading Matching Heading Tips and Strategies

IELTS Reading Matching Heading Tips

is an article on the request of over thousands of students via Viber and Facebook Messenger which will try to address your queries on solving matching headings for your reading test. Matching heading in IELTS reading is a very unpopular question type among Nepalese students because it has earned its title for being hard, and their voice is very justifiable for:-

  1. misleading and confusing multiple headings
  2. more headings as options than required
  3. headings with no direct link to the main idea of the paragraph
  4. confusing use of synonyms in the headings
  5. multiple headings with a similar appearance

Tricks for IELTS Reading Matching Heading:-

matching heading tipsBefore we start, just a small piece of information to you; the method that I am briefing here for matching heading may not go well with all, so I suggest you read articles from multiple websites and devise your own way of mastering IELTS. However, this technique has helped with 95% of the easy-ielts students, with the rest 5% we always give personalized techniques based upon their level of English.  Enough talk, let’s start.

1. Understand the construct of the paragraph

Do you guys know how a paragraph is constructed in English? It’s not that hard. A paragraph always contains one or two central messages/themes/ideas. Each sentence is called supporting idea which together constructs the main idea of the paragraph. In IELTS reading 60% of the chances are that matching heading is taken from that central message and 40% from the supporting ideas.

2. Create a heading by yourself

For the 40% we discussed in number 1, use the first and last sentence reading technique to find heading. But for the main idea, you may need to read the whole paragraph. Develop your own heading which addresses the overall meaning of the paragraph but not some specific ideas.

3. Read the provided headings and match the most  closely related of your heading

Read all the heading given to you as an option and try to find the best match for your paragraph.

4. Eliminate the answer using your pencil

Once you find your best pick, eliminate it by using your pencil so you don’t read the same heading repeatedly. This gives you an extra 30-45 seconds.

5. For the heading where you find multiple possibilities, move forward and on your way, you will find the answer

Many times IELTS sets its question such that to create confusion between headings. Killing some extra minutes. So the best idea is to note the viable answer in the heading’s side and move forward to another heading. A time should come when you can easily comprehend between the two confused headings.


Example of Matching Headings Question

Choose the correct heading for paragraphs B-G from the list of headings below..
Write the correct number i-ix, in boxes 27-32 on your answer sheet


Climate change and the Inuit

The threat posed by climate change in the Arctic and the problems faced by Canada’s Inuit people

    The Canadian Arctic is a vast, treeless polar desert that’s covered with snow for most of the year. Venture into this terrain and you get some idea of the hardships facing anyone who calls this home. Farming is out of the question and nature offers meagre pickings. Humans first settled in the Arctic a mere 4,500 years ago, surviving by exploiting sea mammals and fish.

The environment tested them to the limits: sometimes the colonists were successful, sometimes they failed and vanished. But around a thousand years ago, one group emerged that was uniquely well adapted to cope with the Arctic environment. These Thule people moved in from Alaska, bringing kayaks, sleds, dogs, pottery and iron tools. They are the ancestors of today’s Inuit people.

A. Construct of the paragraph and Creating a heading by self

  1. Environmental hardships and 
  2. Successful adaptation of a specific group despite hardships
List of Headings

i     The reaction of the Inuit community to climate change
ii     Understanding of climate change remains limited
iii     Alternative sources of essential supplies
iv     Respect for Inuit opinion grows
v     A healthier choice of food
vi     A difficult landscape

Here, difficult= hardship: environment= landscape

vii     Negative effects on well-being
viii     Alarm caused by unprecedented events in the Arctic
ix     The benefits of an easier existence

Example                        Answer    

Paragraph A                     viii

27  Paragraph  B
28  Paragraph  C               vi      

(eliminate the solved answer)
29  Paragraph  D
30  Paragraph  E
31  Paragraph  F
32  Paragraph  G


IELTS Reading Matching Heading Tips, Tricks, and Strategies

  • These questions are given to you like the first question of the passage so do these first. Time matters much during a reading test, hence what I suggest to you is to read and search for the keywords from other types of questions (true/false, MCQ….). While reading for matching heading you may find answers to other questions.
  • 40% of the cases a good strategy for matching heading is to read the first one or two sentences and the last sentence of the paragraphs and a brief look at others.
  • Sometimes students are tricked by the use of synonyms in the given options.
  • Worry less about the specific words difficult to understand for you and try to generalize the overall meaning of the paragraph.
  • Often IELTS question is designed in such a way that you will find over one heading best fitting for the same paragraph. Write aside your question paper and move forward. A time will come when you can eliminate the one among those two written before.
  • Don’t assume your answer until you become damn sure about the headings.
  • Be a little slower in matching heading because it naturally takes time to understand the whole passage.


For more information, please visit the British Council and IELTS official


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