IELTS Reading Matching Paragraph Information

IELTS Reading Matching Paragraph Information | IELTS Reading Matching Paragraph Information


This is my suggested strategy. There are many different strategies and you should use the one you feel comfortable with. You can also adapt this strategy to what suits you.

  • Read the instructions carefully.
  • Read the questions first. Think about synonyms and how you could paraphrase the statements. This will help you identify the answer. Saying each statement in your own words can help do this.
  • Quickly skim the reading text to try to understand the general meaning of the text.
  • Read the question statements again and predict which paragraph contains the answer.
  • Scan the text paragraphs you think might contain the answer for synonyms. If you find a possible answer underline it.
  • Check back with the question statement and mark the answer if correct. If not, move on to other paragraphs.

Key tips

1)  The answers will not come in the same order in the text as the order of the list of statements.

2)  Some paragraphs may not contain an answer.

3)  A paragraph could contain more than one answer.

4)  The answer will not necessarily be in the main idea of a paragraph as in ‘matching headings’ questions. In ‘matching information’ questions, you will be looking for specific information. Some students confuse these two types of question so be sure that you know which you are answering.

5)  Do the other questions on this text first.

Each text will have several types of questions attached to it. If you do the matching information question last, you will have a good understanding of the passage by the time you get to it. This will make it easier and quicker to complete.

6)  Expect lots of synonyms. Be particularly aware of information that can be represented in words and figures. For example,

     ½  – a half

     15º – fifteen degrees

     69% – sixty-nine per cent

7)  Usually, you’ll find the matching information in a phrase or whole sentence, not in an individual word.

8)  Search for the easiest information to match first. This will usually be in a statement that contains key words that are easy to find in the text such as names, numbers, places and dates.

This way, if time runs short and you’re forced to move on before completing the question, you’ll at least have picked up the easiest marks rather than wasting lots of time on a difficult question.

9)  You can narrow down the match of statement and paragraph by a process of elimination. For any specific statement, there will be paragraphs that are clearly not a match.

The Strategy

I’ll show you how to apply this strategy in the example below but first, you need to understand it.

# 1  Carefully read the instructions.

# 2  Read the statements before you read the text. Take note of the main idea of each statement and think about possible synonyms that might be used in the passage.

# 3  Skim read the text to get a general understanding of what it’s about.

It will help you if you quickly identify the main idea of each paragraph and note it in a couple of words beside the paragraph. 

Although the main ideas may not be the information you need to match, doing this will make it quicker to find relevant paragraphs again.

# 4  Return to the statements. Read them again and decide which one you think will be the easiest to match. Since the answers won’t come in the same order as the order of the list of statements, it doesn’t matter which you do first.

These criteria may help determine which statements might be the easiest ones to match.

  • There are names, numbers, places and dates that will be easy to scan for.
  • There are other key words that should be easy to spot in the text.
  • Notes you made beside a paragraph of its main idea match information in one of the statements.

I give detailed explanations on this step of the strategy in the sample test below.

# 5  Once you’ve selected your statement, scan the text for key words. When you think you’ve identified the paragraph with matching information, read it in detail to check if you’re right.

Expect synonyms and paraphrasing to be used.

# 6  If you are right and can confirm the match, fill in the answer sheet and cross through the statement to eliminate it from further consideration.

If you’re wrong, continue scanning for the correct paragraph.

# 7  Repeat this process until you have matched all the statements to paragraphs.

PRACTICE Matching Paragraph Information