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How to Do Matching Heading Type of Questions in IELTS Reading?

How to Do Matching Heading Type of Questions in IELTS Reading?

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One of the most difficult questions that students face in IELTS reading is matching heading type of questions. Students get worried about solving such questions as they get confused about so many given headings out of which they are to choose one heading.

Task description

Headings are short sentences that summarise the information in a paragraph. This type of question tests your ability to understand the main idea of each paragraph.

How to approach this task

  • Underline Keywords in Headings and Passage
  • Skim the Paragraph to Find its Gist
  • Keep in Mind First and Last Sentence of a Paragraph
  • Go Through All Headings Before Choosing


Read the paragraphs in the passage below one by one to choose the correct headings:

Traffic Jams — No End in Sight


There are no easy answers to the problems of traffic congestion. Traffic congestion affects people throughout the world. Traffic jams cause smog in dozens of cities across both the developed and developing world.

In the U.S., commuters spend an average of a full work week each year sitting in traffic, according to the Texas Transportation Institute. While alternative ways of getting around are available, most people still choose their cars because they are looking for convenience, comfort and privacy.

(Read more at:

The reading passage has 5 paragraphs, A-E. Choose the correct heading for each paragraph from the list of headings below. Write the correct number, i-vii, in boxes 1-5 on your answer sheet.

1. Paragraph A

2. Paragraph B

3. Paragraph C

4. Paragraph D

5. Paragraph E

List of Headings

i A solution which is no solution

ii Changing working practices

iii Closing city centres to traffic

iv Making cars more environmentally friendly

v Not doing enough

vi Paying to get in

vii A global problem

How to solve this test?

  • Underline the key ideas in the headings before you read the passage
  • Read the paragraphs one by one to choose the correct headings

Keyword table for this practice test:

Keywords in Questions

Similar words in Passage

A global problem (vii)

Traffic congestion affects people throughout the world. (A)

Paying to get in (vi)

The most promising technique for reducing city traffic is called congestion pricing, whereby cities charge a toll to enter certain parts of town at certain times of day (B)

Changing working practices (ii)Another way to reduce rush hour traffic is for employers to implement flextime, which lets employees travel to and from work at off-peak traffic times to avoid the rush hour. (C)


Question 1:

  • In the 2rd sentence of the paragraph A, you can find the keywords: throughout the world = global (in the heading vii)
  • So the heading of paragraph A is vii.

Question 2:

  • In the 1st sentence of the paragraph B, you can find the keywords: charge = paying ; enter = get in (in the heading vi)
  • So the heading of paragraph B is vi.

Question 3:

  • In the 1st sentence of the paragraph C, you can find the keywords: flextime = working practices (in the heading ii)
  • So the heading of paragraph C is ii.

Now continue this technique with another questions. This may seem like a lot of work and in the beginning but once you have practised this many times, you will be able to find your answers really fast and with much better accuracy and that will improve your score.


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