IELTS Reading: Paragraph headings (SIMON Tip)

1. Do these questions last

Paragraph headings’ questions are difficult, especially because the answers will not be in order in the text. For most other types of question, the answers will be in order in the text. So, do the other questions first, then you will be familiar with the text when you return to the ‘paragraph headings’ questions. You might even find that you are able to match some of the paragraphs really quickly because you remember what they were about.

2. Start with the shortest paragraphs

Instead of starting with the first paragraph, why not start with the shortest paragraph? If there is a really short paragraph, it should be easier to match it to a heading. Then you will have fewer headings to choose from for the longer paragraphs.

3. Look for similar words

As with most types of IELTS reading question, you should be able to find words in the paragraph that are similar to words in the heading.

4. Move on if you are spending too much time

‘Paragraph headings’ questions often take a long time. Don’t allow yourself to use more than 20 minutes for each reading passage. If you haven’t finished after 20 minutes, move on to the next passage.

which paragraph contains…?
Which paragraph contains the following information?” This type of question is notthe same as “match the headings to the paragraphs
Here are some tips for “which paragraph contains?” questions:

  • Instead of looking for the main idea of each paragraph, you need to find one piece of information.
  • Some paragraphs might not contain any answers
  • The same paragraph might contain more than one answer
  • It’s not usually difficult to understand the question or answer, but it is difficult to find the answer
  • Do these questions last. By doing other questions first, you will become familiar with the passage, and you might remember where some of the answers are
  • Look for the easiest information first: questions that contain names, numbers or big/unusual words might be easier to find

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