Matching Headings Question: IELTS Reading

In this question you must match the correct heading to the correct section of the passage. Matching headings questions are common in IELTS reading and are one of the longest to complete. Take time to read through the headings given. Which which ones are similar  or contain similar language – they are often traps. Also check the number of headings given, usually there are more headings available than are needed.

The heading usually relates to the general aim of a section.

Antimicrobial Resistance

A) While antibiotic resistance refers specifically to the resistance to antibiotics that occurs in common bacteria that cause infections, antimicrobial resistance is a broader term, encompassing resistance to drugs to treat infections caused by other microbes. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is resistance of a microorganism to an antimicrobial drug that was originally effective for treatment of infections caused by it. Resistant microorganisms (including bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites) are able to withstand attack by antimicrobial drugs, such as antibacterial drugs (e.g., antibiotics), antifungals, antivirals, and antimalarials, so that standard treatments become ineffective and infections persist, increasing the risk of spread to others. The evolution of resistant strains is a natural phenomenon that occurs when microorganisms replicate themselves erroneously or when resistant traits are exchanged between them. The use and misuse of antimicrobial drugs accelerates the emergence of drug-resistant strains. Poor infection control practices, inadequate sanitary conditions and inappropriate food-handling encourages the further spread of AMR.

B) New resistance mechanisms emerge and spread worldwide threatening our ability to treat common infectious diseases, resulting in death and disability of individuals who until recently could continue a normal course of life. Without effective anti-infective treatment, many standard medical treatments will fail or turn into very high risk procedures. This would be a financially draining situation for wealth countries but for the poorer ones, it could have catastrophic effects.

C) Infections caused by resistant microorganisms often fail to respond to the standard treatment, resulting in prolonged illness, higher health care expenditures, and a greater risk of death. As an example, the death rate for patients with serious infections caused by common bacteria treated in hospitals can be about twice that of patients with infections caused by the same non-resistant bacteria. For example, people with MRSA (another common source of severe infections in the community and in hospitals) are estimated to be 64% more likely to die than people with a non-resistant form of the infection.

D) WHO’s report on global surveillance of antimicrobial resistance reveals that antibiotic resistance is no longer a prediction for the future; it is happening right now, across the world, and is putting at risk the ability to treat common infections in the community and hospitals. Without urgent, coordinated action, the world is heading towards a post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries, which have been treatable for decades, can once again kill.

Questions 1-4

Choose the correct heading from the list below (i-x)

Choose the correct heading for sections A-D from the list of headings below.

i. A fatal threat

ii. A global concern.

iii. The evolution of resistance

iv. MRSA in hospitals

v. The present situation

vi. What is antimicrobial resistance?

vii. Protecting future generations

  1. Section A =
  2. Section B =
  3. Section C =
  4. Section D =
  1. vi
  2. ii
  3. i
  4. v

(passage adapted from WHO)

  • broader term = a more general term
  • encompassing = including
  • persist = continue
  • phenomenon = occurrence
  • replicate = copy / reproduce
  • erroneously = mistakenly
  • sanitary = hygienic  / clean
  • catastrophic = disastrous / terrible / devastating
  • prolonged = lengthy (prolonged illness = chronic illness)



Matching Heading Practice: Medium Level

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  1. I still get 2/2

  2. Pierre Teo says:

    4/4! Out of all mistakes I’ve got in your reading exercises, finaaaaally there’s an improvement *wooh*

    • FANTASTIC!!! Keep it up!! Make sure you start keeping a list of answers you got wrong -why you got them wrong, what trap you missed and useful paraphrases. Also make a note of questions you got right so you can see why you are doing better. 🙂

  3. sujit kumar biswas says:

    just got1/4. so more have to run

  4. Hi,
    I have a serious problem, when I answer questions in your website I do very wel,, but when it comes to answering the ielts essential book exams it I get very low marks!

    The question is ,,, is ielts exams are like the ones in Thomson ielts essentials book or like yours? Please answer me my first ielts exam is in 5days only!,, I have no one else to ask :'(

  5. I have done all the “matching paragraph headings” you have so far posted. I have done all of them correctly. I think I need more paragraph headings for practicing before I start official questions from 10 published books. I am now concentrating more on strategy. I am considering myself very lucky for getting a wonderful free website. There are many paragraph headings posted by others for IELTS in internet but I don’t want to switch to other website. Do you have more exercises for the same topic?

  6. I have done all the “matching paragraph headings” you have so far posted. I have done all of them correctly. I think I need more paragraph headings for practicing before I start official questions from 10 published books. I am now concentrating more on strategy. I am feeling myself very lucky for getting a wonderful free website. There are many paragraph headings posted by others for IELTS in internet but I don’t want to switch to other website. do you have more exercises for the same topic?

    • I don’t have more reading passages then what is on my blog. However I am working on a members only section of my blog with more reading practice for IELTS. Meanwhile, you should use all sources available on the internet.

  7. Hi Liz,

    Why the answer for D is ii? The paragraph talks about the world and refers to global as that’s what I understood to detect the meaning but not the sentence. Anyway, my exam has passed and I hope i did well.

    • You should be looking at the aim of the paragraph not just matching words or looking for repeated words. This paragraph is about the fact that the problem isn’t in the future, it is now.

  8. Sharnjeet Singh Jaura says:

    got 4 out of 4 right, and all credit goes to “Elizabeth’s ” for furnishing my skills further in reading… 🙂
    Thank you very much Liz. 🙂

    I have an question. Whenever I get a passage topic in which I am not interested too much, I just skim it in no time and get 95% of my questions right, but when I get a passage in which I am interested and want to know about it, I get 95 or 100% of my questions right but I always run out of time because I spend too much time reading the passage to get more knowledge about the topic. Do you have any solutions?
    Thank you for your time.

    Sharnjeet. 🙂

    • This is because your first technique is correct. You must aim to skim read which means to read for general content not for understanding. After skim reading, you prepare the questions and scan to find answers. Never try to read it to understand everything – IELTS is not aiming at that when they designed the test (although matching headings does require more understand than other questions).

  9. Matilde says:

    Dear Liz,
    Today I have just received my IELTS results.
    I really wanted to thank you for the great support you give on a daily basis to all of us. Thanks for your generosity. Matilde

  10. Mam,
    2/4,too bad.i’m getting tensed,i dont know why i am failing to figure out headings,moreover,i’m feeling so much confused,having a sense of fear of IELTS.


  11. Bernhard Richter says:

    Dear Liz

    Thank you for your great Website

    I think there is a mistake in the answers for reading: “antrimicrobial resistance (Reading, matching Headings):
    Choice of headings (below the text): “What is microbial resistance” >>>that is wrong: it should be “What is antimicrobial resistance”

    B Richter

  12. Dear Liz, 🙂 do we have to answer it in full sentence? writing answers begining with the questions ………
    eg, what is the colour of vegetables?
    answers :” Green” or “the colour of vegetables are green.

    • There is a word limit for answers in reading. Please review all lessons of reading to see examples.
      All the best

  13. Muhammad Faisal Mujahid says:

    Hi Liz,

    Is it possible for you to send me more exercises for the reading passage so that i could do more practice. I appreciate for your efforts which you have contributed in making the IELTS easy to attempt.

    • I do not have any more practice reading exercises to email to you. However, if you look at my useful websites page (see IELTS Extra section), you will find a link to free reading practice tests online.
      All the best

  14. Hi Liz, I am trying your tips to find the main aim of each paragraph. But the main problem I’m facing is Time shortage. When I’m searching the main aim of each paragraph it cost me lots of time. Is there any way to find the location of main aim. Sometime it’s in the middle or last of the paragraph.

    • Hi,

      Unfortunately, you are right. It is sometimes at the start of the paragraph, sometimes in the middle and sometimes at the end. For that reason, it can be difficult and take time. You can only practice in order to build speed. Also remember that you don’t need to follow the headings in order. I find it easier to start with a heading that is distinctly different to the others because it will be easier to find. You must also decide how long you spend looking for just one answer before you move on to the next.
      There’s no easy way to those questions.

  15. hi Liz, do you have any plans to make a video tutorial for solving matching heading questions, of course your blogs are great help but i find your videos more helpful , actually the way you explain things in your videos makes it so much easier to understand and i truly appreciate your help.

    • Hi,

      I have a list of many videos to make but I only make one each week so it will take time to make matching headings. I’m really glad that my lessons are helping you 🙂

  16. I got 1/4….. 🙁 Couldn’t improve my skill in reading anyhow…. Feeling tensed 🙁

    • Hi Eliza,

      Let me give you a tips. Look for the aim of the passage. For example, section C has information about a fatal threat and also MRSA – but one is the main content of the section and the other is only an example. Each heading must be a main aim or main focus. Section D has information about the world but it is mostly written using the present continuous (a tense we use when we can talking about now) – that will help you understand the different between words being repeated and the general aim and content.

      All the best

    • I am so stressed, I also got 1/4, been writing ielts 3 times and keep on getting 6.0 on reading. I am writing again in 6 days and getting worried that there is no improvement. any suggestions? with my last exam, I got 7 for listening, 7 for writing and 7 for speaking, reading is the only I am struggling with and I must get atleast 6.5

  17. Kawther Tolba says:

    dear Liz
    Thank you so much for your effort you helped me your calm quite clear way makes your lessons very effective.


    Well done ( :
    Thank you Liz

  19. wow! i got 4/4. my confidence is increasing day by day. thanks liz

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