Matching Headings Question: IELTS Reading Exercise

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. This is a practice exercise for students, not an IELTS test.

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)

All reading exercises on have been written by myself to help you prepare for your IELTS test.   


  • 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


  1. Thanks Liz – This was really helpful.

  2. Archana Raksa says

    Got 1/4.

    After analysing my mistakes, I couldn’t stop myself from thanking you for formulating such a brilliant exercise.

    Thanks Liz 🙂

  3. Thank you for the tips shared Liz. I did try my best using them. This type of question is a mighty challenge for me. Still got the majority of the answers wrong as was unable to distinguish between the options given as paragraphs 2-4 appeared to have all fatal threat/global concern/present situation as the answers.

  4. 4/4 on this and thanks for the lesson

  5. Opara Juliet says

    Thanks alot for your efforts, i got it all, God bless and grant you quick recovery.

  6. i got 3 correct .

  7. Jen Samaniego says

    I got it all correct

  8. I got only 2😞

  9. got 4/4 in 1 min

  10. LAMAN TEMEL says

    4/4 Thank you very much Liz

  11. Gaurav Ranjit says

    OMG, finally I did something ! 4/4 in around 3.5 mins… I know I need to be faster.. but I was literally crying due to my incompetence in reading. I will practice more now. Thank for making it easier for practice, although I know that it’s going to be much harder in real tests.

    Cheers Liz.

    Please get well soon. I was really looking forward to some guidance for writing section. I got 3 of your videos. But there are some pending ones. Maybe you could provide some text-based advanced guides? I am so happy with your overall explanations regarding the existing ones.

  12. vaibhav solanki says

    I got 1/4, Still not able to catch understanding of paragraph and How to judge the aim of passage?

  13. At first, I read the question as I should match the phrases with the paragraphs and the answer was “i. C , ii. D , iii. A , iv. C , v. D , vi. A , vii. B”
    THEN, I discovered the reality of the question and I got 5/5.

  14. I am gone .I got only 1/4

  15. Fatemeh Mohammadzadeh says

    It was really hard for me, i got2/4 🙁

  16. Bolade Balogun says

    I got 3/4. Thanks

  17. Many Thanks Liz

    I got all right 4/4

  18. I got 3/4. Thank you Liz.

  19. Yehey! 4/4! Thanks Madam!

  20. Hey, Liz!
    I was confused about weather or not I could choose more than one heading for each of the paragraphs listed. Please clear out the confusion I’ve.
    Thank you. 🙂

    • Matching headings means there is one heading for each paragraph. Each paragraph can’t have two headings – only one. But if the question is matching paragraph information, then information can be found in one paragraph or two pieces of information might be found in one paragraph. Make sure you learn the difference between question types or you will make mistakes in the real test:

  21. Firstly,when I gave a glimpse I thought that the passage is long in size it will be difficult for me to locate answer within a very short time . But when I went through question and try to match some meaning from questions to paragraph then everything became normal.It took just a minute to find the answer and all are correct. Thank you so much MAM#LIZ

    • Excellent! You now understand IELTS reading 🙂 The only time you will need to read more in-depth is with matching headings and choosing a title. All other questions require you to locate the information quickly, read 4 or 5 sentences around that area and then decide your answer.

      • Rana Mostafa says

        Ms. Liz
        But sometimes, there is a trick. For instance, I read the paragraphs you wrote about pangolins and some could bear more than one of the answers. They have the wordings and the idea so that make me confused to choose which is the best answer.
        Thank you

        • There is only one heading for each paragraph. Your aim is not to match words, it is to match the aim of the paragraph. The aim means the intent of the paragraph.

  22. Barinderjit Singh says

    got 4/4.
    Definitely an observable change.
    Thank you Liz for these sample lessons.

  23. 3/4 Liz ..I wanna make it4/4 ,,,😐

  24. Fatemeh says

    Hi Liz,

    I got 2/4, It is too bad. I cannot understand why paragraph B is II?

    Thanks for your assistance in advance.

  25. I still get 2/2

  26. 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. 🙂

  27. sujit kumar biswas says

    just got1/4. so more have to run

  28. 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 :'(

  29. 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

  30. I got the same score that Eliza, however your advice is really useful to choose the right heading.

  31. 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?

  32. 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.

  33. 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.

  34. 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).

  35. 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

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