IELTS Matching Headings

How to do IELTS matching paragraph questions in reading. Learn useful tips and practise matching information to paragraphs for IELTS reading. This is quite an easy practice exercise for matching  and is easier that.

Tips for IELTS Matching Headings

  • read though the headings options
  • spot key words
  • think of paraphrases for key words
  • spot headings which use similar words and identify the difference
  • heading through the passage and match main ideas to heading
  • try to distinguish between main ideas and extra information
  • the answers do not come in order
  • your answer should be a letter not words

IELTS Matching Headings Practice



A) Pangolins, often called “scaly anteaters,” are covered in tough, overlapping scales. These burrowing mammals eat ants and termites using an extraordinarily long, sticky tongue, and are able to quickly roll themselves up into a tight ball when threatened. Eight different pangolin species can be found across Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Poaching for illegal wildlife trade and habitat loss have made these incredible creatures one of the most endangered groups of mammals in the world.

B) Pangolin species vary in size from about 1.6kg (~3.5 lbs) to a maximum of about 33kg (~73 lbs). They vary in color from light to yellowish brown through olive to dark brown. Protective, overlapping scales cover most of their bodies. These scales are made from keratin — the same protein that forms human hair and finger nails. Overlapping like artichoke leaves, the scales grow throughout the life of a pangolin just like hair; scale edges are constantly filed down as pangolins dig burrows and tunnel through the soil in search of termites and ants. Pangolin undersides do not have scales, and are covered with sparse fur. Unlike African pangolins, Asian pangolins also have thick bristles that emerge from between their scales. With small conical heads and jaws lacking teeth, pangolins have amazingly long, muscular, and sticky tongues that are perfect for reaching and lapping up ants and termites in deep cavities. Pangolins have poor vision, so they locate termite and ant nests with their strong sense of smell.

C) There are eight pangolin species. All pangolins belong to the genus Manis in the family Manidae, which is the only family within the order Pholidota. Pangolins’ closest living relatives are the Xenarthrans – anteaters, armadillos, and sloths.

D) Pangolins are found in a variety of habitats including tropical and flooded forests, thick brush, cleared and cultivated areas, and savannah grassland; in general they occur where large numbers of ants and termites are found. Asian pangolins in particular are threatened by loss of habitat due to expanding agriculture and other human uses. Pangolins dig deep burrows for sleeping and nesting that contain circular chambers. Large chambers have been discovered in terrestrial pangolin burrows that were big enough for a human to crawl inside and stand up. Some pangolin species such as the Malayan pangolin also sleep in the hollows and forks of trees and logs.

E) These solitary mammals are nocturnal and highly secretive, thus it is difficult for scientists to study them in the wild, and many mysteries remain about their habits. Some pangolin species such as the Chinese pangolin sleep in underground burrows during the day, and others including African tree pangolins and Malayan pangolins are known to sleep in trees. They emerge in the evening to forage for insects. Pangolins are well adapted for digging: they dig burrows with their strong front legs and claws, using their tails and rear legs for support and balance. Tunneling underground, they excavate the sides and roofs of passages by pushing up and from side to side with their tough scaled bodies. They use their front and hind feet to back accumulated soil toward the burrow entrance, and vigorously kick dirt out of the entrance up to a meter or more. Pangolin scales provide good defense against predators. When threatened, pangolins can quickly curl into a ball, protecting their defenseless undersides. They also deter predators by hissing and puffing, and lashing their sharp edged tails.

F) Pangolins live predominantly on a diet of ants and termites, which they may supplement with various other invertebrates including bee larvae, flies, worms, earthworms, and crickets. This specialist diet makes them extremely difficult to maintain in captivity—they often reject unfamiliar insect species or become ill when fed foreign food. Wild pangolins locate insect nests using a well developed sense of smell. Voraciously digging ants and termites from mounds, stumps, and fallen logs with their claws, they use their extremely long sticky tongues to capture and eat them.

G) Pangolins are hunted for food, for use in traditional medicine and as fashion accessories, and for a rampant illegal international trade in scales, skins, and meat. There is high demand for nearly all of their body parts, principally from China. The large-scale illegal trade in Asian pangolins is drastically driving down their numbers throughout Southeast Asia. Rapid loss and deterioration of available habitat places added pressure on the dwindling numbers of remaining pangolins.

Matching Headings

Choose the correct heading from the list below (i – xi)

  • i) The Asian pangolin
  • ii) Distribution and habitat
  • iii) Pangolin behaviour
  • iv) Taxonomy
  • v) Pangolin burrows
  • vi) The pangolin trade
  • vii) Comparison of pangolin species
  • viii) What is a pangolin?
  • ix) Description of a pangolin
  • x) Why pangolins are endangered
  • xi) The pangolin diet

Questions 1-7

  1. Paragraph A =
  2. Paragraph B =
  3. Paragraph C =
  4. Paragraph D =
  5. Paragraph E =
  6. Paragraph F =
  7. Paragraph G =


Click below to reveal the answers.

  • Paragraph A = viii
  • Paragraph B = ix
  • Paragraph C = iv
  • Paragraph D = ii
  • Paragraph E = iii
  • Paragraph F = xi
  • Paragraph G = x

Information about pangolins from

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



See the reading page below for more matching headings practice and more IELTS reading practice.

Main IELTS Pages

Develop your IELTS skills with tips, model answers, lessons, free videos and more.


  1. Ankit Dhawan says

    Hi Liz, I scored 6/7 in exactly 6 mins.. I am getting better with every practice test that you have included.. Thanks so much for the guidance and for the easy tips and tricks. You are a real mentor… 🙂

  2. Got 8/ happy with my improvement. Thanks Liz,God bless

  3. Thanks Liz I Scored 7 out of 7

  4. Bashar Robin says

    I have made 6 right answers out of 8 within 8 minutes, however, paragraph F was a bit tricky for me. Liz, if you are reading my comment can you tell me, why it is not vii instead of ii.

  5. 7/8, it took 8 minutes. I wish I could do more faster.

  6. Priscilla says

    I got all the answers! although it took me more time to analyse each paragraph. I was shocked actually because I wasn’t very confident about my answers.
    I took the IELTS test once and I totally messed up the reading, speaking and writing section due to lack of preparation. I have decided to study more and take the test again next month, I hope I get lucky this time.
    PS: Your tips are very helpful!

  7. I got all the answers in one go.. I always new that I had to understand the meaning not just find the words. I haven’t realized that, despite knowing what needs to be done, I have never actually applied the technique in its actual sense. Brain always wants to find the easiest and short way possible. After having this essay as a practice test, I have realized that there is no shortcut that you can really adopt to understand the meaning and essence of the paragraph unless you really and truly understand the meaning of the paragraph.

    I feel, the key to actually solving the reading essay questions is to use your brain and understand the meaning. Everything becomes clear as a day and falls into place when you do that.

    Thanks Liz for your website for building up my confidence.

    • I’m so pleased that these lessons are helping 🙂 My lessons are designed to help people grasp techniques. Your next step is to apply them to the long passages of real IELTS tests. Make sure you practise with the Cambridge IELTS test books.

  8. I’m confused for the first two paragraph titles, i selected “description of a pangolin ” for paragraph A while you told it’s “what is a pangolin?”. what’s the difference between these two titles?? to me, both titles mean the same. please explain,how do you differentiate between the two?

    • I think the problem you have is with the meaning of “heading”. This is not about what information can be found in the paragraph. It is about the paragraph aim. The first line of paragraph A does offer a brief description, but not the rest of the paragraph. If the aim of the paragraph was to describe the animal we would be given information about: colour, height, length, weight, shape, claws, paws, scales, snout, mouth, ears etc. As you can see, only a very small, general description is given with very little detail and that is only in the first sentence. Paragraph A does talk about other things: number of species type, location of those species, why it is one of the most endangered species in the world and what they eat. So, you see, the aim of the paragraph is not a description – it is about “what it is”.

      If we look at the second paragraph, almost the entire paragraph is a description of pangolin. Almost 85% of the paragraph is about that compared to only 30% of the first paragraph. Look at the aim of the overall paragraph. Don’t confuse a “heading” with the questions that ask you to locate information in a paragraph – in that case they would both contain “a description”. But for a heading, paragraph A and paragraph B have different aims.

      Further still, you know that you cannot have one heading used twice. Each heading is only used once. However, if it is matching paragraph information, any paragraphs can be used twice (if the instructions allow for it).

  9. This blog is amazing. Thanks for all the work you put into it, Liz. I tried this one and got the last paragraph wrong by choosing (i). The Asian Pangolin is “Critically Endangered” by the IUCN. They are specific words used by IUCN to describe species status. Therefore, folks familiar to the subject are misled by IELTS in such cases by introducing ambiguity in scientific terms. “Vulnerable”, “Endangered”, “Critically Endangered” can all be paraphrased as “dwindling numbers”, the paragraph is NOT specific about this, however it is specific about the species which made me choose “The Asian Pangolin” as the answer.
    The lesson here is that factual accuracy doesn’t matter. Liz, you probably mentioned this somewhere but I haven’t seen it yet. If possible post or link to it.

    • I am very confused about your comment. You choose the heading based not on two words, but on the entire aim of the paragraph. The first option of heading is (i) The Asian Pangolin – this means the paragraph must have no specific aim and only talk about the pangolin as a whole – it should be a general description which does not cover any other point mentioned in the other headings given. As you can see, this is not the case. Species status has nothing specifically to do with (i).

      The heading (x) is about the pangolin being endangered. This is not about how IUCN put the status of the pangolin today. It is about the reading passage – not your knowledge. Why are you using your knowledge to assess the passage, instead of focusing only on the language given. The heading does not say “Why is the pangolin classified as endangered?” The word endangered is an adjective (not only a species status). The word “endangered” can be used towards children, see this page: So, the final paragraph is about pangolins being at risk for various reasons. It lists a number of reasons – the word reasons = “why”. Therefore the final paragraph must be heading (x).

      Can you see how you struggled with this one?
      1) you used your own knowledge and did not base your information on the passage – never make this mistake
      2) you didn’t recognise that the word “endangered” can be used as an adjective meaning “at risk”
      3) You forgot that the paragraph contained mainly reasons for the pangolin being at risk and this means “why”. The factor that about 80% of the paragraph is about the reasons should have altered you because you should have underlined the word “why” in the heading (x). This is probably the biggest mistake you made – reasons = why.

      I hope this has been useful for you. Please note this is not an IELTS test, this is a lesson produced by myself to help highlight some of the challenges that you could face in IELTS. If the species status for the pangolin has changed since this article was written, it shouldn’t matter – this is an exercise of language, paragraph aims and matching headings – it is not an exercise about your own specific knowledge of the status of species.

      • I guess my main mistake as you pointed out was not looking at ‘why’ rather I tried to eliminate either “Asian” or “endangered”. Then I proceeded to eliminate endangered based on technicality despite knowing its meaning as an adjective and justified Asian Pangolin because the paragraph, for the most part is talking about Pangolins in China and Southeast Asia. But your explanation here helps a lot. Thanks!

        • Glad it helps 🙂 In a similar way, if you see a heading which says “A Descriptions of X” – you would look for adjectives and words describing. When you read a heading think to yourself what kind of information would such a paragraph contain – in this case – reasons / why. This means you are not focusing only on synonyms, but also on paragraph content and paragraph aims.

  10. Hi Liz,

    I just wanted to ask you on your comment recommending all capital letters for answers, I thought it depends if its a noun or a name….

    Thanks in advance

  11. Hi Liz,
    Thanks for the wonderful work you have been doing. i am new to the IELTS world and i am trying to prepare for this exam for immigration purposes. in one of the comments you mentioned to refer cambridge tests for ielts. i could see that on amazon but not quite sure if you were referring the same. any help with real tests that resemble the actual test would be really helpful as i am not sure if those youtube videos are authentic or not even though they pose themselves to be. pls help

  12. Thank you Liz
    thanks a lot for this tips and ideas it really works.
    thank you so much

  13. Olumayowa Williams says

    Hello Liz,
    My name is Olumayowa from Lagos Nigeria. I stumbled on your blog yesterday and I’ve been all shades of happy. I have been having difficulty with the reading test and today i got 7/7 in the above exercise.
    Thank you so much for this. My confidence in achieving a band 9 just doubled.
    Have a splendid day.

    • I’m really pleased for you. However, don’t forget that all materials on my site as just lessons, they are not full tests. You will need to be the IELTS Cambridge test books and do real tests to check your band score level. You can use my lessons to raise awareness, develop skills, broaden your vocabulary and build confidence. All main pages are accessed through the RED BAR at the top of the website. Good luck!

    • All shades of happy 🙂

  14. Thanks Liz i got 5/7 in 15 minutes. Your lesson is really helpful

  15. Nice, it is really interesting, I can’t imagine I get 6/7 🙂 I have never expected that 🙂

  16. Hi Liz. Thanks for your help. but on the pangolins, I had 4/7 I thought paragraph A is more of the description of a pangolin and not what it is which is option ix and not viii. Also paragraph B is more of comparison between pangolin species and not merely a description.. Now I agree ur answer of paragraph G and admit my mistake that I didn’t read the whole paragraph. To know the answer is not vi but x

  17. 6/7 in 8 minutes .
    thanks Liz.

  18. 7\7 in 4 min
    this speed is sufficient right for ielts reading ?
    and Liz thankyou for materials , you are so kind.

  19. 3/7
    I was in a hurry.

  20. Thanks Liz I got 7/7 in 9 minute’s but in complete test I’m bit confused in different types of questions

  21. Extremely grateful Liz

  22. Hii liz,

    Thank you so much your tips are really helpful…

  23. Leila Yahyaei says

    Dear Liz,

    Hi. Thank you so much. I would like to know why paragraph C matches Taxonomy. There’s no similarity in between.

    Thanks again

  24. Hi liz
    Extremely grateful to you for your such an amazing help.I got 7 score in just 10 min,i am optimistic that i could cover the same kind of score in my authentic IELTS test ,which i am taking on 25 of this November.
    Deep regards
    janak kandel

    • Make sure you practise with real IELTS tests at home. You also need to practise under exam conditions – with the correct timing.

  25. 7/7 but it took 30 minutes for me.
    Thanks Liz!!
    Very helpful passage to understand how matching heading strategy works


  26. MOHAMED NUGUD says

    Hu Liz,
    Does the main topic sentence contains the whole idea of the paragraph ?

  27. Sony Mathew says

    Hi ,

    Where can i get practice material for reading . I have tried the blogs . But couldn’t see much. Probably , i might ahve missed out . Could u please send me link for the practice .

    Thank you
    Sony Mathew

  28. Lailatul says

    happy. only one wrong answer

  29. preeti bhatnagar says

    Hey Liz! Thank you so much for your teaching..i got all answers correct here.

  30. Dear Liz,

    Thank you for your Online Teaching materials, Very helpful practices. Thank you again 🙂
    I will update my IELTS results once I’ve done it.

  31. Fatemeh says

    Hi Liz,
    Thanks for your amazing website, I got 4/7, I know it is not good enough but I am improving. I didn’t know the meaning of taxonomy, I thought Taxonomy is related to body description. So, I lost 2 scores.

  32. So it is clear that no need to read all the paragraph since we can get the answer from the main topic which come normally at the first sentence. Or shall we read it all?

    • In articles, the main ideas might be put at the end of the paragraph. You will need to read the whole paragraph and decide what the aim of the paragraph is.

  33. Aburakhia says

    Hi Liz,

    I just want to thank you for your effort. It is amazing how you are able to help all these students for free and just helping but it is more like professional teaching.

    I was able to get 7/7 in this exercise in around 19 mins thanks to your helpful techniques even thought I don’t know what Pangolins mean along with other terms in the passage.

    I would really like to thank you from my heart.
    Love from Palestine.

    • Well done! It is not important to understand all words. The aim is to find answers and win points – so well done again to you 🙂

  34. Able to get 6 correct 🙂 except para E

  35. good day Liz! I had my reading exam last week and I would like to ask because I had matching heading for test 2 and instead of using ” iii , ix , iv , etc.” I wrote “III , IX, IV ,etc.” as my answer. Am I wrong?

  36. Hey Liz,

    Thanks for all the information you provide the students.

    I’ve a doubt here. For the paragraph D, the answer is ii, why isn’t it v? Paragraph D also describes the burrows as well. So, in cases where paragraph describes two different headings, which heading should be expected answer?


  37. thank you so much 🙂

  38. HI liz
    i did read the passage within 6 minuets
    how long i have to spend on reading the passage

  39. Hi, I want to ask you in matching headings question, is there for each question only one letter or answer or possibly there would be two or more answers for each paragraph? For exam paragraph D : i , xi , vii. Just for example.
    Or we just have to expect one letter matching and the more proper one for each paragraph? Because I think I did more than one for each paragraph in my last exam. Looking forward your response. Many thanks in advance.

  40. Hi, Liz
    Thank your for the task. I had mistaken in Paragraph A and Paragraph C. I thought Paragraph A describes the Asian Pangolins and Paragraph C talks about species, family so I thought it is all about Pangolins.
    Anyway, I got to know the correct answers at last.

    Thank you once again

  41. Hi my family member! I want to say that this post is
    amazing, great written and include almost all vital infos.
    I would like to peer more posts like this .

  42. hi Liz 🙂
    can i ask you why in paragraph G its X not VI????
    i really appreciate your work


    • Because the aim of the paragraph is not to explain trade but to explain why their numbers are decreasing. Always look for the aim of the paragraph.
      All the best

      • Dear Liz, i salute your efforts God bless you. I have one more request, can you post reading paragraph about saving kiwis and habitat of crocodile or suggest me some websites links to aforementioned topics.
        thank you teacher hat off…..

  43. Your webside is really helpful for ielts exam candidates. I would like to thanks in my hearts for this fabulous job…😊😊😊

  44. Hi Liz!
    I wanna thank you for your website. Your expertise and materials are truly helpful especially for people who can’t afford to hire a private tutor. I have been following you from YouTube down to your numerous lessons and tips in Please continue to share and encourage test takers like me to believe that we can get the band score that we need with proper practice and determination. I scored seven out of seven for this one. More power and God bless you!

  45. Praveen Veliyath says

    please add a video for IELTS Matching Headings

  46. Yeah! I am perfect again!!!
    So happy:)

  47. Liz. Thank you. You teach ielts tips with ease.
    Want to as a question.
    Please apart from “matching headings in ielts” reading questions which other question and answer do not follow the order of the text?

  48. hi liz i did this questions in 7 mts, and got 7 correct.

  49. Thank you for the exercise. Can you explain how much time I need to this exercise?
    I got five correct answers, I had two wrong answers because I did not the meaning of two words.

    • This reading passage is about the same length as an IELTS reading passage but it has only 7 questions instead of 13. So, I would predict that you should spend no more than about 15 mins on this. Well done getting 5 right! At least you failed only on vocabulary and not on technique for the other two.
      All the best

  50. Hey Liz,

    Many thanks for putting so much effort on giving us so many details regarding IELTS tips here, which are very useful.

    I think my problem is that I even have no idea where my problems are for not being able to get 7 on each band. So I am writing to ask how would I know if my failure of getting 7 is because of my English Level or because of my insufficient exam skills. But I guess it is coz of my low English level.

    Where I can post you an essay that you can judge my English ability please?

    Kind regards,


    • Unfortunately, I don’t offer essay marking. Probably the best way to judge is to buy one of my online lessons for writing and see if you are using the right techniques. If you are, then your English language is at fault. But probably there are issues with your technique. However, this method of assessment is only useful for writing.

    • hello dear,
      thank u so much for the effort u put into the lessons, and i found very useful and help me so much in different way , almost in everything writting,reading,listening and speaking.
      you are absolutely fantastic.


  51. Sharnjeet Singh Jaura says

    I got 6 answers right, just one was wrong ( paragraph C ). Actually, I did not get the meaning of ” trade” properly. Is not the meaning of trade is ” sale and purchase” of something?, and they were talking about the types and the nearest different same family species of those animals. Please explain it. I will be really thankful to you.

    • Your aim is to match the full meaning and aim of the whole paragraph. Don’t match just one sentence.

      • Although I did all correct, I am still very much worried about reading examination. Liz, please give me some more guidance and advice.

  52. mirza ehteshamulla baig says

    Dear Mam,

    Please send me more matching headings


    • All my materials are on this blog. I don’t have extra. You will need to buy IELTS books online for more practice.

  53. davleshni says

    Hi Liz,
    I have taken islets exam twice but my reading stays at 5.5 and I need 6.5. I got S-7.5 W 6.5 L-7 R6… any suggestions.thanks

    • Starting making lists of paraphrases for every question you practice. Start also making a list of collocations – that will help. Write down your techniques for each type of question and practice them. Practice identifying key words in questions. Don’t try to understand all the passage, you’re just looking for answers.

  54. Hi Liz,
    I want to thank you for the great help you are offering to us, I am so glad that I ran into your website as I am studying so hard with the information you post here and all your video lessons.
    I have 50 days left before I take my IELTS exam for the second time, my first results are 6.0, 6.0,6.5, 6.5 and I need to get band 7 or above in all sections. Do you think that is possible referring to my first scores?
    thank you for your time,
    best wishes,

    • It’s hard to say. This is what you need to consider. How good is your English language. You will need to aim at producing accurate language in writing and a good range of grammar and language skills in speaking. For reading and listening, you need better understanding of paraphrasing. However, you also need to review your exam skills to make sure you are giving the examiner what is needed for the score you want. Spend time reviewing the band score descriptors. Yes, it’s possible to go up by 0.5. Going up by a whole band score is also possible but more difficult. Be systematic in your training and with almost 2 months, you might do well.
      All the best

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