IELTS Reading Resolutions: Matching sentence endings – How to make it right?

From my perspective, matching is always the most challenging question type and it takes considerable time to complete. In matching sentence endings questions, you will get a series of incomplete sentences and what you should do is matching them their correct endings using information from the text. Normally, there will be 5 or 6 sentences and 8 to 10 different endings. In this blog, I will show you the features of this question type and strategy to tackle it. Besides, I will also give you an illustrative example for clearer understanding.

Features of matching sentence endings questions

Before giving you the approach to solving these questions, I will show you 5 characteristics of them that you should bear in mind.

  • This question type is designed to test your understanding of the main idea in a text
  • The questions are shown following the order of the text.
  • The questions may test part of the whole text, not all of it
  • The sentence endings look grammatically similar
  • You will not use all of the endings

Effective solution for Matching sentence endings questions

Similar to matching heading questions, this type of question also tests your understanding of the main idea, so you should basically use the keyword technique. Moreover, you should remember to focus on the sentence beginnings, not the sentence endings. This is because not all the endings appear in the text and you will waste time if you concentrate on them. Hence, take sentence beginnings as the heart of these questions and start solving questions with them.

Prerequisite before solving:

  • Passage skimming and keywords underlining
  • Question skimming and keywords underlining

Now I will show you the strategy to defeat this kind of questions. I call this strategy within 3 simple words: “Finding – Matching – Checking” which stand for 3 steps in this approach.

Step 1: Finding the correct section of the text

The first thing you have to do is locating information. In the other words, you must determine which paragraph of the text and which part of the paragraph contains relevant information. To find the correct part of the text that the questions related to, you should use the keywords in the questions (sentence beginnings) and scan them in the text (reading passage). Focusing on proper names and dates is often a good approach

Step 2: Matching keywords and find the answer

Now, after finding the correct part, you should continue scanning to match the keywords in the text with the ones in the sentences endings. The answer will normally be found by looking for words in the text that have the same meaning (synonyms) as one of the sentence endings, rather than using exactly the same words.

Before moving to the last step, I would like to summarize the flow of keywords by a graphic.


Figure explanation:

We start with the keywords determined in sentence beginnings. I call them main keywords because they will help us find the part with relevant information by scanning them in the text. After finding the correct part, we continue by matching the supporting keywords (words that provide us with key details) in the text with ones in sentence endings. By doing this, we could find the correct endings for the sentence beginnings.

Step 3: Checking back with sentence beginnings

Once you found the endings, what you should do next is checking whether your choice is correct. To do this, you should join the sentence beginnings and endings together to form a complete sentence. After that you, let’s do a mental checklist with the following items.

  • Meaning: You should check whether the meaning of your complete sentence matches what you find in the text. If not, you may fall into word trap of examiner.
  • Grammar: Make sure that the sentence you make is grammatically accurate. It is a mistake if you simply try to match words only.
  • Check every ending with every beginning: Examiners will attempt to trap you by leaving some endings that seem correct.So, be careful and remember to look at every ending for each question. I know this will take a little more time, but it will help you avoid mistakes.

Now, I will give you an example.

Illustrative example

  • Questions

Complete each sentence with the correct letter A-H

1. The tourism industry in the UK suffered financially

2. There was a ban on burials of animals in quicklime

A. because footpaths were closed due to the foot and mouth outbreak.

B. because it also affected animals that were not affected by the disease.

C. because a similar program had worked well in The Netherlands.

D. because of the adoption of European legislation in the UK.

E. because many abattoirs were closed

  • Reading passage

The foot and mouth crisis

Screen Shot 2017-05-05 at 3.19.10 PM.pngFirst, after skimming the topic heading, I will exclude all of these words out of my keyword list.

Secondly, I do question skimming and underline keywords

  • Main keywords:

Q1: tourism, suffered, financially

Q2: ban, burials, quicklime

After that, I will skim through the passage and highlight keywords

  • Paragraph(I):

Main keywords: effect, tourism, cost, £8 billion

Supporting keywords: due to, closure, way accross land, prevent, spread.

  • Paragraph(II):

Main keywords: prohibited, burials, quicklime

Supporting keywords: European Union legislation, in effect

Now, I will do finding using the main keyword of questions (sentence beginnings) and reading passage. I found the word “tourism” in paragraph (I) and “cost”, “£8billion”  may be equivalent to “suffered financially”. So I find the part with relevant information is “There was also a profound effect on tourism industry due to the closure of public rights of way across land so as to prevent the spread the disease. Estimates vary as to the overall cost of the crisis to the UK economy, but it is thought that the final figure was in the region of £8 billion”. 

Next, I will use supporting keywords in paragraph (I) to scan in sentence endings and I find only (A) have some synonym matches: due to = because, closure ~ closed, rights of way accross land ~ footpaths, outbreak ~ spread

Finally, I will check back with sentence beginnings. The complete sentence is “The tourism industry in the UK suffered financially because footpaths were closed due to the foot and mouth outbreak.“. I compare this with the sentence in the text “There was also a profound effect on tourism industry due to the closure of public rights of way across land so as to prevent the spread the disease.”.Do you think it makes sense? Yes, the meaning is the same since they all talk about the negative effect on tourism caused by the methods to prevent the spread of the disease.I also check grammar and found no error and no other endings.

Now, let’s do question 2 by yourselves following my strategy. I hope you could find the correct answer 🙂

What we have learned so far?

In today post, I have shown you:

  • 5 characteristics of matching sentence endings questions
  • “Finding-Matching-Checking” strategy with 3 prerequisites. Finding means you use main keywords in questions (sentence beginning) to find the correct part of the text. After that, you use supporting keywords in text and match them with ones in sentence endings. Remember that the words you find may not be exactly the same. Actually, they are synonyms. Finally, remember to check your choice with the mental checklist of meaning, grammar, and make sure all endings are looked at.

Thank you for reading my blog


For your information, the answer for the question 2 is D.



You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *