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IELTS Academic Reading: Matching paragraph information Jasvir Sohi16 August, 2021 Share on Instagram @jasvirielts

In the IELTS Academic Reading test, there are a variety of different tasks you will have to answer. Some of these tasks will involve matching information:

  • matching headings

  • matching sentence endings

  • matching people with opinions

  • matching information to paragraphs

In this reading blog, we’ll be looking at the last point – matching information to paragraphs. A text in the Reading test is often six or seven paragraphs long, but for this blog, we’re going to have a look at just three. Key information


(Click image to enlarge) Let’s take a look at four potential pieces of information. These options come from a text we’ll look at later – but let’s see what to look for in the task:

  1. a reason why the device is portable

  2. examples of a natural liquid sources the device can use

  3. a criticism of a national process

  4. an explanation of how to detach particles in the device

The words highlighted in blue tell you the type of information you need to look for. Other information types you might come across include:

  • a contrast/comparison between

  • a warning about

  • a challenge to

  • a suggestion

  • a reference

These clues will also help you to look for the type of vocabulary and grammar you should be scanning for. Here are some ideas:

  • examples of – for instance, such as, for example

  • a suggestion – modals, it’s about time

  • a contrast/comparison between – compared to, comparatives

  • a reason why – because, thanks to

The words highlighted in green are the key words. It is unlikely to find the exact words in the text, so you should look for similar words or how they might be paraphrased. Remember, a paraphrase is another way of saying the same thing. Here are the first three paragraphs from The Desolenator: producing clean water, which can be found in IELTS Academic 15.


(Click image to enlarge) Let’s look at question 1. 1. a reason why the device is portable Scanning the text, the word portable can be found in paragraph A – a portable device that uses power from the sun to purify water. This tells us that the device is portable, or is able to be moved, but it doesn’t tell us why it can be moved. Let’s move on. In paragraph B, the phrase mobile desalination unit is a paraphrase of a portable device – but does it say why it is portable? No, let’s move on. In paragraph C, easy to transport is another paraphrase of portable . Does it tell us why it is easy to transport? Yes – the sentence continues with thanks to its two wheels. In this sentence, thanks to is a paraphrase of because, which tells us the why. This means that the answer to question 1 is C. Now let’s do the same with question 2. 2. examples of natural liquid sources the device can use Are there examples of natural liquid sources in paragraph A? a portable device that uses the power from the sun to purify water. Now, the sun is a natural source and so is water – both used by the device, but the sun is not liquid, which means that this paragraph does not contain the information in the question. Let’s move on. The first line of paragraph B says take water from different places, such as the sea, rivers, boreholes and rain. The sea, rivers, boreholes and rain are all examples of places filled with natural liquid sources that the device can use. This means that the answer to question 2 is B. Now have a go at questions 3 and 4 – remember, the answers may come from a paragraph we have already got as an answer. 3. a criticism of a national process 4. an explanation of how to detach particles in the device For more practice, have a look at the worksheet below. Download worksheet I hope you have found this blog useful – let me know how you get on! Jasvir (Click image to enlarge)

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