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IELTS Reading: Name Matching Questions

Updated: May 3

Skills needed


Name matching questions test your ability to:

  • Scan the text for names

  • Recognise synonyms & paraphrasing

  • Use context to guess the meaning


They also require you to recognise at least one of the following:

  • an expression of opinion

  • a theory

  • research findings



The task

For name matching questions, you have to match a list of people’s names to a list of statements using the information in the text to make the correct matches.

The names will normally be of:

  • researchers

  • experts

  • scientists

The statements will normally be:

  • research findings

  • theories

  • years

  • places


Key tips

  • The statements will not appear in the same order in the text as they are listed in the instructions. Neither will the names appear in the same order that they are listed.

  • The statements will usually paraphrase information in the text.

  • Some of the names might be shortened in the text to an initial and surname, or just the first name or last name might be used. For example, ‘Gregor Borek’ may be shortened to ‘G. Borek’, ‘Gregor’ or ‘Borek’.

  • It can be helpful to have different coloured pens to underline the different names in the text.

  • Don’t spend too long on any one statement. If you get stuck, move on to the next one. Come back to it when you’ve eliminated other statements and there are thus fewer to choose from.

  • In some test papers, there will be more statements than there are names and you will be told in the instructions that you can use a letter (i.e. a name) more than once. This is the case in the following instructions from a real test paper.


Strategy

Follow this strategy for answering name matching questions in your IELTS Reading test.

1) Carefully read the statements and try to understand what they mean. Don’t spend too long on this but get the general meaning if you can.

2) Scan the text for the names and underline them. Do this before reading the text. You'll find them extra quickly by focusing on the capital letter at the start of the name.

Some names will appear more than once. Using a different coloured pen for each name can be helpful. Ignore any names, not in the list of answers.

3) The easiest names to match to a statement will be those that appear only once in the text. Do these first. This will also quickly eliminate the matching statements from further consideration thus narrowing the options for the rest of the names.

4) The opinion, research findings or theory of the person may be stated either before or after their name appears so read the section of text around the name to locate it.

5) Carefully read the details of their opinion, research findings or theory. As you do so, think of likely synonyms that might be used in the matching statement.

6) Go to the list of statements and look for a match. When you are sure you have the correct match, fill in your answer and cross through the statement.

7) Repeat this process with the rest of the names.

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