The matching test item format provides a way for learners to connect a word, sentence or phrase in one column to a corresponding word, sentence or phrase in a second column. This task type assesses the skill of listening for detail. It often assesses the ability to follow a conversation involving interaction between two people. In other words, who said what?

Pre-Listening Tips
1. Read the instructions carefully.
2. Skim the questions and the answer choices, there should be plenty of time to do this as there is not too much to read.
3. Underline the key words if appropriate. If there are only brief lists you may not do this and instead spend more time on the next step.
4. Start to predict answers by looking for grammatical clues to help match questions. For example, singular must match singular and plural must match plural; also verb tenses must match.

During Listening Tips
1. Listen carefully at the start of the recording because it will give you the context of the recording. The talk will then proceed in a logical way from this starting point.
2. Listen for the key words you have identified in the pre-listening stage and stay alert for synonyms of the words you are expecting.
3. Homonyms, or words that sound similar, are often used for this question type such as “quotient” and “quotation” and only one of these words will lead to the correct answer.
4. If you miss an answer or were not sure, then take a guess…you might answer correctly!
5. Skip missed answers and move on. Looking at your keywords and listening for signpost words will help you do this. Do not stay frozen on one question because the answers come in sequential order. If you get out of sequence you may miss many answers and so you may have to “sacrifice” one question at times
6. You may hear the speaker talking about all of the different options you have to choose from. This means that you might hear something mentioned that seems to relate to one of the options mentioned but it might not be You must select the correct answer, not the first one you hear. You can often hear pronouns such as – it, this, they – to link back to words that have already been said. Try to keep track of what these pronouns are referring back to in order to answer questions more effectively.

Culture Shock
Exercise – 4
In Part 4 of the listening test you will often hear a university lecturer talking to a group of students.
Read the questions below and then play the MP3 and answer the questions.
Write the appropriate letters A–H at the end of sentences 1–5. Use each letter once only.

A Culture shock   1  Dr. Oberg used this expression first. _____.
B Culture vulture   2  Another expression used by other researchers was _____.
C Culture snappy   3  In a new culture one could experience _____.
D Culture fatigue   4  To begin with people are _____.
E obsession   5  Food from home could become a/an _____.
F excited   6  Some people become        H            (EXAMPLE)
G Highs and lows
H opinionated

 Listen to the MP3

1.A 2. D 3. G  4. F  5. E  6. H

For even more help see my IELTS listening ebook: