Entering and being successful in an IELTS exam is a real effort. No matter how good you’re at English, you need to know some ways of giving questions and answers in the test. In all the reading parts, IELTS Matching Sentence Endings Questions is not quite familiar with the examinees. This is because they are rarely presented in these parts.

However, don’t let yourself be unprepared when they suddenly show up. This article will give you some basic knowledge of what IELTS Matching Sentence Endings are. Let’s dive right in!

What is a IELTS Matching Sentence Endings questions?

When practicing for the IELTS test, you may face a lot of types of questions. IELTS Matching Sentence Endings Questions has never been one of the most common questions. However, you need to know how to deal with it properly.

The IELTS examiners want to test your comprehension of the way ideas are transferred in given sentences, how they are related to the reading text. Therefore, they give you this IELTS reading question type.

There will be a list of sentences which are missing their endings. You’re required to match each of them with a possible ending given in another list. This is to build up full and correct sentences according to the reading text.

Look at an example from Cambridge English for IELTS Matching Sentence Endings here to have an overview of how this type of question is:

ielts matching sentence endings
(Source: Cambridge IELTS General Training Reading Task Type 7 and Type 8 – Example 2 – Matching Sentence Endings)

Of course, there’ll be more options for endings than you expect. Two or three “it also sounds good” endings are added to get you confused. You know the IELTS reading part is not that simple, don’t you? And sadly, you’ll have to deal with them anyway. But don’t you worry, you can definitely get it all done with the most useful steps and tips right below.

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How to deal with IELTS Matching Sentence Endings questions

I believe we all have our own ways of finding solutions. You may have a process set for doing the IELTS Matching Sentence Endings which makes you feel comfortable. However, just consider the steps of approaching I suggest here. They’ve been doing me a real favor.

1 Read  the instruction and the given sentence beginnings carefully

Why do you have to concentrate on the beginning halves but not the ending ones? The explanation is simple enough. It may be a waste of time to make an effort to understand all the endings. The reason is: they don’t always appear in the text. Getting to know the main ideas and highlighting keywords in the sentence beginnings are way more helpful.

2 Choose a suitable section of text.

It’s time for you to search for the part that the questions may relate to. If you know about scanning technique, then it’s time to apply it. Pick out some keywords from the questions. Now, scan through the text for more information related to your keywords.

ielts matching sentence endings
Use your scanning skill to speed up. (Image by PublicDomainPictures via Pixabay)

Also, remember that the answers may be arranged respectively. This means when you’ve located the related paragraph for the former question, the answers for the latter ones can be placed right after that.

3 Eliminate the endings that are most likely to not match by checking grammar

Distributing an equal amount of time for every matching is totally not a good approach. The first question tends to be the hardest as you’re having too many options to consider. The wiser approach is eliminating some of them. And correct grammar is the clue.

Check if the sentence beginnings and the endings you’re about to match are grammatically accurate. However, even when they’re perfectly and grammatically correct, you may still get it wrong. Being successful in the IELTS Matching Sentence Endings Questions is the combination of both grammar and meaning. And “meaning” is what we’re about to discuss in the next steps.

One more thing you need to remember is that the process will get easier and easier every time you’ve finished matching a new sentence. It may be simple but it does not mean that you’re on the right track. This means you have to stay calm and don’t lose control.

ielts matching sentence endings
Always stay calm! (Image by Free-Photos via Pixabay)

4 Pick out keywords in possible endings

When you’ve narrowed down all the endings to just a few left, you’re safe to find the right answer. Carefully scan these endings to pick out keywords and use them to get more precious information. This is the preparing step to find the right meaning when matching.

5 Search for valuable information near suitable sections

See if you can find anything in the suitable section from step 1 that is related to the keywords in possible endings. Ask yourself: Is there a word that can make this ending useless? Is there a phrase that can make total sense for this ending?   

It’s quite rare for the answers to show up in exactly the same words or phrases in the given sentences. A good way to approach is keeping in mind you’re searching for the synonyms or paraphrases. This may be tricky, but it’s a challenge you’ll surely have to face.

6 It’s time to connect sentence parts

It’s easy to be overwhelmed by finding words that match. And it’s also easy to instantly match a word to a given sentence ending. Nothing comes without making an effort in the IELTS test. Try to ask yourself questions like: What meaning will you get if matching this word with the sentence beginning? Compare that meaning with what you’ve found earlier. Do they fit together? Is there any difference between your first target and the final result?

You’re so released that the beginnings have been matched with their endings. But wait… Take a couple of minutes to read all the unmatched sentence endings. We all know that the examiners might mislead you. Be careful and spend a little more time on checking.

ielts matching sentence endings
Are there any other options to consider? (Image by qimono via Pixabay)

Check out my recommended step in a real text at the end of this article.

Tips on dealing with IELTS Matching Sentence Endings questions

These tips below are of the most popular and must-use ones you don’t want to miss.

  1. It’s good to make a guess. You practice predicting the way a sentence should end. Try to imagine what ending will be the best to go with a specific beginning. It doesn’t take much time and is quite a pleasure to do.
  2. As I said, there’re always more endings than you need. One or two of them are there just to make you confused. It’s wiser to start your IELTS Matching Sentence Endings Questions with the beginnings of unfinished sentences.
  3. The order of the answers in the reading text is the same as it is in the questions. By making sure you’ve done a matching right, you’ll know where to start next. This is something to keep in mind in order not to waste too many minutes on unnecessary parts of the text.
  4. Get the ideas of the sentences and think of paraphrases and synonyms along the process.
  5. You have the habit of highlighting keywords, which is good, but you sometimes forget that names, places and dates need to be marked too. There are chances you have to take one more look at them for detailed information.

    ielts matching sentence endings
    Highlight keywords for reviewing. (Image by Pexels via Pixabay)
  6. The first question requires more time than the rest. It always appears to be the most challenging question to answer as there are lots of other options. Concentrate and don’t worry. You’ll steadily get more familiar with what’s going on and quickly find the answer with fewer endings to pick.
  7. Remember you’re matching words and finding meanings. Doing either one of them can lead to mistakes.

You must agree with at least one of the above tips. It’s the best that you adapt to what you think will work.

Necessary skills to deal with IELTS Matching Sentence Endings questions

You can get a better result in the IELTS test without completely understand all the given text. Applying the following skills while you’re in the exam is a good and simple way to succeed.

1 Skimming

Skimming gives you more time to consider all the possible answers. You can get to know more about skimming here. We know that reading the whole message won’t do much help, so don’t waste our time doing so. Skimming will help you speed up your reading process without making much effort. The main ideas usually lie in the first and the last sentence. Concentrate on them. Leave out all the useless information while skimming.

2 Scanning

Skimming and scanning should always come together to bring more benefits. You can read more about scanning skills here. Scanning while reading is quite obvious, especially in the IELTS reading test. You must have keywords, dates, places or names in mind before starting to scan for synonyms or paraphrases. When considering the sentence endings, you can search for them in the text by locating a suitable replacement. Practicing scanning saves you a lot of time but gives equal or even better outcomes, comparing to reading-every-word style.

3 Time management

You need to spend much time on the first question of the IELTS Matching Endings Questions part. However, don’t stay there for too long just to find the correct match. Distribute a reasonable time to other questions, too. There may be easier questions you can solve, which will help to limit the options to choose from. Remember that a high score in the IELTS test doesn’t mostly come from difficult questions.

4 Finding synonyms and paraphrases

Prepare a good vocabulary to deal with the IELTS test. You can’t gain a better score if you only translate words to words. It’s all about the meaning. And to demonstrate your understanding of the passage, you also need to have good knowledge of finding synonyms and paraphrases. A synonym is a word having the same meanings as another word. A paraphrase helps to simplify and clarify the meaning of an original word. Be ready to encounter a lot of words and phrases that show up in a much more different form.

A good base of vocabulary can guarantee you a more satisfying result in this part. Using eJOY Extension can provide you pronunciation, Vietnamese translation and English definition with a double-click on any new word. Check this link out for more information of eJOY Extension.

ielts matching sentence endings
Searching for words meaning with eJOY eXtension

Learning new words effectively with eJOY Extension

5 Guessing unfamiliar words

You can’t bring along your dictionary into the examination room. Even if you have a great range of vocabulary, you can still get confused by words you’ve never had chances to know. This is the purpose of the examiners to make sure that you deserve a high score in the IELTS test. Start to practice guessing meanings whenever you can as you will have to lean on this skill sooner or later.

Common mistakes while dealing with Matching Sentence Endings questions and solutions

1 Matching without reading

Some sentence endings may sound really good when you put them together with the beginnings. Still, don’t just skip reading the text and match them only by thinking of how logically and grammatically perfect they are. You don’t want to gain much more time but lose many more scores, right? This is the IELTS reading part so you have to read and understand the text. You can always speed up your reading with skimming and scanning skills, don’t worry.

2 Matching everything you see in the text

A given ending you find in the text doesn’t guarantee it’s a good choice. The examiners can be doing a trick here by also putting connecting information in the text that suits some incorrect endings. Make a little more effort to read again and look for the surrounding content. You’ll be surprised that some of them are there only to present the totally opposite meanings.

3 Matching only words that are the same  

Synonyms and paraphrases are among the most common ways the examiners use to test your understanding. Scanning for the exact words in the question can be an useless act. If something can be presented in more than one way, there is no reason why the examiners don’t keep it unchanged for you.

ielts matching sentence endings
Keep looking for synonyms and paraphrases. (Image by 127071 via Pixabay)

Important notes

Below are some important things that you need to remember to prepare for the IELTS Matching Sentence Endings part.

  • Read the question carefully
  • Spend more time on the first match
  • The answers in the text follow the order of the questions.
  • Reading the whole text is unnecessary. Use scanning and skimming.
  • The sentence endings will always be grammatically right.
  • Your answers are only correct when they make senses and are grammatically accurate.
  • Highlight keywords. Don’t forget names, places and dates.
  • Before looking for the endings, try to predict what they might be.
  • Find a suitable part of the test to study for each sentence beginning.
  • Think of synonyms and paraphrases.

Examples of Matching Sentence Endings questions and answers

This is an example for IELTS Matching Sentence Endings questions from Cambridge English and my suggested steps for your reference.

Questions 8 – 10

Complete each sentence with the correct ending A-J from the box below.

Write the correct letter A-J in boxes 8-10 on your answer sheet.

NB You may use any letter more than once.

8 Passive smoking

9 Compared with a non-smoker, a smoker

10 The American Medical Association


A – includes reviews of studies in its reports.

B – argues for stronger action against smoking in public places.

C – is one of the two most preventable causes of death.

D – is more likely to be at risk from passive smoking diseases.

E – is more harmful to non-smokers than to smokers.

F – is less likely to be at risk of contracting lung cancer.

G – is more likely to be at risk of contracting various cancers.

H – opposes smoking and publishes research on the subject.

I – is just as harmful to smokers as it is to non-smokers.

J – reduces the quantity of blood flowing around the body

The Risks of Cigarette Smoke

Discovered in the early 1800s and named ‘nicotianine’, the oily essence now called nicotine is the main active ingredient of tobacco. Nicotine, however, is only a small component of cigarette smoke, which contains more than 4,700 chemical compounds, including 43 cancer-causing substances. In recent times, scientific research has been providing evidence that years of cigarette smoking vastly increases the risk of developing fatal medical conditions.

In addition to being responsible for more than 85 per cent of lung cancers, smoking is associated with cancers of, amongst others, the mouth, stomach and kidneys, and is thought to cause about 14 per cent of leukaemia and cervical cancers. In 1990, smoking caused more than 84,000 deaths, mainly resulting from such problems as pneumonia, bronchitis and influenza. Smoking, it is believed, is responsible for 30 per cent of all deaths from cancer and clearly represents the most important preventable cause of cancer in countries like the United States today.

Passive smoking, the breathing in of the side-stream smoke from the burning of tobacco between puffs or of the smoke exhaled by a smoker, also causes a serious health risk. A report published in 1992 by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) emphasized the health dangers, especially from sidestream smoke. This type of smoke contains more smaller particles and is therefore more likely to be deposited deep in the lungs. On the basis of this report, the EPA has classified environmental tobacco smoke in the highest risk category for causing cancer.

As an illustration of the health risks, in the case of a married couple where one partner is a smoker and one a non-smoker, the latter is believed to have a 30 per cent higher risk of death from heart disease because of passive smoking. The risk of lung cancer also increases over the years of exposure and the figure jumps to 80 per cent if the spouse has been smoking four packs a day for 20 years. It has been calculated that 17 per cent of cases of lung cancer can be attributed to high levels of exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke during childhood and adolescence.

A more recent study by researchers at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) has shown that second-hand cigarette smoke does more harm to non-smokers than to smokers. Leaving aside the philosophical question of whether anyone should have to breathe someone else’s cigarette smoke, the report suggests that the smoke experienced by many people in their daily lives is enough to produce substantial adverse effects on a person’s heart and lungs.

The report, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (AMA), was based on the researchers’ own earlier research but also includes a review of studies over the past few years. The American Medical Association represents about half of all US doctors and is a strong opponent of smoking. (Aderall) The study suggests that people who smoke cigarettes are continually damaging their cardiovascular system, which adapts in order to compensate for the effects of smoking. It further states that people who do not smoke do not have the benefit of their system adapting to the smoke inhalation. Consequently, the effects of passive smoking are far greater on non-smokers than on smokers.

This report emphasizes that cancer is not caused by a single element in cigarette smoke; harmful effects to health are caused by many components. Carbon monoxide, for example, competes with oxygen in red blood cells and interferes with the blood’s ability to deliver life-giving oxygen to the heart. Nicotine and other toxins in cigarette smoke activate small blood cells called platelets, which increases the likelihood of blood clots, thereby affecting blood circulation throughout the body.

The researchers criticize the practice of some scientific consultants who work with the tobacco industry for assuming that cigarette smoke has the same impact on smokers as it does on non-smokers. They argue that those scientists are underestimating the damage done by passive smoking and, in support of their recent findings, cite some previous research which points to passive smoking as the cause for between 30,000 and 60,000 deaths from heart attacks each year in the United States. This means that passive smoking is the third most preventable cause of death after active smoking and alcohol-related diseases.

The study argues that the type of action needed against passive smoking should be similar to that being taken against illegal drugs and AIDS (SIDA). The UCSF researchers maintain that the simplest and most cost-effective action is to establish smoke-free workplaces, schools and public places.

Suggested steps: I will take question 8 to demonstrate the steps.

Read  the given sentence beginnings carefully: You’ll look for “passive smoking” or its possible replacements in the passage.

Choose the suitable sections of text: After scanning, you can see that passive smoking appears 7 times. We may have to read the surrounding text of every “passive smoking” also.

Eliminate the endings that are most likely to not match by checking grammar: You also need to go through the sentence endings. Ending E, ending I and ending J seem to make perfect sense with question 8 in both grammar and meaning. Keyword “passive smoking” is singular. It can be the subject for the 3 endings (starting with “is”) and these endings are talking about the harmfulness of “passive smoking

Pick out keywords in possible endings: Now, re-study the passage for keywords from the endings (“smokers”, “non-smokers” and “blood”) near the 7 sections we’ve found.

Search for valuable information near suitable sections.

It’s time to think of synonyms and paraphrases. In paragraph 6, we have “Consequently, the effects of passive smoking are far greater on non-smokers than on smokers”. We don’t encounter synonyms here, but it’s a paraphrase: effects of … are far greater = more harmful to.

In paragraph 7, keyword “blood” doesn’t appear at all. Ending J should be the harmful effect of both passive smoking and active smoking.

It’s time to connect sentence parts: Because ending E and ending I are quite contrasting. With information from paragraph 6, we know that the harmfulness of passive smoking and active smoking is not equal. We can easily pick ending E to complete the sentence.

Now, it’s your turn to find sentence endings for question 9 and 10. Don’t look at the answers before finishing the test.

8: E- Paragraph 6

9: G- Paragraph 2

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