In this type of question, you are asked to match someone’s name, normally an expert, researcher or scientist, to a statement.
You are given a list of names and a list of statements. Your job is to read the text and then match the names with the correct statement. The reading text will tell you what that person has said or done (normally research findings) and this will guide you to the correct answer.
This post will:
- look at an example question
- discuss common problems
- give you tips and advice
- provide you with a strategy to use on exam day
As you can see below you will be given a number of statements and a number of names. You must use the reading text to match each statement with the correct name. You will often be given more names than required.
Source: Cambridge English IELTS Past Papers.
Some names will appear only once in the text and some will appear several times. The names that occur several times will be harder to match than the names that appear only once because you will have to look at several different parts of the text. Some students focus on the hardest questions first. This is a problem for two reasons. First, you waste time looking at most of the text and second, you are more likely to get the easier questions correct so they deserve more of your attention.
Some of the difficult questions are there to separate band 8 from band 9 students. The vast majority of people will not get a band 9 and you should not waste too much time on these very difficult questions. If you were picking apples, would you pick the ones you can easily reach from the ground or take time to climb up the tree and pick the ones at the top?
A common mistake is to read the whole text and try to find the names that way. You won’t have time to do this and it is much better to find the names quickly by scanning for them.
Some students see the name, read that part of the reading text very quickly and then match the name with the statement. When you find the name in the text you should spend time reading it in more detail to really understand what it means before answering the question.
The most common error is trying to find words in the text that match exactly with words in the statement. Instead, it is more likely that you will find synonyms (words with the same or very similar meanings).
- Focus on the easy questions first. If you can’t find the answer to a question, move on and come back to it later.
- Find the names in the text quickly by scanning for them and then underline them.
- The names might be shortened to just a first or last name. For example, ‘John Jones’ might appear as only ‘Jones’ in the text.
- Think of synonyms that might appear in the reading text. For example, the phrase ‘intense burst of energy‘ could look like ‘explosive release of energy‘ in the text.
- Some of the names might be used more than once. Check the question for instructions on this.
- The questions do not follow the order of the text. You might have to go backwards and forwards to find the correct answer. This is a very unnatural way to read and requires you to use your scanning skills.
- If you like to categorise things by colour, use different coloured pens to underline the different names.
This is my suggested strategy. There are many different strategies and you should use the one you feel comfortable with. You can also adapt this strategy to what suits you.
- Read the question carefully.
- Focus on the names first. Read them and then scan for the names in the reading text and underline them. Remember that some names will appear more than once and you should underline them all.
- Focus on the names that appear only once first because these are the easiest.
- Read around the name to see if their findings or research come before or after their name.
- Read their research or findings and then go back to the statements in the question and match. Be aware of synonyms.
- When you find a statement that matches a name, delete the statement. Each statement can only be used once.
- Repeat for the rest of the names.