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PTE reading: strategies for answering matching headings questions

Matching headings questions are a common type of task in the PTE Reading section. These questions assess your ability to identify the main idea and purpose of different paragraphs or sections within a given text. Successfully answering matching headings questions requires not only careful reading but also effective strategies to match the headings with the appropriate paragraphs. In this blog post, we will explore valuable strategies that will help you tackle matching headings questions with confidence and accuracy in the PTE Reading section.

Understand the Passage Structure:

Before attempting to match headings, it is crucial to understand the overall structure of the passage. Skim through the text and get a sense of its main ideas, arguments, and supporting details. Pay attention to any section headings or subheadings that provide a clue to the content within each paragraph.

Read the Headings Carefully:

Thoroughly read the given headings and understand their meaning and context. Identify keywords or phrases that represent the main idea or purpose of each heading. Make mental connections between the headings and your understanding of the passage structure.

Scan for Keywords:

As you read each paragraph, scan for keywords or phrases that relate to the headings. Look for words or phrases that are similar or have a close relationship with the wording of the headings. These keywords act as signposts, guiding you to the appropriate paragraph that matches the heading.

Pay Attention to Signal Words:

Signal words or phrases such as "however," "in contrast," "on the other hand," or "similarly" can indicate a shift in ideas or a connection between paragraphs. Pay close attention to these signal words as they can help you identify the correct heading for a particular paragraph.

Eliminate Options:

If you are unsure about a particular heading, try eliminating the options that clearly do not match the content of the paragraph. This process of elimination can help narrow down your choices and increase the likelihood of selecting the correct heading.

Look for the Main Idea:

The main idea of a paragraph often provides a clue to the matching heading. Consider the central theme or argument presented in the paragraph and compare it to the given headings. Look for the heading that encapsulates the main idea or purpose of that paragraph.

Review and Double-Check:

Once you have matched a heading to a paragraph, review your choices and double-check your answers before moving on to the next question. Ensure that your selected headings align with the content and flow of the passage. This step helps minimize errors and improves the overall accuracy of your responses.


Matching headings questions in the PTE Reading section can be challenging, but with the right strategies, you can approach them with confidence. By understanding the passage structure, reading the headings carefully, scanning for keywords, and paying attention to signal words, you can effectively match the headings with the appropriate paragraphs. Additionally, the process of elimination, focusing on the main idea of each paragraph, and reviewing your answers will further enhance your accuracy. Regular practice with sample passages and questions will strengthen your skills and help you achieve success in the matching headings task of the PTE Reading section. With consistent effort and strategic approach, you can improve your performance and maximize your score in this question type.