Top Tips for IELTS

Matching headings and paragraphs skills practice – acupuncture

This is the next in my series of practice exercises for IELTS  reading. The focus on this lesson is on the skills you need to answer the paragraph/headings matching type of question. One of the best ways to develop these skills is to begin by focussing on shorter texts so that you can see how the questions work, then when you are confident of your skills more on to longer texts. Here you will find a one paragraph exercise to do online and a longer text to download.

Key skills

Avoid the trap

The most common trap here is the examiners try and catch people who try and match key words in the question with words in the paragraphs. The way to avoid this is:

  • read the whole paragraph
  • don’t just focus on key words

Look for the main point of each paragraph

Look at the first few sentences of the paragraph to try and find a “topic sentence” that sums up the main idea of the para. You can only do this if you read the WHOLE paragraph.

Focus on the whole heading – do NOT use key words

You need to understand the meaning of the heading in the question as a sentence: it is unlikely that the words in the question exactly match the words in the paragraph. If you focus on key words you will make many mistakes by word matching and falling into the examiner traps.

Start with the paragraphs, not the headings

Remember that some of the headings are only there to confuse you. Do not try and match a heading to a paragraph, as there may be no matching paragraph. Rather start with the paragraphs and try to find the matching heading.

Understand how the text is organised

If you understand how the text is organised by skimming it first for general meaning, this will help you in predicting which paragraphs match which headings

Don’t guess, be specific

Even though you are looking for general meaning, there should always be something in the paragraph – normally a sentence – that gives you the answer.

Practice exercise – one paragraph


It remains to be established whether acupuncture is effective for anything other than the relief of some pains and the feeling of nausea. In the case of nausea, a number of studies have demonstrated that the technique of acupuncture – the stimulation of one particular point – is equally effective as more conventional treatments, such as antiemetic drugs. There is less agreement about its effectiveness for pain relief. Whatever evidence there is points only a very small and temporary effect for a restricted number of types of pain, and even this is disputed by a large body of physicians who maintain that this is simply due to a placebo effect where the patient’s belief in acupuncture leads them to believe that the treatment has worked. The general consensus can best be summed up by looking at a paper published in 2011 that reviewed all the latest literature and review articles on acupuncture. Its conclusion was that it was of value in the treatment of neck pain, but was of dubious effectiveness for other types of pain. More than that, it was noted that while acupuncture is safe when administered by trained professionals using sterile needles, it could be dangerous when performed by untrained practitioners and even lead to death.

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7 Responses to Matching headings and paragraphs skills practice – acupuncture

  1. Marvi September 17, 2011 at 1:51 pm #

    I’ll be very thankful if evaluate my writing. I used your techniques while writing this.My target is to get 8 each . If u will assist me and let me know my position.
    I’ll be really thankful to you.

    Some people believe in the traditional idea that the women’s place is in home, while other say that idea is out-dated and women should play an increasingly important role in the work place. What is your opinion?

    Gone are the days when woman used to be confined in four walls of the house and she was not allowed to go out of home for getting education and working in the workplaces of her own choice. She used to be considered for two main duties: one to produce babies and another to look after household affairs. I personally believe that this type of idiosyncrasy or thinking is talk of bygone era. Today, woman has lot of freedom to get proper education and she has full working rights and opportunities and also she bears potentials to work at almost all the challenging positions of many different areas of life.

    It is generally argued that if someone is having potential calibre, he/she must be given all chances to utilise it to draw out what is the best of it for the welfare of others otherwise, it would be lost forever without giving some fruitful results. It has universally been acknowledged that women are blessed with a natural instinct that makes them enable to cope with highly stressful working- schedule and time in a skilful way. So, as women are enriched with good natural managerial skills to manage and perform multitasks in a day, they can organise their household duties, look after their family, and discharge their job responsibilities properly without being nervous and depressed. Therefore, I think, in order to keep pace with this challenging and fast moving world successfully, women should be recruited to work on crucial decision- making ranks in the business sectors.

    Another supporting idea for the argument is that they provide financial support to their families. In the yesteryears, there used to be a single bread-winner in the family and redundancy of his job or his illness used to affect adversely a lot to all other dependents. But to arrest the impact of such calamities, woman has taken up a new role. She is, now, the real anchor of the family. She supplements the family income. Today, the earning parents can provide best formal and informal education to their wards. These, children, in turn can be more useful and invaluable assets for the society than the semi-qualified ones.

    In conclusion and my point of view, women employment and women empowerment are of unprecedented importance as they help to uplift the standard of living of their family and enhance the productivity of the workplace. Therefore, in order to get well civilised and educated society and to earn better economic benefits from the today’s challenging markets women should play a vital role while working.

    • Dominic Cole September 18, 2011 at 3:14 pm #

      Hi. Sorry to say I don’t have the time to look at this properly. I’m afraid that too many people visit here for me be able to spare the time to do that. I have had a quick look at it of course and the structure and very impressive range of vocabulary look good. How long did it take to write? I see it is a little over length. There is no upper word limit and I don’t suggest you should only spend 40 minutes practising writing, but it is normally sensible to restrict yourself to around 310 words as that is what you should aim to write in the exam.

      For a more detailed response I suggest you approach on eof the teachers on the teachers’ page.

  2. jack April 22, 2012 at 10:49 pm #

    hi dominic,your technic is helping me to improuve the way i am learning.i am almost 30 days from my ielts and i think i am doing well.i need band 6 score.thank for your help.
    Jack from cameroon

  3. jack April 22, 2012 at 10:53 pm #

    hi dominic,your technic are helping me to improuve the way i am learning.i am almost 30 days from my ielts and i think i am doing well.i need band 6 score.thank for your help.
    Jack from cameroon

  4. Kert August 28, 2012 at 1:36 am #

    That’s a cveler answer to a tricky question

  5. rabiea October 11, 2013 at 5:04 pm #

    this is the fourth time am giving last time i got ^6 bands but my requirement is 6.5 please pray for me this website help me a lot


  1. True, False, Not Given – some tips and an exercise « English Advisory Services - July 11, 2012

    […] Matching headings and paragraphs skills practice – acupuncture […]

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