IELTS Reading matching features


In the IELTS Reading matching features task, you will have to match a list of given items to a list of groups. To match the two, you must read and understand the given text. We have shared the strategies to answer this question type effectively, please follow them.

IELTS Reading matching features sample task

[Note: This is an extract from an Academic Reading passage on the development of rockets.
The text preceding this extract explored the slow development of the rocket and explained
the principle of propulsion.]

The invention of rockets is linked inextricably with the invention of ‘black powder’. Most
historians of technology credit the Chinese with its discovery. They base their belief on
studies of Chinese writings or on the notebooks of early Europeans who settled in or
made long visits to China to study its history and civilisation. It is probable that, some
time in the tenth century, black powder was first compounded from its basic ingredients
of saltpetre, charcoal and sulphur. But this does not mean that it was immediately used
to propel rockets. By the thirteenth century, powder-propelled fire arrows had become
rather common. The Chinese relied on this type of technological development to
produce incendiary projectiles of many sorts, explosive grenades and possibly cannons
to repel their enemies. One such weapon was the ‘basket of fire’ or, as directly
translated from Chinese, the ‘arrows like flying leopards’. The 0.7 metre-long arrows,
each with a long tube of gunpowder attached near the point of each arrow, could be fired
from a long, octagonal-shaped basket at the same time and had a range of 400 paces.
Another weapon was the ‘arrow as a flying sabre’, which could be fired from crossbows.
The rocket, placed in a similar position to other rocket-propelled arrows, was designed to
increase the range. A small iron weight was attached to the 1.5m bamboo shaft, just
below the feathers, to increase the arrow’s stability by moving the centre of gravity to a
position below the rocket. At a similar time, the Arabs had developed the ‘egg which
moves and burns’. This ‘egg’ was apparently full of gunpowder and stabilised by a 1.5m
tail. It was fired using two rockets attached to either side of this tail.

It was not until the eighteenth century that Europe became seriously interested in the
possibilities of using the rocket itself as a weapon of war and not just to propel other
weapons. Prior to this, rockets were used only in pyrotechnic displays. The incentive for
the more aggressive use of rockets came not from within the European continent but
from far-away India, whose leaders had built up a corps of rocketeers and used rockets
successfully against the British in the late eighteenth century. The Indian rockets used
against the British were described by a British Captain serving in India as ‘an iron
envelope about 200 millimetres long and 40 millimetres in diameter with sharp points at
the top and a 3m-long bamboo guiding stick’. In the early nineteenth century the British
began to experiment with incendiary barrage rockets. The British rocket differed from the
Indian version in that it was completely encased in a stout, iron cylinder, terminating in a
conical head, measuring one metre in diameter and having a stick almost five metres
long and constructed in such a way that it could be firmly attached to the body of the
rocket. The Americans developed a rocket, complete with its own launcher, to use
against the Mexicans in the mid-nineteenth century. A long cylindrical tube was propped
up by two sticks and fastened to the top of the launcher, thereby allowing the rockets to
be inserted and lit from the other end. However, the results were sometimes not that
impressive as the behaviour of the rockets in flight was less than predictable.

IELTS reading matching features sample question

Source: Official IELTS website www.


The answers are not in the same order as the text

Avoid wasting too much time on one item

Be mindful of the time you spend on each item; otherwise, you will spend too much time on one item.

IELTS Reading matching features strategy

Read the question

Read the question carefully to understand what needs to be done.

In the example question above you need to do the following

you must identify who invented or used the various items given.

You must use the correct letter A to E next to the items.

You can use any letter more than once.

Read the statements

Read the statements and understand their meaning. Understanding the meaning is important as you will not find word-to-word matches. Your understanding of the meaning will help you to select the correct answers.

Skim the text

Skim the text and search for the names given next to the letters A to Ew. In this case, it is country names. It will be easier and time-saving to focus on finding specific names. Once you find the names try to find the answers for them by reading the text before and after it.

Match with the statements

Once you have read the text before and after the name and understood the meaning, now try to match it with the given statements. This will help narrow down the number of remaining statements. Use this method to answer all the remaining statements.

Correct answers

7 black powder – A (the Chinese)
8 rocket-propelled arrows for fighting – A (the Chinese)
9 rockets as war weapons – B (the Indians)
10 the rocket launcher- E (the Americans)

Work out the answers

1 The Chinese

I first skimmed through the text looking for Chinese in the first paragraph. I found the answer to the first statement in the second sentence below. The correct match for the first statement is the Chinese.

Then I started skimming the text again and came across the Chinese again in connection to using rocket-propelled arrows and other such projectiles. This matches the second statement. in-fact the first paragraph talks extensively about other such Chinese weapons.

2 The Indians

Indian appears in the second paragraph. It is mentioned that India used rockets as war weapons against the British.

3 The Americans

The Americans appear in the second paragraph towards the end where it is mentioned that they developed a rocket and its launcher for use against Mexicans.

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