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IELTS Listening: Strategy to solve Matching Features question

IELTS Listening: Strategy to solve Matching Features questions with exercise

IELTS Listening: Strategy to solve Matching Features questions with exercise
IELTS Listening: Strategy to solve Matching Features questions with exercise

A lot of our students have doubts about the Matching Features question set when we cover the IELTS Listening Test in class. Matching the correct feature to the category can be daunting for students, especially because such questions are very rare in academics.

Students feel like it requires more concentration to answer a question like Matching Features. It is because the student has to pay attention to the audio, the alphabet corresponding to the options, and the question all at once.

However, with the right strategy Matching Features can be the easiest question type of them all!

Matching Features questions have a list of features and categories that have to be matched according to the information in the audio.

There is no straight format of the position of the answer and filler in the audio. Matching Features can come in Part 2 or Part 3 of the IELTS Listening Test.

The basic premise of the question remains the same, just the strategies to match the features and category changes.

IELTS Listening : Matching Features question format

Matching Features have slightly different looks in Part 2 and 3. But the idea of choosing from a list of options and writing the appropriate alphabet next to the question remains the same.

In Part 2, there might be only three options to choose from for more than three questions.

In part 3, however, there are more options to choose from than questions. 

In Part 2, categories are subtypes of the topic of the monologue. Features are the qualities possessed by one of the categories. You must match the correct feature to the category.

In Part 3, you are given names of parts of tasks in the form of questions. A list of actions makes the options. You have to match the correct action decided by the group for the parts of tasks mentioned in the question. 

A samples Matching Features question on IELTS Listening


Questions 21 – 25

What does Jack tell his tutor about each of the following course options?

  • A He’ll definitely do it.
  • B He may or may not do it.
  • C He won’t do it.

Write the correct letter, A, B or C next to questions 21- 25.

You may choose any letter more than once.

  1. Media Studies
  2. Women and Power
  3. Culture and Society
  4. Identity and Popular Culture
  5. Introduction to Cultural Theory
IELTS Listening: Matching Features Audio

You will find useful transcript at the bottom.

How to identify the correct answer on IELTS Listening Matching Features question?

In Part 2, either features or categories could be the questions. The format of the audio remains the same in both cases, but the objective of the question changes. If the features are the options and the categories are the questions, read the features (options) first.

Keep in mind that the options will not have the same words as the audio, but the categories (questions) will.

That can act as your clue to understand where you have reached in the audio and keep pace. 

There is usually a pattern in the features, like positives or negatives. Therefore, listen for the tone of the speaker instead of the words. That way when the speaker matches the tone of the features you can find the answer. Sometimes the pattern is not as simple as positive or negative features.

When it gets difficult to understand the tone or you are not sure about the correct alphabet corresponding to the question, you can make a short two-three word note next to the question. Match the note with the features in the time you can check your answers. 

As an example, in the recording given above, when Dr Ray ask Jack about the Media studies option, Jack pauses and says “Well that was interesting, but I’ve decided I’d rather do something completely new. There’s a Women’s Studies option, isn’t there?” As heard from the recording, while Jack finds Media studies interesting, he would rather do Women and Power instead.  There is a negative pattern here towards the media studies option.


Matching Features is one of the most popular question formats in IELTS Listening Tests. It usually comes in Part 2 and 3. Depending on the format of the audio the question changes a little.

There will be fewer options than questions in Part 2, whereas in Part 3 there will be more options than questions.

The key is to listen to the audio for the questions, or the categories which have the same words as the audio, and understand the meaning of the options before picking the right answer for each question.

Useful transcript for Matching Features question

Dr Ray:  Come in. Oh hello Jack. Have a seat. Right … you said you wanted to see me to talk about your options next semester?

Jack:  That’s right. We have to decide by the end of next week. Really, I’d like to do all five options but we have to choose two, don’t we.

Dr Ray:  Yes, but the choice depends on your major to some extent. You’re majoring in Communication Studies, aren’t you?

Jack: That’s right.

Dr Ray:  So for example the Media Studies Option will cover quite a lot of the same area you did in the core module on mass communications this semester – the development of the media through the last two centuries, in relation to political and social issues.

Jack: Mmm. Well that was interesting, but I’ve decided I’d rather do something completely new. There’s a Women’s Studies option, isn’t there?

Answers and full transcript of matching features question exercise 1

Answer Explanation
IELTS Listening Matching Features question exercise 1 answer


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