IELTS Listening: Matching Questions (updated March 2024)

Home » IELTS listening test » IELTS listening: matching questions

In this tutorial, you will:

  • learn how to tackle ‘matching’ questions more effectively in the IELTS exam
  • become more familiar with different sections of the IELTS listening test

Matching questions are common in sections two and three of the listening test. The instructions can vary, as always, it’s very important to read them thoroughly. As with other types of questions in the listening test, you need to practise doing this type of task in order to improve

Here is an example of a matching questions task from section three. Remember – section three of the listening test is set in an academic context and involves a conversation between two or more people. 

Section 3 of IELTS listening test

Questions 21 - 25

What have the speakers heard about each of the following courses?

Choose FIVE answers from the box and write the correct letters, A-G, next to questions 21 – 25.



A not very useful

B enjoyable

C practical

D flexible

E fast-paced

F time-consuming

G boring



      21 Project Management 

      22 Spanish Language 

      23 Cognitive Psychology

      24 Business Administration


      25 Creativity & Innovation







Try to paraphrase the key words in the ‘Comments’ box so that you are better-prepared for what you are going to hear.

For example, instead of ‘enjoyable’, you might hear a synonym such as ‘fun’. Instead of ‘practical’, you might hear an antonym, such as ‘theoretical’. As you continue to broaden your IELTS vocabulary, this will get easier.


Here is the introduction to the recording:

You will hear two university students discussing the subsidiary subjects they can choose from in the second year of their degree courses.

And here is the recording:

Man: So, have you made a decision about what subsidiary subject you’re going to study next year?

Woman: No, to be honest I haven’t really given it much thought yet. We have got a few more weeks left before we need to decide. How about you?

Man: I’ve been mulling it over for a while – but I haven’t come to any conclusions. I don’t want to rush into anything.

Woman: Well, what choices do you have available in the chemistry department? I expect they are all related to maths or computing, are they? Not very interesting!

Man: Well, they used to be, but these days we can also choose things like Business Administration, Project Management or even something called Creativity and Innovation!

Have you heard any of the answers yet? No, that’s right! There is often a lot of extra information – but stay focussed! The answers are on the way!

Woman: Creativity and Innovation?! That sounds a bit different. What does that involve? 

Man: Well, I was talking to someone who did the course last year, and he actually put me off a bit.

Woman: Why? What did he say?

Man: He said that the lecturer was excellent, but he also told me that completing the assignments took up a lot of his time – and it’s only supposed to be a subsidiary subject, after all.

Woman: Well, how about Business Administration?

Man: Everyone says that’s as dull as ditch water!

Woman: Hmm…!

Man: I heard that the Project Management course is good, though – very ‘hands-on’ and not theoretical at all. So, I guess it will be a toss up between Creativity and Innovation and Project Management!

Woman: Right. Well, I think I’ve narrowed my choices down to two…

Man: But you said you hadn’t really thought about it!

Woman: Well, when you’re doing a degree in Education, there isn’t much choice. Most 

of the subjects are compulsory.

Man: OK, so what are the two options?

Woman: Either Cognitive Psychology, which might be good because I can do the classes online as well as face-to-face – or Spanish Language.

Man: And which way are you leaning at the moment?

Woman: In fact, I’m thinking of doing Spanish – mostly because I’ve heard that it’s fun! A lot of the lectures I’ve attended this year have been quite dry – so Spanish might be the breath of fresh air I’ve been looking for..!!


How was it? Did you manage to answer questions 21 to 25? These are the answers you should have:

21 – Project Management – C. On the recording, the man said it was ‘very hands-on – and not theoretical at all’.

22 – Spanish Language – B. The woman said it’s ‘fun’.

23 – Cognitive Psychology – D. The woman said that you can do the classes online as well as face-to-face, so it’s flexible.

24 – Business Administration – G. The man said, ‘Everyone says it’s as dull as ditchwater’. Even though you probably don’t know the phrase ‘as dull as ditchwater’, you should know that ‘dull’ means ‘boring’.

25 – Creativity & Innovation – F. The man said someone told him that ‘completing the assignments took up a lot of his time’.

Hope you found this feedback helpful!