IELTS Reading Practice: The History of Pasta

IELTS Reading Practice Lesson: Matching Headings

Matching headings questions are common in the IELTS reading test. Many people find this type of question lengthy and difficult to answer. It is important that you do not try to match words. The headings are a title for the paragraph. This means you need to think about the aim of the paragraph and decide which heading summarises this best. You might feel that some paragraphs have two possible headings so always remember to think about the aim rather than just synonyms.

Skim read the headings. Pay attention to keywords in the headings. Note any headings that are similar and headings that might be unique. For your answers remember that each heading can be used only once.

Questions 1-4: Choose the best heading for each section.


i) A theory dismissed

ii) Marco Polo in China

iii) Is pasta really Italian?

iv) China is the origin of pasta

v) The real origins of pasta

vi) How Arabs cooked pasta

vii) The common belief of the origins of pasta

Download list of headings: List of Matching Headings

Reading Passage: The History of Pasta 

A) Worldwide, pasta has become synonymous with Italian cuisine. Italian immigrants themselves brought pasta everywhere they went. While it is true that the most famous varieties and recipes of cooking pasta really do come from Italy, surprisingly, the actual origin of pasta lies elsewhere!

B) One of the more popular theories of the arrival of pasta in Italy was published in the ‘Macaroni Journal’ by the Association of Food Industries. It states that pasta was brought to Italy by Marco Polo via China. Polo ventured to China in the time of the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) and the Chinese had been consuming noodles as early as 3000 B.C. in the Qinghai province. There is even some evidence there of 4,000-year-old noodles made from foxtail and broomcorn millet.

C) Unfortunately, there are problems with this theory, least of which is that the noodles they were making in China aren’t technically considered pasta. Polo also described Chinese noodles as being like “lagana”, which implies he was possibly already familiar with a pasta-like food before going to China. Further, in 1279, there was a Genoese soldier that listed in the inventory of his estate a basket of dried pasta. Polo did not come back from China until 1295. For those who don’t know, Genoa is a sea port in Italy. Further, the modern pasta like we know it was first described in 1154 by an Arab geographer, Idrisi, as being common in Sicily. So Marco Polo could not have brought pasta to Italy via China. It was already in Italy at that time.

D) Most food historians believe that Arabs (specifically from Libya) are to be credited for bringing pasta, along with spinach, eggplant and sugar cane, to the Mediterranean. In the Talmud, written in Aramaic in the 5th century AD, there is a reference to pasta being cooked by boiling. It is thought, then, that pasta was introduced to Italy during the Arab conquests of Sicily in the 9th century AD, which had the interesting side effect of drastically influencing the region’s cuisine. It also known that by the 12th century, the Italians had learned from the Arabs methods for drying pasta to preserve it while traveling. Further support for this theory can be found by the fact that, in many old Sicilian pasta recipes, there are Arab gastronomic introductions.

Source: Passage was adapted from:


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IELTS Reading: Matching Headings

Practise IELTS reading matching headings by understanding how paraphrasing will help you find the right answer. You will see there are two paragraphs but 6 possible headings. Read the headings first and then read the article to decide which heading is the right one for each paragraph. Don’t forget this is a practice lesson. In the real test, the passage will be much longer 🙂 

Tips for Matching Headings

  • Pay attention to headings that are different or similar to each other.
  • Spend time paraphrasing keywords in the possible headings.
  • Read the paragraphs to find the main idea.
  • Distinguish between main ideas and extra information in the paragraph.
  • The heading should provide the main of the paragraph.
  • Do not try to match words – this is about paragraph aims.
  • Not all headings might be used.
  • Your answer will be a numeral (for example, i or vi) or a letter – do not write the words.
  • There can only ever be one possible heading for each paragraph.

Matching Headings Practice

Choose the correct heading (i-ix) for paragraphs A, B, C and D in the passage below.

  • i. Temperatures on Earth
  • ii. The Greenhouse
  • iii. Creating Global Warming
  • iv. Use of a Greenhouse
  • v. Our Choices
  • vi. Greenhouse Gases
  • vii. Earth’s Atmosphere
  • viii. Reversing the Damage
  • ix. Effects of Carbon Dioxide

You can download the options above here: Matching Headings to make it easier to match them with the passage below.

The Greenhouse Effect

A.   A greenhouse is a house made entirely of glass: both walls and roof are glass. One of the main purposes of a greenhouse is to grow tomatoes, flowers and other plants that might struggle to grow outside. A greenhouse stays warm inside, even during winter. Sunlight shines in and warms the plants and air inside. But the heat is trapped by the glass and cannot escape. So during the daylight hours, it gets warmer and warmer inside a greenhouse, and stays quite warm at night too.

B.   The Earth experiences a similar thing to a greenhouse. Gases in the atmosphere such as carbon dioxide do what the roof of a greenhouse does. During the day, the Sun shines through the atmosphere. Earth’s surface warms up in the sunlight. At night, Earth’s surface cools, releasing the heat back into the air. But some of the heat is trapped by the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. That is what keeps our Earth a warm and comfortable 59 degrees Fahrenheit, on average.

C. However, gas molecules, called greenhouse gases, that absorb thermal infrared radiation, and are in significant enough quantity, can force and alter the climate system. Carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases act like a blanket, absorbing IR radiation and preventing it from escaping into outer space. The greenhouse effect, combined with increasing levels of greenhouse gases, produces global warming, which is expected to have profound implications. 

D. Many scientists agree that the damage to the Earth’s atmosphere and climate is past the point of no return or that the damage is near the point of no return. In Josef Werne’s opinion, an associate professor at the department of geology & planetary science at the University of Pittsburgh told Live Science, we have three options. Firstly to do nothing and live with the consequences. Secondly, to adapt to the changing climate (which includes things like rising sea level and related flooding). Thirdly, mitigate the impact of climate change by aggressively enacting policies that actually reduce the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere.

The above article was taken from wiki and


The answers for this lesson are available on the link below:

Click here: Answers for Matching Headings Reading


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Matching Headings Question: IELTS Reading Exercise

In this question you must match the correct heading to the correct section of the passage. Matching headings questions are common in IELTS reading and are one of the longest to complete. This is a practice exercise for students, not an IELTS test.

Take time to read through the headings given. Spot which ones are similar or contain similar language – they are often traps. Also check the number of headings given, usually there are more headings available than are needed.

The heading usually relates to the general aim of a section.

Antimicrobial Resistance

A) While antibiotic resistance refers specifically to the resistance to antibiotics that occurs in common bacteria that cause infections, antimicrobial resistance is a broader term, encompassing resistance to drugs to treat infections caused by other microbes. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is resistance of a microorganism to an antimicrobial drug that was originally effective for treatment of infections caused by it. Resistant microorganisms (including bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites) are able to withstand attack by antimicrobial drugs, such as antibacterial drugs (e.g., antibiotics), antifungals, antivirals, and antimalarials, so that standard treatments become ineffective and infections persist, increasing the risk of spread to others. The evolution of resistant strains is a natural phenomenon that occurs when microorganisms replicate themselves erroneously or when resistant traits are exchanged between them. The use and misuse of antimicrobial drugs accelerates the emergence of drug-resistant strains. Poor infection control practices, inadequate sanitary conditions and inappropriate food-handling encourages the further spread of AMR.

B) New resistance mechanisms emerge and spread worldwide threatening our ability to treat common infectious diseases, resulting in death and disability of individuals who until recently could continue a normal course of life. Without effective anti-infective treatment, many standard medical treatments will fail or turn into very high risk procedures. This would be a financially draining situation for wealthy countries but for the poorer ones, it could have catastrophic effects.

C) Infections caused by resistant microorganisms often fail to respond to the standard treatment, resulting in prolonged illness, higher health care expenditures, and a greater risk of death. As an example, the death rate for patients with serious infections caused by common bacteria treated in hospitals can be about twice that of patients with infections caused by the same non-resistant bacteria. For example, people with MRSA (another common source of severe infections in the community and in hospitals) are estimated to be 64% more likely to die than people with a non-resistant form of the infection.

D) WHO’s report on global surveillance of antimicrobial resistance reveals that antibiotic resistance is no longer a prediction for the future; it is happening right now, across the world, and is putting at risk the ability to treat common infections in the community and hospitals. Without urgent, coordinated action, the world is heading towards a post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries, which have been treatable for decades, can once again kill.

Questions 1-4

Choose the correct heading from the list below (i-x)

Choose the correct heading for sections A-D from the list of headings below.

i. A fatal threat

ii. A global concern.

iii. The evolution of resistance

iv. MRSA in hospitals

v. The present situation

vi. What is antimicrobial resistance?

vii. Protecting future generations

  1. Section A =
  2. Section B =
  3. Section C =
  4. Section D =


  1. vi
  2. ii
  3. i
  4. v

(passage adapted from WHO)

All reading exercises on have been written by myself to help you prepare for your IELTS test.   



  • broader term = a more general term
  • encompassing = including
  • persist = continue
  • phenomenon = occurrence
  • replicate = copy / reproduce
  • erroneously = mistakenly
  • sanitary = hygienic  / clean
  • catastrophic = disastrous / terrible / devastating
  • prolonged = lengthy (prolonged illness = chronic illness)


Matching Heading Practice: Medium Level

IELTS Matching Headings

How to do IELTS matching paragraph questions in reading. Learn useful tips and practise matching information to paragraphs for IELTS reading. This is quite an easy practice exercise for matching  and is easier that.

Tips for IELTS Matching Headings

  • read through the headings options
  • spot keywords
  • think of paraphrases for keywords
  • spot headings which use similar words and identify the difference
  • heading through the passage and match main ideas to heading
  • try to distinguish between main ideas and extra information
  • the answers do not come in order
  • your answer should be a letter not words

IELTS Matching Headings Practice



A) Pangolins, often called “scaly anteaters,” are covered in tough, overlapping scales. These burrowing mammals eat ants and termites using an extraordinarily long, sticky tongue, and are able to quickly roll themselves up into a tight ball when threatened. Eight different pangolin species can be found across Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Poaching for illegal wildlife trade and habitat loss have made these incredible creatures one of the most endangered groups of mammals in the world.

B) Pangolin species vary in size from about 1.6kg (~3.5 lbs) to a maximum of about 33kg (~73 lbs). They vary in color from light to yellowish brown through olive to dark brown. Protective, overlapping scales cover most of their bodies. These scales are made from keratin — the same protein that forms human hair and finger nails. Overlapping like artichoke leaves, the scales grow throughout the life of a pangolin just like hair; scale edges are constantly filed down as pangolins dig burrows and tunnel through the soil in search of termites and ants. Pangolin undersides do not have scales, and are covered with sparse fur. Unlike African pangolins, Asian pangolins also have thick bristles that emerge from between their scales. With small conical heads and jaws lacking teeth, pangolins have amazingly long, muscular, and sticky tongues that are perfect for reaching and lapping up ants and termites in deep cavities. Pangolins have poor vision, so they locate termite and ant nests with their strong sense of smell.

C) There are eight pangolin species. All pangolins belong to the genus Manis in the family Manidae, which is the only family within the order Pholidota. Pangolins’ closest living relatives are the Xenarthrans – anteaters, armadillos, and sloths.

D) Pangolins are found in a variety of habitats including tropical and flooded forests, thick brush, cleared and cultivated areas, and savannah grassland; in general they occur where large numbers of ants and termites are found. Asian pangolins in particular are threatened by loss of habitat due to expanding agriculture and other human uses. Pangolins dig deep burrows for sleeping and nesting that contain circular chambers. Large chambers have been discovered in terrestrial pangolin burrows that were big enough for a human to crawl inside and stand up. Some pangolin species such as the Malayan pangolin also sleep in the hollows and forks of trees and logs.

E) These solitary mammals are nocturnal and highly secretive, thus it is difficult for scientists to study them in the wild, and many mysteries remain about their habits. Some pangolin species such as the Chinese pangolin sleep in underground burrows during the day, and others including African tree pangolins and Malayan pangolins are known to sleep in trees. They emerge in the evening to forage for insects. Pangolins are well adapted for digging: they dig burrows with their strong front legs and claws, using their tails and rear legs for support and balance. Tunneling underground, they excavate the sides and roofs of passages by pushing up and from side to side with their tough scaled bodies. They use their front and hind feet to back accumulated soil toward the burrow entrance, and vigorously kick dirt out of the entrance up to a meter or more. Pangolin scales provide good defense against predators. When threatened, pangolins can quickly curl into a ball, protecting their defenseless undersides. They also deter predators by hissing and puffing, and lashing their sharp edged tails.

F) Pangolins live predominantly on a diet of ants and termites, which they may supplement with various other invertebrates including bee larvae, flies, worms, earthworms, and crickets. This specialist diet makes them extremely difficult to maintain in captivity—they often reject unfamiliar insect species or become ill when fed foreign food. Wild pangolins locate insect nests using a well developed sense of smell. Voraciously digging ants and termites from mounds, stumps, and fallen logs with their claws, they use their extremely long sticky tongues to capture and eat them.

G) Pangolins are hunted for food, for use in traditional medicine and as fashion accessories, and for a rampant illegal international trade in scales, skins, and meat. There is high demand for nearly all of their body parts, principally from China. The large-scale illegal trade in Asian pangolins is drastically driving down their numbers throughout Southeast Asia. Rapid loss and deterioration of available habitat places added pressure on the dwindling numbers of remaining pangolins.

Matching Headings

Choose the correct heading from the list below (i – xi)

  • i) The Asian pangolin
  • ii) Distribution and habitat
  • iii) Pangolin behaviour
  • iv) Taxonomy
  • v) Pangolin burrows
  • vi) The pangolin trade
  • vii) Comparison of pangolin species
  • viii) What is a pangolin?
  • ix) Description of a pangolin
  • x) Why pangolins are endangered
  • xi) The pangolin diet

Questions 1-7

  1. Paragraph A =
  2. Paragraph B =
  3. Paragraph C =
  4. Paragraph D =
  5. Paragraph E =
  6. Paragraph F =
  7. Paragraph G =


Click below to reveal the answers.


  • Paragraph A = viii
  • Paragraph B = ix
  • Paragraph C = iv
  • Paragraph D = ii
  • Paragraph E = iii
  • Paragraph F = xi
  • Paragraph G = x

Information about pangolins from

All reading exercises on have been written by myself to help you prepare for your IELTS test.   


See the reading page below for more matching headings practice and more IELTS reading practice.

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