If your IELTS students struggle with MATCHING HEADING QUESTIONS in the reading test, you could give them a few paragraphs on the same TOPIC, but with a different AUTHOR’S PURPOSE.

After they are done reading, debrief about what key language and discourse features helped them notice the writer’s MOTIVATION in each paragraph. (NB These will likely be more salient if you use a recurring theme across the paragraphs).

For example:

“Read the following paragraphs about minimalism and match the AUTHOR’S PURPOSE from the list below”.


Minimalism is an approach that prompts a person to get rid of any kind of excess in their lives so that they can attend to what they consider really important instead and find freedom, fulfillment and happiness as a result. If applied well it sets out to help us eliminate discontent, reclaim time, live in the moment and pursue our passions by allowing us to focus on what really matters. Living minimally tends to facilitate our discovery of our mission in life by experiencing real freedom and growth as an individual.


The reason why de-cluttering and living minimally is worth a try is because the freed-up resources can be reapplied to the areas of one’s life that one actually cares about. Minimalism simply allows us to make these decisions more consciously, more deliberately, and pursue more purpose-driven lives, as a result of which we tend to find freedom. Irrespective of our circumstances and life goals, we all want as much freedom in our lives as we can carve out for ourselves by pushing back external limitations as much as possible. Minimalism helps us tackle our inner boundaries to add more freedom to our lives from fear, worry, overwhelm, guilt, depression and all the trappings of the consumer culture we have built our lives around in the twentieth century.


What minimalism is all about is the reassessment of our priorities so that we can strip away the excess stuff, including not only the possessions but also ideas and relationships and activities that do not bring value to our lives. Therefore, if you can say to yourself with absolute certainty that your antique coin collection is important to you, and that fiddling with them is an important part of your life and is something that makes you want to get up in the morning, then you should invest more time and effort in your collection instead of auctioning it away straight away.


When creating a minimalist lifestyle, it is crucial not to go overboard in any irrational, self-imposed way, however. If one has six children, for example, they may feel that the lifestyle that a large family brings with itself is generally inherently inconsistent with the message of minimalism that dictates simplifying, frugality, downsizing and being green. Kids will likely want to keep their My Little Ponies collection even after a parent has become ‘enlightened’, and keep on wanting new clutter for their birthdays and Christmas. Parents should feel free to rethink their shopping habits for their children while remaining aware of any realistic limitations. After all, it would be most unethical for a parent to suddenly decide to get rid of their children, just because they have converted to a life of little excess and greater transparency. Living with children requires a more organic lifestyle, and may necessitate some flexibility when applying minimalism around it. In short, do not dispose of your children just to make your life ‘leaner’.


A) to entertain

B) to explain

C) to warn

D) to persuade 

E) to clarify

F) to exemplify 

G) to criticize

Can you write a short sentence on minimalism with a different AUTHOR’s PURPOSE such as WARNING, CLARIFYING, or CRITICIZING? 

(Answer key:

1) B

2) D

3) F

4) A)

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