IELTS Reading Sentence Completion Questions
1. Introduction to sentence completion questions in IELTS reading
Sentence Completion Questions in IELTS Reading are presented in the form of a list of questions with several gaps. Your task is to complete these gaps with a certain number of words from the reading text.
However, this type of question challenges candidates with a wide range of vocabulary, synonyms (words with the same or very similar meanings), and paraphrases (using different words to repeat a sentence with the same meaning), which give them nearly no chance to search for the exact same words in the reading passage.
Through Sentence Completion Questions, the examiners want to test your:
- scanning technique to search for the correct information in the reading text
- reading in detail for meaning
- ability to identify and understand keywords, synonyms, and paraphrases
- ability to make predictions using given context
>> Read more: IELTS Reading Matching Sentence Endings Questions
2. Sentence completion questions strategies
2.1. Read the questions and requirements carefully
In the first place, the instructions or requirements should be prioritised when facing Sentence Completion Questions in IELTS Reading. Also, candidates should take the word limit into consideration (e.g. NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS) to measure the exact numbers of words needed for the questions.
2.2. Read the incomplete sentences and Identify keywords
As usual, instead of reading the whole text, you had better read all the incomplete sentences and try to understand what they mean.
With Sentence Completion IELTS reading, identifying keywords will help you with a more feasible process of locating information in the reading text. Therefore, focus on keywords, especially unchangeable words like names, places, year, etc., and highlight them for the next steps.
|1. The type of random jittery movement of tiny particles is called …………..
2. Einstein explained the phenomenon of particles’ strange motion by the fact that they were collapsing with ………….
3. Nowadays, scientists consider atoms’ structures similar to tiny ………..
4. …………… are parts that are circling around the nucleus.
Besides, try to think of potential synonyms or paraphrases while skimming these incomplete sentences since those will not appear exactly the same in the reading text.
2.3. Predict the answers
You can make predictions for each answer of Sentence Completion Questions immediately by means of noticing word type or part of speech (verbs, nouns, adjectives or adverbs), and/or grammatical rules.
|1. The type of random jittery movement of tiny particles is called ………….. + noun (a name)
2. Einstein explained the phenomenon of particles’ strange motion by the fact that they were collapsing with ………….+ noun
3. Nowadays, scientists consider atoms’ structures similar to tiny ……….. + noun
4. …………… (noun) are parts that are circling around the nucleus.
>>> Practice now: IELTS Reading Practice Test
2.4. Locate the correct part of the reading text for each incomplete sentence
After acquiring the meaning of Sentence Completion Questions, start to locate the information in the reading text based on the keywords identified. You should follow the order of the incomplete sentences to search for the information that is arranged in sequence in the reading passage (The answer of sentence 1 will be above that of sentence 2 and so on).
Be careful with synonyms and paraphrases and note the number of sentences at the time you find out its information in the text for later double-check.
2.5. Cross-check the information with the questions to fill in the gaps
Test-takers need to read the identified paragraphs in detail to make sure that you will find the correct answers. To do so, cross-checking the information that you’ve just read with the Sentence Completion Questions is pivotal. When the answers are found, note and fill in the gaps.
2.6. Double-check the answers
Your answers should be correct in not only meaning but also grammar and spelling. Therefore, double-checking the answers whether their word types fit the spaces or spellings are accurate or not is highly recommended for all candidates.
3. Common mistakes and tips for sentence completion questions in IELTS reading
|1. Reading carefully the whole text before questions
You will need to read the whole passage twice if you read it first before the questions.
|Read the instructions and incomplete sentences first. Be careful with NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER.
(Remember that numbers are written numerically, such as 37; and hyphenated words, such as three-year-old, count as one word.)
|2. Leaving blank answers
A blank answer may lose you a chance to get a point
|If you feel uncertain about an answer, just write it down and you may get a point|
|3. Looking for the exact same words or phrases in the reading text after reading the sentence completion questions
Synonyms or paraphrases will be definitely used in the text to test your ability to identify changeable keywords in place of identical words
|Guess the synonyms or paraphrases that may be used in the reading text whilst reading sentence completion questions|
|4. Apply background knowledge to give the answers to questions
Some aspects of knowledge may be familiar to you but not to take those for granted because the IELTS examiners want to test your reading skill, not your background knowledge
|Look for information in the reading passage and use actual words for your answers|
|5. Being trapped by the examiner
You may be tricked by the examiners when there exist some words in the reading text, but it will normally be a synonym or paraphrase rather than an identical word.
|Read the sentence completion questions and the appropriate parts carefully and try to think about the synonyms instead of a matching word.|
Other tips for Sentence Completion Questions in IELTS Reading:
- The answers will be arranged in order of the questions, so the answer of the next question will be below the previous one.
- Don’t spend too much time on one question. Move to the next one if you can’t find the answer and note your hesitant choice for later. Use your time wisely with the easier ones first.
- The grammatical structure, collocations or meaning can help you with checking your answer, so take the most advantage of this.
- Some questions may require “using words from the text” or “from the text”, which means you should only use words or phrases from the text without changing their word forms or tenses. Contrastively, if there is no such instruction, you are allowed to change the words as long as the meaning is still the same.
Sentence Completion Questions may not be a strange question type in the IELTS Reading test, but sometimes be an obstacle for candidates. On that account, practicing while applying these strategies and tips regularly will help you crack this type of question.
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