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IELTS Listening Question Types: Completing Sentences and a Summary

Completing sentences are not very common in the Listening test and can be found in any part. Having a strategy is essential to do well in this question type.

Completing a summary is quite rare in the Listening test and is almost identical to completing sentences, as you can see in the samples. The differences are that a summary is a more complete picture of what you hear and, therefore, there is more information to read. On this page, I will focus on the strategies and tips for completing sentences which you can also apply to completing a summary.


IELTS Listening Complete Sentences & Summary


IELTS Listening Complete Sentences & Summary

Strategies & Tips

  • The answers for all question types will be in the same order as the information you hear. Always follow the question numbers for the order you will hear the answers.

  • Do not change the word you hear in recording. You will hear the exact word you need to write in the gaps even though the words around the answer may be paraphrased.

  • Read the instructions carefully and pay attention to the word limit. The sample above says ONLY ONE WORD. 

Predict the Answers

  • Before you listen, read the sentences carefully and predict the information and type of word you will hear. 


Example: Question 24 


The answer is most likely an adjective since it is preceded by “more” and followed by “than”


Paul: Maybe you found them different because you’re a more mature student now. 

Answer: mature

Paraphrase & Synonyms

  • The sentences in the questions will be paraphrased so don’t expect to hear them word for word in the recording. 

  • Some sentences are a summary of the conversation.

  • When reading the questions, underline the key words and think of synonyms and paraphrase.

Example: Question 23

Kira says that lecturers are easier to ...... than those in her own country. 


Paul: And what about the lecturers themselves? Are they essentially the same as lecturers in your country?

Kira: Well, actually no. Here, they’re much easier to approach.

Answer: approach

Does it fit grammatically?

  • Once you’ve written your answer, check that it fits into the sentence grammatically. If it doesn’t, then it’ll be incorrect. 

Example: Question 25

Kira says that students want to discuss things that worry them or that ........... them very much. 


Kira: ... usually to talk about something in the course that’s worrying them, but sometimes just about something that might really interest them. 

Answer: interest

  • When predicting the answer, it’s most likely a verb because there are 2 things students want to discuss - things that worry them and really interest them.

  • Interest fits grammatically. 

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