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IELTS Reading Question Type
Completing Sentences and Notes


Sentence and note completion are virtually the same in terms of task. You are required to complete gaps in sentences with words from the text according to the word limit in the instructions.

Answers appear in the same order as the text. In the example completing sentences below, you will not find the answer to question 16 before question 15. 

Example: Completing Sentences

IELTS Reading Sentence Completion

Example: Notes

IELTS Reading Note Completion

Strategies & Tips

  • Start by speed reading or skimming the text first. This will give you a good idea about what information is contained in each section or paragraph.

  • While reading, make brief notes of the question paper that summarize the information contained in each section or paragraph.

  • Read the instructions carefully and do not exceed the word limit. In both examples here, the instructions say NO MORE THAN 2 WORDS. Your answers will not have any numbers.

IELTS Reading Written Answers
  • When you read the sentences with numbered gaps, predict the type of missing word or words (noun, adjective, verb etc.) and the type of missing information.

  • When predicting the answer, pay attention to what comes before and after the gaps.

Example: Completing Sentences

Question 15 is most likely an adjective as it is preceded by “a” and followed by a noun “employee”. The adjective will also not begin with a vowel since it is preceded by “a” and not “an”

Text: “You should immediately challenge any person who appears to be on the premises without proper authorization, or inform a senior member of staff...” 

Answer: senior

  • Highlight the key words in the sentences and notes as this will help you locate the answers.

  • If the sentences contain names, dates, place names, scan the text to match them. Then read slowly in that section for the answer.

  • Be careful of distractors. The matching names, place names, dates may be mentioned more than once.

  • Completing notes and sentences makes extensive use of synonyms and paraphrase. After you have highlighted the key words, do not expect to find them repeated in the text.

  • Think of synonyms for the key words and how the sentences might be paraphrased. 

Example: Completing Notes

Questions 33 & 34. “Objects age in accordance with principles of 33............ and of 34................”

Text: “Aging in this case must occur according to the law of physical chemistry and thermodynamics.”


Answer: In either order 33 & 34

Physical chemistry / thermodynamics 

  • After reading the sentences and notes, predicting the answer, highlighting the key words and thinking of synonyms and paraphrase, scan the text to locate the answer.

  • Use the notes you made on the question paper to summarize the sections or paragraphs to guide you to the location

  • Once you have found the location, read the section or paragraph slowly and carefully to confirm the answer.

  • Read what comes before and after the gap to ensure your answer fits grammatically. If it doesn’t fit, then it’s not correct.

  • Copy the word or words exactly as they appear in the text. Don’t change the form of the word.

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