IELTS Listening Test: Sentence Completion Practice, Tips, and Strategies

Apr 03,2022

IELTS Listening Test Sentence Completion Practice, Tips, and Strategies

As your IELTS test date is coming closer, you must be searching for quick tips to improve your band score. Sentence Completion question types in the IELTS Listening Test are among the questions which help you to boost your performance in the language proficiency test.

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Overview of Sentence Completion task – IELTS Listening Test 

Sentence Completion questions in the IELTS Listening test usually fill in the gaps, with blanks in the middle or end of the sentence. Candidates must carefully listen to the blanks and complete the sentence with a word(s) that best fits the question.

Don’t expect the speaker to describe the sentence in the same way as it is asked in the question., as the sentence will always be paraphrased to test your listening skills. Simply put, you will be assessed on how well you can understand the meaning of what you hear.

IELTS Listening Test:

Useful Strategies to Answer Complete the Sentence Task

Now that you‘ve understood a sentence completion task let us share some handy tips and strategies to help you answer this section.

1. Read the sentence:

Start reading the instructions while answering the questions to know the word limit. Move ahead, and start reading the sentences. Answers in the recording will follow the same order as they are listed in the test paper. So it is easier for you to answer the questions in the same sequence. 

What is the benefit of reading the question first? You will get a rough idea about the topic when you go through the sentence. Secondly, there are chances that you will identify the keywords, and some candidates can even predict the correct answer by just reading the questions. You will have 20 seconds to read the questions; if you use this time effectively, you can find the correct answer when listening to the recording.

2. Identify Keywords:

The second and most important strategies to identify the keywords in the sentence. Keywords will help you to understand the meaning of the sentence and help you to find the correct answer from the audio.

 Also, think of the synonyms of these keywords when the audio is played.

3. Predict the answer:

Once you have understood the question completely, try to guess the potential answer. Learn about the relationship between the information before and after the gap to make a logical connection. 

Based on the given topic and situation, predict the topic you will most like to hear when the recording is played.

4. Use Synonyms:

For the sentence completion task in the Listening test, the conversation will be in the paraphrased form of the question. Hence, when you listen to the recording, expect to find similar words of the information given in the sentence.

We also suggest you to improve your vocabulary during the IELTS Preparation. It will help you to find the synonyms when you answer this question type in the real test.

5. Grammatical accuracy:

Use the correct grammatical range while filling in the gaps. You will likely lose a mark in the Listening test if your grammar is incorrect. You may have to change the form of the verb from the recording to make a grammatically correct sentence.

6. Check your answer:

Go through your answers to find grammatical and spelling errors. Grammatical accuracy and precise spelling will improve your chance of an improved band score.

Make sure to write the exact word in your answer as you hear during the conversation. 

Must Read: Most Commonly Repeated Spellings of Words in IELTS Listening

Pro tip:

If you have missed a word while listening, leave that answer and move to the next immediately. You can predict and write the answer to that blank later during the test. But, attempt all the answers, even if you have to make a guess.

Sample Task- Sentence Completion IELTS Listening

Listen to this recording from the previous listening test, and answer the given questions.

IELTS Listening – Sentence completion Task Recording

Source-Official IELTS Page. (

 Questions 27 – 30 Complete the sentences below.

 Write NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS for each answer. 

  • Studying with the Open University demanded a great deal of 27 ……………………. 
  • Studying and working at the same time improved Rachel’s 28 …………………… skills. 
  • It was helpful that the course was structured in 29 ……………………. 
  • She enjoyed meeting other students at 30 ……………

(Find the answers at the end of this blog.)

Effective tips for Sentence completion tasks in IELTS Listening Test:

  • Read the sentence thoroughly to predict what you will hear in the recording.
  • Try and assume the possible answer that is the best fit for the gap: place, number, activity, name, or subject.
  • Identify the keywords from the sentence. It can be anything that forms a solid foundation for the sentence.
  • Remember that you hear in the audio synonyms of the words you read from the sentence. Listen to the recording carefully to identify words with similar meanings.
  • Use the correct grammar to complete the sentence.
  • Don’t skip the answer! Yes, even if you do not know the answer, make a guess. It can increase your chance of getting the desired score.
  • Read the instructions and use the correct number of words (one, two, or three) to answer the question.
  • Write your answer in capital letters to avoid incorrect capitalization. Answers in capital letters are also easy to read.

We hope this blog will help you score better in the IELTS Listening test. Using the above tips and strategies, you can ace the IELTS Test with the desired score and accomplish your future goals for a career abroad. We also advise you to dedicate more time to practicing previous IELTS Listening papers. 

Keep practicing until you get what you deserve. Good luck!

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Answers for sample task: 

27) motivation

28) time(-)management 

29) modules 

30 )summer school(s)



  • How can I improve my listening skills in IELTS?

    To enhance your IELTS listening skills, practice with past IELTS listening tests and use resources such as podcasts, movies, and TV shows. Also, focus on understanding the main ideas and key details, take notes, and familiarise yourself with the test format.

  • How can I get 8.5 in IELTS listening?

    Scoring an 8.5 in IELTS listening requires regular practice with authentic listening materials and a strategic approach. In addition to this, you should also practice active listening skills, such as identifying main ideas, supporting details, and relationships between information.

  • How can I improve my IELTS listening from 6.5 to 8?

    To boost your IELTS listening performance, you must thoroughly understand the different question types, improve your vocabulary and grammar, and develop your ability to anticipate what you’ll hear. Additionally, understand the main ideas and key details, and develop your note-taking skills.

  • What steps must you follow to answer note completion questions in the IELTS listening test?

    You must follow the below steps to answer note completion questions in the listening test:

    1). Read the question.

    2). Identify Keywords

    3). Predict the answer

    4). Use synonyms

    5). Use correct grammar

    6). Check your answer.

  • Why is listening difficult in IELTS?

    Listening can be difficult in IELTS for various reasons, such as the use of different accents, fast-paced speech, and presence of distractors. Additionally, the test requires the ability to understand complex ideas and critical details, which can pose a challenge for some test-takers.

Written By

Kirati Shah

Kirati Shah is a certified IELTS/TOEFL/PTE Trainer with 10 years of experience. She is on a mission to provide good quality lessons about IELTS and PTE through blogs and videos that can help students get their desired score and achieve their dream to migrate/study abroad.


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