Sentence completion


Sentence completion is an IELTS Listening task that requires you to listen to a recording and complete the sentences given by choosing the correct answers from the recording. In this question type, you will hear a conversation between two individuals talking about a training or an educational situation.

Sentence completion sample task

Sentence completion

Source: Official IELTS website www.


Before the recording

Read the question

Utilize the time before the recording to read the question carefully. Make a mental note of how many words can be used to answer the question as this can vary.


Write NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS for each answer

It is critical to stick to the word limit mentioned in the question or you will lose marks. The example above clearly states to use no more than two words. If you hear more than two words in the recording that seems like the answer stick to the word limit.

Predict the answer

These questions come in groups read each question, and understand what is being asked. Once you have understood the questions try to predict the answers.

Example of questions

Source: Official IELTS website www.

For question 27 you need to identify what was demanded a lot for studying at the open university.

Predicted answer –

27 Commitment/Dedication

For question 28 you need to identify which skill did study and working at the same time improve for Rachel.

Predicted answer –

28 Multitasking

For question 29 you need to identify what the course was structured in

Predicted answer –

29 Two sections

For question 30 you need to identify where the subject enjoyed meeting other students.

30 The Library

During the recording

Listen to the recording carefully

The recording will play only once so listen carefully to the recording to find the answer to the questions by selecting the correct answer option(s).

Identify the synonyms and paraphrasings

Synonyms and paraphrasing will be used throughout the recording.

A synonym is a similar meaning word.

Synonyms used in the recording

maintain a high level – a great deal
very good at – improved
what makes it easier – helpful

A paraphrase is to say something in your own words using different words to make it easier to understand.

Examples of paraphrasing

What makes it easier is that the degree is made up of modules

The recording will not match the sentences in the question word to word. It is important to understand the meaning of what is being said.

Correct answers

27 Motivation
28 Time management
29 Modules
30 Summer schools


Two friends, Rachel and Paul, are discussing studying at the Open University. Rachel has
already done a course at the university, but Paul has not. The extract relating to these
questions comes from the last part of the recording.

Paul The other thing I wanted to ask you was, did you find it hard, studying
with the Open University?

Rachel You mean, because you’re studying on your own, most of the time?

Paul Mm.

Rachel Well it took me a while to get used to it. I found I needed to maintain a
high level of motivation, because it’s so different from school. There’s noone saying, ‘Why haven’t you written your assignment yet?’ and that sort
of thing.

Paul Oh dear.

Rachel You’ll learn it, Paul. Another thing was that I got very good at time management because I had to fit time for studying round a full-time job.

Paul Well I’m hoping to change to working part-time, so that’ll help.

Rachel What makes it easier is that the degree is made up of modules, so you can
take time off between them if you need to. It isn’t like a traditional three or four-year course, where you’ve got to do the whole thing of it in one go.
Paul That’s good, because I’d like to spend six months travelling next year.

Rachel Huh, it’s all right for some. Then even though you’re mostly studying at
home, remember you’ve got tutors to help you, and from time to time
there are summer schools. They usually last a week. They’re great,
because you meet all the other people struggling with the same things as
you. I’ve made some really good friends that way.

Paul Sounds good. So how do I apply?

Source: Official IELTS website www.

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