Summary completion


In the IELTS reading summary completion task you will need to complete the blanks in a summary using the given words. You might have to fill in the blanks from a given text. This task is similar to filling in-the-blank tasks we have encountered in our academic lives.

IELTS Reading summary completion sample task

[Note: This is an extract from a Part 3 text about the ‘Plain English’ movement, which
promotes the use of clear English.]

‘The Cambridge Encyclopaedia of Language’, David Crystal, 3rd Edition, © Cambridge University
Press, 2010.

The instructions accompanying do-it-yourself products are regularly cited as a source
of unnecessary expense or frustration. Few companies seem to test their instructions
by having them followed by a first-time user. Often, essential information is omitted,
steps in the construction process are taken for granted, and some degree of special
knowledge is assumed. This is especially worrying in any fields where failure to
follow correct procedures can be dangerous.

Objections to material in plain English have come mainly from the legal profession.
Lawyers point to the risk of ambiguity inherent in the use of everyday language for
legal or official documents, and draw attention to the need for confidence in legal
formulations, which can come only from using language that has been tested in
courts over the course of centuries. The campaigners point out that there has been
no sudden increase in litigation as a consequence of the increase in plain English

Similarly, professionals in several different fields have defended their use of technical
and complex language as being the most precise means of expressing technical or
complex ideas. This is undoubtedly true: scientists, doctors, bankers and others need
their jargon in order to communicate with each other succinctly and unambiguously.
But when it comes to addressing the non-specialist consumer, the campaigners
argue, different criteria must apply.

Source: Official IELTS website www.

IELTS Reading summary completion sample question

Source: Official IELTS website www.

IELTS Reading Summary completion tips

Identify the synonyms and paraphrasings

Synonyms and paraphrasing will be used throughout the text. You should be able to identify the synonyms and paraphrasing used to be able to ace these questions.

Answers appear in the same order as the text

A saving grace about these questions is that the answers will appear in the same order in the text as the missing words. In rare cases, this order might not be followed.

Avoid wasting too much time on one blank

Avoid spending too much time on one blank. If needed make a guess and move to the next blank. You can always revisit the blank once all others have been completed.

Avoid grammatical mistakes

When completing the sentences ensure that the sentences are grammatically correct. Only correct answers will lead to grammatically correct sentences.

IELTS Reading Summary completion strategy

Read the question

Read the question carefully if it says CHOOSE NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the passage. Stick to the word limit. exceeding the limit will result in an incorrect answer.

Skim the text

Skim through the summary to understand its meaning at a high level.

Read the summary

Read the summary in detail and understand the meaning of each sentence. Identify keywords which you will search for in the given text. Try to predict the answer that will help complete the blanks.

Search the text

Search the given text for the keywords identified in the summary. Look for synonyms and paraphrases for the keywords when searching.

Identify the answer

Once you have identified the answer ensure it matches the word limit requirement of the question.

Check the answer

Once you have found the answer check and ensure the sentence is grammatically correct after filling in the blank. if the final sentence is not grammatically correct the answer you selected is probably incorrect.

Correct answers

1 frustration
2 first-time user
3 essential
4 special knowledge
5 legal formulations

Work out the answers

I first read the question and ascertained that no more than two words could fill each blank.

Then I read the summary to understand the meaning of it and identify the keywords.

I then skimmed through the text to locate the keyword or its synonym.

1. Consumers often complain that they experience a feeling of 1……………. when trying to put
together do-it-yourself products

After reading the sentence above I understood that I had to look for a negative feeling as consumers complain about this when they try to put together do-it-yourself products.

Do-it-yourself was the keyword I was searching for. It appears in the first sentence of the text. The negative feeling consumers experience with such products is frustration, so frustration is the answer.

2. do-it-yourself products which have not been tested by companies on a 2 ………….
In situations where not keeping to the correct procedures could affect safety issues

The second sentence speaks about the do-it-yourself products not getting tested on something.

test / tested is the keyword to search for in the text. In the sentence below it is mentioned that few companies test their instructions on first-time users. This means that first-time users are the correct answer.

3. It is especially important that 3…………….information is not left out and no assumptions are made

The third sentence talks about some information that shouldn’t be left out and assumptions that shouldn’t be made.

Information and assumptions are the keywords I searched for. Reading through the sentence below from the text it is clear that essential information is omitted which is the synonym for left out. It is assumed that users have some level of special knowledge. Essential is the correct answer.

4. no assumptions are made about a stage being self-evident or the consumer having a certain amount of 4 ………….

The fourth sentence mentions that no assumptions should be made if the consumer has any kind of previous knowledge about the subject or if the topic itself is self-explanatory.

Assumption/assumptions/assumed is the keyword that I searched for in the text. then I read the complete sentence and observed that Taken for granted is used as a synonym for self-evident and some degree is used as a synonym for certain amount. This means that special knowledge is the answer as it assumes that the user has some previous special knowledge.

5. Lawyers, however, have raised objections to the use of plain English. They feel that it would result in ambiguity in documents and cause people to lose faith in 5……………

The fifth sentence mentions that lawyers have objected to use of plain english in the instrctions of the do it yourself products as it will lead to ambiguity and people will lose faith.

I searched for objections, plain English and ambiguity as the keywords. After reading the extract from the text below you can see that lose faith has been used as a synonym for need for confidence. There is a need for confidence in legal formulations so legal formulations is the correct answer.

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