Flow-chart completion


In the IELTS Reading flow-chart completion question type you are given a flow-chart with blanks, and you have to fill in the blanks with answers from the given text. This question type is quite common in the IELTS test.

IELTS Reading flow-chart completion sample task

[Note: This is an extract from a Part 3 text about the effect of a low-calorie diet on the aging

Adapted from ‘The Serious Search for an Anti-Aging Pill’. Copyright © 2006 Scientific American, a
division of Nature America, Inc. All rights reserved.

No treatment on the market today has been proved to slow human aging. But one
intervention, consumption of a low-calorie∗ yet nutritionally balanced diet, works incredibly
well in a broad range of animals, increasing longevity and prolonging good health. Those
findings suggest that caloric restriction could delay aging and increase longevity in humans,
too. But what if someone could create a pill that mimicked the physiological effects of eating
less without actually forcing people to eat less, a ‘caloric-restriction mimetic’?

The best-studied candidate for a caloric-restriction mimetic, 2DG (2-deoxy-D-glucose), works
by interfering with the way cells process glucose. It has proved toxic at some doses in animals
and so cannot be used in humans. But it has demonstrated that chemicals can replicate the
effects of caloric restriction; the trick is finding the right one.

Cells use the glucose from food to generate ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the molecule that
powers many activities in the body. By limiting food intake, caloric restriction minimizes the
amount of glucose entering cells and decreases ATP generation. When 2DG is administered
to animals that eat normally, glucose reaches cells in abundance but the drug prevents most
of it from being processed and thus reduces ATP synthesis. Researchers have proposed
several explanations for why interruption of glucose processing and ATP production might
retard aging. One possibility relates to the ATP-making machinery’s emission of free
radicals, which are thought to contribute to aging and to such age-related diseases as cancer
by damaging cells. Reduced operation of the machinery should limit their production and
thereby constrain the damage. Another hypothesis suggests that decreased processing of
glucose could indicate to cells that food is scarce (even if it isn’t) and induce them to shift into
an anti-aging mode that emphasizes preservation of the organism over such ‘luxuries’ as
growth and reproduction.

Source: Official IELTS website www.https://ielts.org

IELTS Reading flow-chart completion sample question

Source: Official IELTS website www.https://ielts.org

IELTS Reading flow-chart completion tips

Don’t use synonyms to fill blanks

To complete the table you must use the exact words from the given text. Otherwise, your answer will be marked wrong.

Lookout for synonyms

A synonym is a similar meaning word. Look out for synonyms in the text as you will not find exact word-to-word matches.

Avoid grammatical mistakes

When completing the table ensure that the sentences are grammatically correct. Only correct answers will be grammatically correct.

IELTS Reading flow-chart completion strategy

Read the question

Read the question carefully to see how many words are needed to answer the question. In the example above, you must select NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the passage.

Look for clues in the flow-chart

Look at the flowchart carefully and identify any clues. Start by looking at the heading, this will tell you what the topic is. Then read and understand each part of the flowchart from top to bottom. This will give context to what you need to search for in the text.

Skim the text

Skim through the text to understand the meaning of each paragraph. You need to focus on what each paragraph conveys. This understanding of the topic of the text and each paragraph will come in handy when you search for the answers in the next steps.

Read the sentences

Read the sentences with gaps and understand their meaning. This will help you identify what you need to search for in the text.

Read the text

When you skimmed the text earlier, you identified each paragraph’s meaning. Use that knowledge to search for the keywords needed to fill the gap in the flowchart.

Check your answer

Check your answer to make sure it is grammatically correct.

Correct answers

1 glucose
2 free radicals
3 preservation

Work out the answers

As a first step, I read the question carefully and identified that I needed to fill in each blank with no more than two words from the given passage.

Then I looked at the flowchart for any clues.

How a caloric-restriction mimetic works

This heading tells us that the topic of the flowchart is how calorie restriction mimicry works. There are in total three blanks that need to be filled. the process talks about the reduction in the processing of something, which then leads to a decrease in the production of ATP. This is a big clue, we need to search for what leads to a decrease in the production of ATP in the given text, and we will find the answers around this statement.

Next, I skimmed through the text to understand the meaning of each paragraph. Then I read the sentences to understand their meaning. Next, I searched for the missing words in the text.

1. less 1…………….is processed.

By looking at the line above I could make out that I had to search for something that was getting processed less, which also reduced ATP production. Armed with this information I started reading through the text. The first paragraph gives an introduction to caloric restriction mimetic. the second paragraph builds upon the idea that a pill can mimic the same effect of restricting calories.

The third paragraph talks about the process of how caloric restriction works and what are its effects. Notice how minimizes is used as a synonym for less, less amount of glucose entering the cells decreases ATP generation. This means that glucose is the correct answer.

2. Theory 1:

cells less damaged by disease because
fewer 2……………are emitted

By looking at the sentence above I could make out that the first theory suggests that cells are damaged less because of something that is emitted less in number. Reading the extract below you can see how one possibility is used as a synonym for theory 1. Reduced operation of the machinery is used as a synonym for fewer It goes on to say that reduced operation leads to reduced production of free radicals which contribute to ageing and cancer. Free Radicals is the correct answer.

3. Theory 2:

cells focus on 3…………….because
food is in short supply

After looking at the sentence above I could make out that the second theory talks about what the cells focus on if the food is in short supply. Please note how another hypothesis is used as a synonym for theory 2, scarce is used as a synonym for short supply and emphasizes is used as a synonym for focus on. It is mentioned that when food is scarce the cells shift into an anti-aging mode that emphasizes preservation. Since cells emphasize preservation it is the correct answer.

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