Question type 4 of 6: Sentence completion questions in IELTS listeningQuestion type 4 of 6: Sentence completion questions in IELTS listening. On this page, we will look at the third of the 6 types of question used in the IELTS listening test – Sentence completion questions in IELTS listening.

What do I have to do for Sentence completion questions in IELTS listening?

All you need to do for this question type is to complete a sentence using words from the recording. The word or words you are looking for could be at the beginning, middle or end of the sentence.

Here’s an example:

Questions 31 and 32

Complete the sentences below.

Write NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS OR A NUMBER  for each answer.

  1. Although New Zealand is relatively young, small and ________________ it is able to demonstrate its presence in an international sporting context.
  2. In _________ Charles Munro introduced rugby to New Zealand from the UK.

What is this question type testing my ability to do?

With this question type, you need to identify key points in the recording and understand rephrased sentences.

What are the best steps for answering Sentence completion questions in IELTS listening?

There are 7 steps that we recommend following for this question type:

Step 1 – Instructions: Read the instruction words carefully regarding the number of words / numbers you need.

Step 2 – Keywords: Identify keywords and consider how they might be rephrased and what they suggest you will need to listen for

Step 3 – Predict: Predict the type of answer you are looking for – what word group (adjective / noun etc)? Is it a number? A name?

Step 4 – Prepare: Look at the next question. This is an essential step in the IELTS listening test. If you are aware of what the next question is about and then you hear it, you know you’ve missed the answer you were waiting for! Although that’s not good news, it’s better than waiting for an answer that’s already gone and missing subsequent answers.

Step 5 – Follow: As you listen follow the information already given in the question

Step 6 – Listen: Identify your answer

Step 7 – Write / Type: Write or type your answer but keep listening


What useful tips are there for this question type?

  • TIP 1 –  Follow the instructions for the number of words
  • TIP 2 – Wrong spelling will cost you a point
  • TIP 3 – Consider the grammar of the section you are completing
  • TIP 4 –  Predict a possible answer but remain open-minded
  • TIP 5 – The question paper will paraphrase / rephrase the information from the recording
  • TIP 6 – Always write the words exactly as you hear them
  • TIP 7 – Read the answer in context

Now practice!

Click the link in the table below to test your skills with Sentence completion questions in IELTS listening.