ielts guide

How to Answer IELTS Listening Sentence Completion Questions

Ron Ross October 12th, 2021

In your IELTS preparation, you'll need to practice a total of 6 IELTS listening question types. In this post, we'll look at the Sentence Completion IELTS listening question type in detail and provide you with 33 IELTS listening Sentence Completion practice questions.

First, join IELTS Instructor Tina below to learn how to approach an IELTS listening Sentence Completion question.

Table Of Contents

IELTS Listening Sentence Completion Question Introduction

The sentence completion question type requires you to complete a sentence with a short answer. The sentence will almost always be a paraphrase of something you'll hear in the passage. In other words, don't expect to hear a speaker say the exact sentence as it's written in the question.

Below is a sample practice. Give it a try!

Questions 1-4
Complete the sentences below.

Write NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS for each answer.

Studying with the Open University demanded a great deal of .

Studying and working at the same time improved Rachel's skills.

It was helpful that the course was structured in .

She enjoyed meeting other students at .

  • spellcheck Answers
    1. motivation
    2. time management / time-management
    3. modules
    4. summer school / summer schools
Listening Script

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 no-one 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?

Practice this sample practice on our IELTS App

Now that you're familiar with the Sentence Completion question type, it's time to teach you some IELTS Listening tips & strategies for successfully answering a Sentence Completion question.

How to Answer Sentence Completion Questions

1. First, Read the Sentences - Reading the information will always be the first step in any listening prompt. Why? You do not want to listen blindly and hear key words for the first time. Instead, you should be preparing yourself and reading the sentences given to you before the listening prompt is played. Generally, you will have about 20 seconds to do this. Reading the information will also allow you to become familiar with the topic, which is particularly helpful for the more abstract and educational topics (Sections 3 and 4). Today’s listening will focus on Section 3, so be sure to use this tip!

2. Underline Key Words - With time and practice, you can combine Steps 1 and 2. Thus, this step can be done while you are reading the sentences or afterwards. We suggest trying to combine the first two steps, as you will only have around 20 seconds to read the information prior to listening to the prompts. For the Sentence Completion activity, you may have more things to underline and understand, especially with Step 3. With this in mind, practice your multitasking skills and combine these steps when you can.

3. Understand Grammar - This is probably the most difficult part of the Sentence Completion question type in the Listening section, but it is the most beneficial. Of course we must pay attention to the sentences that need to be completed, but special attention should also be paid to the words right before the gap. Why? This will help you specify the type of word you should be listening for, and then writing out.

4. Make a Chart - Now, it’s time to listen to the listening prompt. Use your test booklet and questions to your advantage. No one will judge your score based on the notes you take, so make sure it is understandable to you. Using proper grammar and correct spelling is not necessary in this case. What is necessary, though, is that you can differentiate the people speaking in the prompt and understand what is being said. We will detail this step in the example below. Additionally, you should pay close attention to the section you are in. Making a chart is best for Sections 1 and 3, which feature more than one speaker. Remember: information will come in order for the Sentence Completion question type. If you get side-tracked and miss information, continue right where you left off. 

5. Be Accurate - Last of all, be sure to be accurate. While this may seem like common sense, many candidates make silly errors that cost them valuable points in the scoring process. It is extremely important to be accurate when writing out your answers, and especially when transferring them to the answer sheet (for paper-based candidates). Remember that someone else will be reading (and judging) your written answers. For this reason, it is best to write in all CAPITAL LETTERS in order to ensure neatness and legibility, especially in this Sentence Completion section.


Here are some brief tips to remember when approaching this question type:


  • Utilize the 20 seconds you will have prior to hearing the listening prompt and read the information first, underline your key words, and think about the types of words that could be missing from the gaps.
  • Remember that the answers will come in order during the Sentence Completion Listening prompt. This means that you should keep notes for your chart! Doing so will help you pick up where you left off if you miss something, and it will help you understand each speaker’s thoughts.
  • Find a chart-making technique that works for you. Feel free to experiment during your practice sessions and try writing in the margins or close to your answer options. Make it easy to reference afterwards if necessary.
  • Study up on your parts of speech and grammar. The more you study, the more you will increase your chances of writing the correct answer.
  • As always, you should write the words clearly in capital letters.


  • Waste your time before and after the listening prompt is played. Think of these 30 minutes of the listening exam as ‘game time’, and actively listen or read the questions as much as you can! 
  • Focus on only one aspect of the process. In other words, don’t just listen, don’t just read, and don’t just answer. You will need to combine these three tasks in order to have enough time in this section. In other words: make sure to multitask. 
  • Leave anything blank! Even if the exam is difficult, choose your best guess in order to maximize your chances of scoring high. 
  • Write the incorrect amount of words. We suggest reading the instructions clearly so as to understand just how many words to write. 

IELTS Listening Sentence Completion Practice List

Now it is time to practice! Check out the following Sentence Completion practice questions.

IELTS Listening - Sentence Completion Questions Practice List

33 IELTS Listening sentence completion Questions
Section 1
IELTS Listening Practice 61
Lake District
(multiple choice/sentence completion)
Section 2
IELTS Listening Practice 14
Beamish Farming Village Museum
(sentence completion/diagram labelling)
IELTS Listening Practice 18
(sentence completion/table completion)
IELTS Listening Practice 30
Natural History Museum 
(sentence completion/multiple choice)
IELTS Listening Practice 54
Castle Visitor Centre
(sentence completion/matching)
IELTS Listening Practice 66
Windsor Safari Park
(sentence completion/multiple choice)
IELTS Listening Practice 94
Nature Trail
(sentence completion/multiple choice)
IELTS Listening Practice 98
Interior design: sofas
(sentence completion/table completion)
Section 3
IELTS Listening Practice 3
Biology paper
(multiple choice/sentence completion)
IELTS Listening Practice 7
Marketing strategies
(multiple choice/sentence completion/multiple selection)
IELTS Listening Practice 31
Psychology assignment 
(sentence completion/matching)
IELTS Listening Practice 47
Management styles
(note completion/multiple choice/sentence completion)
IELTS Listening Practice 51
Working patterns 
(note completion/multiple choice/sentence completion)
IELTS Listening Practice 55
Career planning strategies
(note completion/multiple choice/sentence completion)
IELTS Listening Practice 59
Marita's presentation
(multiple choice/sentence completion)
IELTS Listening Practice 63
The pros and cons of machine translation
(multiple choice/sentence completion)
IELTS Listening Practice 67
A Discussion between a Professor and a Student
(sentence completion/matching)
IELTS Listening Practice 75
Autonomous cars
(note completion/multiple choice/sentence completion)
IELTS Listening Practice 79
The role of technology in language learning
(multiple choice/sentence completion)
IELTS Listening Practice 95
Getting Advice from Dr. Jackson
(sentence completion/matching)
IELTS Listening Practice 119
The History of Toothbrushes
(multiple choice/sentence completion)
IELTS Listening Practice 129
Open University (Video Explanation Included)
(sentence completion)
Section 4
IELTS Listening Practice 8
Training session on Space Management
(table completion/sentence completion)
IELTS Listening Practice 16
 Yellowstone Park
(sentence completion)
IELTS Listening Practice 32
History of the city of St. Petersburg
(sentence completion)
IELTS Listening Practice 40
Chewing gum
(table completion/sentence completion)
IELTS Listening Practice 48
(note completion/sentence completion)
IELTS Listening Practice 52
(note completion/sentence completion)
IELTS Listening Practice 56
Data mining
(note completion/sentence completion)
IELTS Listening Practice 60
(multiple choice/sentence completion)
IELTS Listening Practice 68
A Lecture on the History of Aviation
(sentence completion)
IELTS Listening Practice 96
Introductory Lecture on Archaeology
(note completion/sentence completion)
IELTS Listening Practice 108
A lecture on red squirrel conservation in the UK
(sentence completion/table completion)

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