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How to Answer IELTS Reading Summary Completion Questions

Ron Ross April 8th, 2020

In your IELTS preparation, you'll need to practice a total of 11 IELTS reading question types. In this post, we'll look at the Summary Completion IELTS reading question type in detail and provide you with many IELTS reading Summary Completion practice questions.

First, join IELTS Instructor Tina below to learn how to approach an IELTS reading Summary Completion question. Click either General Training or Academic to watch the associated video lesson.


Table Of Contents

IELTS Reading Summary Completion Question Introduction

In this question type, you are given a summary of a section of the text, and are required to complete it with information drawn from the text. The summary will usually be of only one part of the passage rather than the whole. Let's look at some general notes about three different formats of this question type:

Sometimes, you will need to fill in the gaps choosing from a provided word bank. If this is the case, there are usually more words in the list than required to fill the gaps. Here's an example of a word bank:



Now, you may think that a word bank makes it easier to find the correct answer. However, keep in mind that a common "trick " for this section is to include an exact word from the passage in the word bank, which is actually the incorrect answer. Since most correct answers will be synonyms rather than an exact word from the text, don't always assume that options that are exact words from the passage are automatically correct.

Let's look at the next type.

If a word bank is not provided for you, you will need to choose the correct missing word(s) from the passage itself. The directions will specify up to how many words you can use. For example, you may see the following options: "NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER", "ONE WORD ONLY", or "NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS". The following is an example of a summary question type without a word bank:

Other times, you may be presented with a flow-chart, which presents information in boxes or steps, linked by arrows, to show a sequence of events. In this case, some of the boxes may be empty (or partially empty). The following is an example of a flow-chart:

Below is a sample practice. Give it a try! Remember to click either General Training or Academic based on the IELTS test you are taking or plan to take.

Questions 1-7
Complete the summary using the list of words, A-J, below.
  1. inquiry
  2. video
  3. universities
  4. guidelines
  5. inconsistencies
  6. outcomes
  7. transfer
  8. violations
  9. programs
  10. publication

Qualified graduate students are welcomed to take part in an investigative journalism course, during which students will conduct an in-depth  of the National Collegiate Athletic AssocIation's (NCAA) actions. With the guidance of Professor Bill Findhurst, students will uncover broad  in legal results of various NCAA issues. Specifically, they will examine from the past decade. Past studies into this matter have shown that the  of cheaters to different institutions is a common practice. Additionally, students will compare sanctions from well-known and their smaller, lesser-known counterparts. The unchanged NCAA will also be studied. The final product will result in a polished   and potential film.


  • spellcheck Answers
    1. A
    2. E
    3. H
    4. G
    5. C
    6. D
    7. J

Read the information below and answer questions 1-7.

Calling All Graduate Students in Investigative Journalism! 

WHO: Gray Mount University graduate students wishing to be part of a major long-form journalism investigation into the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) may sign up for the JOUR 595 Specialized Reporting course.  The JOUR 595 course can be substituted for the JOUR 502 publication project course. 

WHEN: The class will take place during the Spring 2019 semester. The class will meet at 6 p.m. on Tuesday evenings.

WHAT: In this course, Gray Mount graduate students will conduct a probe into the actions of the NCAA on a variety of fronts. Under the discretion of Professor Bill Findhurst, Gray Mount students will document wide disparities in legal outcomes in an assortment of sanctions handed up by the NCAA over the past decade.

This course will seek to expand upon Gray Mount's previous results: The study of the “Pay for Play” issue found numerous instances where disparity seems to be the rule rather than the exception.  Our review of a wide assortment of NCAA violations by coaches has uncovered 74 instances of cheating offences, and has traced numerous cases where cheating athletes move from university to university without punishment by the NCAAThe probe will also examine the wide disparity in a comparison of sanctions against coaches at high profile schools versus smaller programs.

In addition to documenting the conferences and schools with the most violations, we have scrutinized the NCAA policies in the wildly popular “social network” craze and a variety of other rules, which has brought us to the question of whether the punishment in many cases fits the crime, especially since no substantial changes in NCAA rules have been implemented since 1985.

The project will be completed in Spring 2019 through diligent reporting, finding real people who have been affected by the issues above, and writing seamless long-form narrative about all of these issues.

The outcome will be a professionally polished series of reports that will be published and possibly framed into a documentary-length film.

CONTACT: Students must have completed 18 credit hours of coursework in the School of Communication. Anyone with questions can contact Professor Bill Findhurst at Bfindhurst@graymount.edu or 814-393-3226.


Read the information and answer the questions 8-14 below.

URGENT! Recall on Parkhurst Cat Food

Parkhurst Inc. would like to notify the public regarding a recent recall on the Parkhurst Cat Food: Kitten Mix product. The recall is due to the possibility of bacteria that may have been leaked into the factory's food processor. Please note that this recall does not affect all Parkhurst products, but only the Cat Food: Kitten Mix product.

The affected bags include the serial numbers K70 to K879. Customers will be able to find these serial numbers on the bottom of each bag. In the case that you are not sure where to find the serial number, or if it is illegible, feel free to contact Customer Service at 807-377-2472.

If your cat has ingested the affected Kitten Mix product and is showing signs of sickness, please seek immediate care from a qualified veterinarian. To date, symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and sluggish behavior.

If you are currently in possession of any of these affected bags, you can return them to the store from which they were purchased. All customers who return the product will be entitled to a gift certificate for any Parkhurst product.

The Kitten Mix product will be back on shelves in approximately two weeks. Until then, we are happy to announce that our Small Cat product can be used as a suitable alternative.

1. The statement, “In this course, Gray Mount graduate students will conduct a probe into the actions of the NCAA on a variety of fronts.” should be used to understand this question. In this case, 'inquiry' is a synonym for 'probe'.
2. The first half of the statement, “Under the discretion of Professor Bill Findhurst, Gray Mount students will document wide disparities in legal outcomes in an assortment of sanctions handed up by the NCAA over the past decade.” should be used to understand this question. In this case, 'inconsistencies' is a synonym for 'disparities'.
3. The second half of the statement, “Under the discretion of Professor Bill Findhurst, Gray Mount students will document wide disparities in legal outcomes in an assortment of sanctions handed up by the NCAA over the past decade.” should be used to understand this question. In this case, 'violations' is a synonym for 'sanctions'.
4. The statement, “...and has traced numerous cases where cheating athletes move from university to university without punishment by the NCAA.” should be used to answer this question. The 'transfer' is another way to say 'move from university to university'.  
5. The statement, “The probe will also examine the wide disparity in a comparison of sanctions against coaches at high profile schools versus smaller programs.” should be used to answer this question. 'High profile' is a synonym for 'well-known'.
6. The statement, “...especially since no substantial changes in NCAA rules have been implemented since 1985.” should be used to answer this question. 'No substantial changes' is another way to say 'unchanged', and 'rules' is another way to say 'guidelines.
7. The statement, “The outcome will be a professionally polished series of reports that will be published and possibly framed into a documentary-length film.” should be used to answer this question. “Polished series of reports that will be published” can also be described as a “publication”.
8. The statement, “The recall is due to the possibility of bacteria that may have been leaked into the factory's food processor.” proves that this is correct.
9. The statement, “The recall is due to the possibility of bacteria that may have been leaked into the factory's food processor.” proves that this is correct.
10. The statement, “Customers will be able to find these serial numbers on the bottom of each bag.” proves that this is correct.
11. The statement, “In the case that you are not sure where to find the serial number, or if it is illegible, feel free to contact Customer Service at 807-377-2472.” proves that this is correct.
12. The statement, “If your cat has ingested the affected Kitten Mix product and is showing signs of sickness, please seek immediate care from a qualified veterinarian” proves that this is correct.
13. The statement, “All customers who return the product will be entitled to a gift certificate for any Parkhurst product.” proves that this is correct.
14. The statement, “The Kitten Mix product will be back on shelves in approximately two weeks.” proves that this is correct.

Practice this sample practice on our IELTS App

Questions 1-4
Complete the summary using the list of words, A-I, below.
  1. descriptivists
  2. language experts
  3. popular speech
  4. formal language
  5. evaluation
  6. rules
  7. modern linguists
  8. prescriptivists
  9. change

According to , there is only one correct form of language. Linguists who take this approach to language place great importance on grammatical . Conversely, the view of , such as Joseph Priestley, is that grammar should be based on .


  • spellcheck Answers
    1. H
    2. F
    3. A
    4. C
Reading Passage

In its most general sense, prescriptivism is the view that one variety of language has an inherently higher value than others, and that this ought to be imposed on the whole of the speech community. The view is propounded especially in relation to grammar and vocabulary, and frequently with reference to pronunciation. The variety which is favoured, in this account, is usually a version of the 'standard' written language, especially as encountered in literature, or in the formal spoken language which most closely reflects this style. Adherents to this variety are said to speak or write 'correctly'; deviations from it are said to be 'incorrect!

All the main languages have been studied prescriptively, especially in the 18th century approach to the writing of grammars and dictionaries. The aims of these early grammarians were threefold: (a) they wanted to codify the principles of their languages, to show that there was a system beneath the apparent chaos of usage, (b) they wanted a means of settling disputes over usage, and (c) they wanted to point out what they felt to be common errors, in order to 'improve' the language. The authoritarian nature of the approach is best characterised by its reliance on 'rules' of grammar. Some usages are 'prescribed,' to be learned and followed accurately; others are 'proscribed,' to be avoided. In this early period, there were no half-measures: usage was either right or wrong, and it was the task of the grammarian not simply to record alternatives, but to pronounce judgement upon them.

These attitudes are still with us, and they motivate a widespread concern that linguistic standards should be maintained. Nevertheless, there is an alternative point of view that is concerned less with standards than with the facts of linguistic usage. This approach is summarised in the statement that it is the task of the grammarian to describe, not prescribe to record the facts of linguistic diversity, and not to attempt the impossible tasks of evaluating language variation or halting language change. In the second half of the 18th century, we already find advocates of this view, such as Joseph Priestiey whose Rudiments of English Grammar (1761) insists that 'the custom of speaking is the original and only just standard of any language! Linguistic issues, it is argued, cannot be solved by logic and legislation. And this view has become the tenet of the modern linguistic approach to grammatical analysis.

In our own time, the opposition between 'descriptivists' and 'prescriptivists' has often become extreme, with both sides painting unreal pictures of the other. Descriptive grammarians have been presented as people who do not care about standards, because of the way they see all forms of usage as equally valid. Prescriptive grammarians have been presented as blind adherents to a historical tradition. The opposition has even been presented in quasi-political terms - of radical liberalism vs elitist conservatism.

Practice this sample practice on our IELTS App

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

How to Answer Summary Completion Questions

The first two steps contain "preparation work", which will be done while reading the summary paragraph or flow-chart. The last step is to be done with the reading passage itself.

1. Read the Question Paragraph and Underline Key Words - It's a good idea to read the paragraph question or flow-chart first, so that you are able to recognize the main theme. This will later help you identify which section of the passage contains the information for the gap fill. At the same time, underline key words that call your attention.

2. Identify Grammar (and Analyze Word Bank) - Now that you've understood the theme of the passage, think about the parts of speech for the missing words. Does the gap fill require a noun, verb, adjective, or adverb? You can make brief notes for yourself in the gap fill, which will help you later on, when you need to write the missing word. This step is important because you will not receive a point if the spelling or grammar of the word(s) are incorrect.

(This step is to be done if a Word Bank is included). As you are identifying grammar, look at your options in the word bank. If you see that an answer must be a verb, you can effectively eliminate the options that are not verbs. Not only will this save you time in the long-run, but you are further understanding the theme of the passage and the available options.

3. Scan the Passage - Next, scan the Passage. Remembering the theme you found in the first step, scan the passage. When you've found a section that has a similar theme, you can start scanning for information. Instead of looking for words that directly match the phrases in the summary question, look for synonyms. It's a good idea to block off the section of the text that relates to the summary paragraph, so that you have a reference to go back to once you start answering your questions.

After you've done this, start answering your questions. Remember to go back to the reference section in the passage if need be.

Recap

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

Do:

  • Read the summarized information and get an idea of the theme.
  • If a word bank is available, look at possible solutions and pick out options that would or would not work for certain questions.
  • Identify the parts of speech that would fit in the gaps. This will make it easier when it comes time to write down your answers.
  • Scan the passage looking for key words.
  • Write the correct amount of words or numbers on your answer sheet.
  • Remember that answers will most likely come in order.

Don't:

  • Read the passage first.
  • Read for general information.
  • Misspell words or use incorrect grammar.
  • Choose an identical word that is presented in the passage and word bank just because it is the same—remember that this is a common trick used for this question type.

IELTS Reading Summary Completion Practice List

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

Academic Reading - Summary Completion Questions Practice List

summary completion Practice 1 - 16
Practice 1Practice 2Practice 3Practice 4Practice 5Practice 6Practice 7Practice 8Practice 9Practice 10Practice 11Practice 12Practice 13Practice 14Practice 15Practice 16
summary completion Practice 17 - 32
Practice 17Practice 18

General Reading - Summary Completion Questions Practice List

summary completion Practice 1 - 16
Practice 1Practice 2Practice 3Practice 4Practice 5Practice 6Practice 7Practice 8Practice 9Practice 10Practice 11Practice 12Practice 13


 
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