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How to Answer IELTS Reading Table Completion Questions

Kayla C. 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 Table Completion IELTS reading question type in detail and provide you with many IELTS reading Table Completion practice questions.

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


Table Of Contents

IELTS Reading Table Completion Question Introduction

In this question type, you will be presented with an incomplete table of information, which either summaries or paraphrases information given in the reading text. You will need to locate specific information in the passage, choose the appropriate words, and understand the details of the text. You will be instructed as to how many words you can use for the completion. 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.

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. 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.

The amount of questions included in a table completion varies. If anything, this section is the most likely to not have information in the same order as it is listed. One reason for this is that it is often presented in a table of notes.

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 table below.

Choose NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from the passage for each answer.

Write your answers in 1-7 on your answer sheet.
Reasoning or Cause Guideline or Effect
In order to clients and uphold company values... ...employees must uphold a sophisticated .
If employees have doubts on the dress code... ...they should consult the .
If an employee has a visible ... ...they will receive a from their Direct Supervisor.
Employees may be sensitive to chemicals... ...therefore, must not be used in excess.
By donating $10.00... Employees can participate in company-wide .

  • spellcheck Answers
    1. assist/effectively assist/effectively assist our
    2. appearance
    3. employee handbook
    4. tattoo
    5. written warning
    6. perfumes and fragrances/fragrances and perfumes
    7. Relaxed Casual Days

Read the text below and answer questions 15-21.

Company Dress Code

At Allegheny Limited, we pride ourselves in presenting a professional atmosphere in the office and with our distinguished clients. In order to effectively assist our clients and customers who need our professional input, we expect our employees to maintain a dignified appearance. While we have begun to offer up alternative solutions during the work-week and relaxed our standards, we expect our employees to use the Employee Handbook in times of doubt or clarification.

Basic Guidelines

Allegheny Limited requires all employees to wear formal attire each day. On a basic level, this includes a matching two-piece suit for both men and women. However, in some cases, alternative jackets and pants (for men) and skirts and pants (for women) will suffice. Employees must not wear clothing that is torn or dirty. Of course, we ask that employees use their best judgement when deciding what to wear to the office. In the case that a doubt arises, please check our Employee Handbook on the company website.

Footwear

For women, heels must be tasteful and are not to exceed 5 inches. For men, shoes must be cleaned and formal. In general, appropriate shoes include and are not limited to: dress shoes, loafers, flats, or heels. Sneakers or backless shoes are not acceptable.

Tattoos

All tattoos must be covered by clothing and unable to be seen, even during Relaxed Casual Days, explained below. If employees are in the office with visible tattoos, they will receive a written warning from their direct supervisor.

Accessories

Men must wear ties with suits and jackets during the work day. Women are asked to use good judgement in accessories without wearing anything considered too extravagant for the office setting. However, please note that employees may be sensitive to chemicals in perfumes. Thus, we urge our employees to use perfumes and fragrances as sparingly as possible.

Hats and Religious Covers

Allegheny Limited is an equal opportunity employer. Thus, all religious head covers or those that honor one's culture are permitted. Hats, however, are not allowed in the office.

Relaxed Casual Days

Due to our participation in national fundraisers, our entire company reserves various days for “Relaxed Casual Days” in order to support our causes. In order to participate, employees must pay a $10.00 fee for the day, which goes directly to the cause at hand. While we strongly encourage our employees to wear clothing that has our company logo, any type of business casual attire will be accepted during these days. Keep in mind, however, that jackets should be kept in the office in the case that a visiting client stops by the office.

Violations

If the employee dress code does not meet the aforementioned standards, the employee will receive a written warning. If the problem persists, a mandatory meeting with the employee's direct supervisor will be necessary, as well as possible punitive action in terms of pay.

Read the text below and answer questions 22-27.

While it's only been on Working Career Mom's 100 Best Companies for two years, the Winston Daniels Co. has a long history of influencing women's ability to balance work and life.

Winston Daniels Co. is honored to be considered a nonprofit with limited resources that can make this distinguished list five years in a row! This shows that any company truly dedicated to supporting mothers and families can make a difference for its employees. We are pleased to offer policies and benefits that promote the health of babies and mothers.

Among the benefits Winston Daniels Co. offers to new mothers are:

  • Full-time pay for up to 6 months while on maternity leave.
  • 100% medical coverage for all maternity and childbirth costs.
  • Covering 50% of all nursery and nanny expenses.
  • Salary continuation plan for short-term disability.
  • 10 extra “sick pay days” for use when a child or dependent is ill. These days are accurable over time. 
  • Prenatal kits at work 
  • An extra bonus of up to $5,000 for those who choose to adopt.
  • Flexible work-from-home offerings. This includes up to 20% of the work-week spent working from home. Mothers will also be able to compress weeks in order to best fit their schedules. For example, they can work 10 hour days from Monday - Thursday, or work on weekends.

...and that's not all! 

Winston Daniels Co. also offers an Employee Assistance Program. What does this include? In addition to immediate medical coverage, starting on the first day of employment for expectant mothers, it also covers significant others, regardless of legal marital status. We also include paid time off (up to 4 weeks) for new fathers/significant others for the birth of a child and an additional paid week off if their newborn requires a NICU treatment. Additionally, we include paid time off (1 week) for adoption or foster care placement of a child.

In some cases, extended parental leave of absence is necessary. We understand this and can offer an additional six months of unpaid leave for new mothers. Expectant mothers may request two months of this leave prior to the delivery date, even if it is not medically necessary. 

15. assist - The statement, “In order to effectively assist our clients and customers who need our professional input, we expect our employees to maintain a dignified appearance.” proves this to be correct.
16. appearance - The statement, “In order to effectively assist our clients and customers who need our professional input, we expect our employees to maintain a dignified appearance.” proves this to be correct.
17. employee handbook - The statements, “we expect our employees to use the Employee Handbook in times of doubt or clarification.” and “In the case that a doubt arises, please check our Employee Handbook on the company website.” prove this to be correct.
18. tattoo - The statement, “If employees are in the office with visible tattoos, they will receive a written warning from their direct supervisor.” proves this to be correct.
19. written warning - The statement, “If employees are in the office with visible tattoos, they will receive a written warning from their direct supervisor.” proves this to be correct.
20. Perfumes and fragrances - The statement, “Thus, we urge our employees to use perfumes and fragrances as sparingly as possible.” proves this to be correct.
21. Relaxed Casual Days  - The statements, “Due to our participation in national fundraisers, our entire company reserves various days for “Relaxed Casual Days” in order to support our causes. In order to participate, employees must pay a $10.00 fee for the day, which goes directly to the cause at hand.” prove this to be correct.

22. A - The statements, “Winston Daniels Co. is honored to be considered a nonprofit with limited resources that can make this distinguished list five years in a row! This shows that any company truly dedicated to supporting mothers and families can make a difference for its employees.” show that this is correct. “Household units”, as used in option A, is synonymous with “mothers and families”. The passage also states that the company is a nonprofit. This answer should not be confused with C, which uses the phrase “for the past five years”, because it has only made a distinguished list for five years in a row. This answer should also not be confused with D, which uses the phrase “promotes the health of…”, because the passage specifies only “babies and mothers”. Option B is also incorrect because the passage does not mention yearly donations from profit companies.
23. C - The statement, “An extra bonus of up to $5,000 for those who choose to adopt.” shows that C is the correct answer. The answer option is “an extra bonus of $5,000 related to childbirth costs”, whereas the passage specifies this bonus for those who choose to adopt. Therefore, this is not included in an offer for new mothers and is correct for this answer. Option A is included in the plan, as proved by the statement: “Salary continuation plan for short-term disability.”. Option B is included in the plan, as proved by the statement, “Covering 50% of all nursery and nanny expenses.” (since childminding services is a way to say “nanny” or “nursery”). Option D is included in the plan, as proved by the statement, “Flexible work-from-home offerings.”
24. A - The statement, “100% medical coverage for all maternity and childbirth costs.” proves this to be correct, since “expenses related to giving birth” is another way to say “maternity and childbirth costs”. Option B is incorrect because “Covering 50% of all nursery and nanny expenses.” proves it is only partially, and not fully, covered. Option C is incorrect because “An extra bonus of up to $5,000 for those who choose to adopt.” shows that only $5,000 is given as a bonus, and it is not clear whether or not this is “fully covered”. Option D is incorrect because “Salary continuation plan for short-term disability.” does not specify whether or not it is for six months, and the key word “six months” is located only in the “Full-time pay for up to six months” line in the beginning of this section. 
25. D - The statement, “In addition to immediate medical coverage, starting on the first day of employment for expectant mothers, it also covers significant others, regardless of legal marital status.” proves that this is correct, since employees expecting a child are covered starting on the first day of employment. Option A is not correct because legal marital status is not necessary (“...it also covers significant others, regardless of legal marital status.”). Option B is not correct because although significant others can receive medical coverage, it does not happen before the employee's initial start date. Option C is incorrect because the passage does not state that the paid time off for adoption or foster care is negotiable (“Additionally, we include paid time off (one week) for adoption or foster care placement of a child.”).
26. B - The statement, “ We also include paid time off (up to four weeks) for new fathers/significant others for the birth of a child and an additional paid week off if their newborn requires a NICU treatment.” proves this to be correct. The “supplemental leave” is a synonym for “additional paid week off”, and “NICU treatment” is a specific example of specific hospital care. Option A is incorrect because it is not a minimum of five weeks of compensated leave in all cases, but “up to four weeks” generally. Option C is incorrect because the statement, “...and an additional paid week off if their newborn requires a NICU treatment.” does not mean that it is a minimum of one week. Option D is incorrect because the one week of paid time off for adoption services is not listed as negotiable in the passage (“Additionally, we include paid time off (one week) for adoption or foster care placement of a child.”).
27. D - This scenario is correct, due to the statement “Expectant mothers may request two months of this leave prior to the delivery date, even if it is not medically necessary.”. The scenario in option D states that the mother has a medical need, but it fits within the scope, as is noticed with the phrase “even if it is not necessary” in the passage. Option A is incorrect because of the phrase “even if it is not necessary” in the passage. Option B is incorrect because of the sentence “We understand this and can offer an additional six months of unpaid leave for new mothers.”. Option C is incorrect because significant others are not mentioned in the passage when it comes to the extended parental leave.

Practice this sample practice on our IELTS App

Questions 1-6
Complete the table below.

Choose NO MORE THAN TWO NUMBERS AND ONE WORD from the passage for each answer.

Write your answers in 1-6 on your answer sheet.
The Chelyabinsk meteor strike The Tunguska meteor strike
The meteor was 10 metres in diameter. The meteor was metres in diameter.
It travelled times faster than the speed of sound. It entered the atmosphere above Russia at about per hour.
It exploded above the Earth's surface. It exploded 28,000 feet above the earth's surface.
It released times more energy than the Hiroshima atomic bomb. It released 185 times more energy than the Hiroshima atomic bomb.
Meteor strikes of this kind occur on average every 10 years. Meteor strikes of this kind occur on average every years.

  • spellcheck Answers
    1. 36.5
    2. 50/fifty
    3. 54,000 kilometres/54,000 kilometers/54000 kilometres/ 54,000 kilometres
    4. 29.7 kilometres/ 29.7 kilometers/
    5. 20 to 30/20-30
    6. 1,200/1200
Reading Passage

On 15 February 2013, just after dawn the sleepy Russian city of Chelyabinsk was woken by the biggest meteor strike on Earth in over l00 years. Several people videoed the meteor as it crashed through Earth's atmosphere, passing close above the city and giving scientists vital clues as to where it had come from and how it had travelled to Earth. To the people of Chelyabinsk, the meteor shone 30 times brighter than the sun and had 20-30 times more energy than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The meteor did not hit the ground, but due to its enormous speed exploded 29.7 kilometres above the ground, producing a bright flash, a cloud of hot dust and gas, many smaller fragments of meteor and a powerful shock wave. The latter was so strong that it knocked people off their feet and blew out the windows of homes, shops and factories. 1,500 people went to hospital with injuries indirectly caused by the strike, but matters could have been far worse if the meteor had made contact with the Earth.

The meteor was not an uncommon rock. From studying videos of the meteor's flight, scientists have concluded that it originated in the asteroid belt located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. At the time it entered Earth's atmosphere, it weighed between 12,000 and 13,000 metric tonnes and was I0 metres in diameter. It crashed through the upper atmosphere at around 19 kilometres a second-above 50 times the speed of sound, facturing at an altitude of between 45 and 50 kilometres such events happen on average every I0 or so years, mainly over oceans or unpopulated areas. This time the strike was over a city and observed by many people, reminding us how common these occurrences are.

A meteor strike has several phases. Moving through space, a meteor's temperature can be around -100 C. It travels around 5 kilometres per second until Earth's gravity accelerates it to 1 7 kilometres a second. It begins to encounter the atmosphere 140 kilometres above the Earth but there is little air resistance until about three seconds later, when it reaches 100 kilometres above the ground. At this point the air becomes dense, causing the meteor to glow as the material on its surface melts. The mix of burning gas and dust creates a fireball as the meteor loses 3 to 6 millimeters of surface mass per second as it is heated to over 1800 C. The rate of loss of material through heat is so rapid that the core temperature of the meteor is still very low while at the same time a tail of vaporised dust and gas becomes visible. These tails can often be seen for up to 45 minutes and may be followed by a sonic boom as the meteor crashes through the sound barrier. During its flight to the Earth, the meteor slows down by 70 per cent and it is during this period that it may fracture and split. At this point some meteors explode in a violent airburst while others enter dark flight - the period when the meteor slows down so much that it stops burning and it falls to the ground as a cold rock.

The Chelyabinsk airburst left only a few large pieces of the meteor: one rock was recovered near the town of Timiyazevskiy, another fell on a house in Deputatskiy, and the largest piece was found by divers at the bottom of Lake Chebarkul. The meteor was the largest to crash to Earth since I908, when a meteor exploded over an area near the Tunguska River in Siberia. Although information about the event is scarce, the theory most scientists share is that an asteroid around 36.5 metres in diameter and travelling at 54,000 kilometres per hour entered the atmosphere above Russia. It exploded in an airburst at 28,000 feet, releasing energy equal to about 185 Hiroshima atomic bombs and flattening trees across an area of 800 square miles. Airbursts the size of Tunguska are estimated to occur every 1,200 years on average. But following the Chelyabinsk meteor, scientists now think the risk of similar objects hitting our planet may be ten times greater than thought previously.

 
1. 50 (fifty) – After scanning for “Chelyabinsk Meteor Strike” and then skimming, you will find the following statement: “It crashed through the upper atmosphere at around 19 kilometres a second – above 50 times the speed of sound.” Therefore, 50 is the answer.
 
2. 29.7 kilometres/kilometers - After scanning for “Chelyabinsk Meteor Strike” and then skimming, you will find the following statement in the beginning of the passage: “The meteor did not hit the ground, but due to its enormous speed exploded 29.7 kilometres above the ground…” Therefore, 29.7 kilometres is the answer.
 
3. 20 to 30 / 20-30 - After scanning for “Chelyabinsk Meteor Strike” and then skimming, you will find the following statement: “To the people of Chelyabinsk, the meteor shone 30 times brighter than the sun and had 20-30 times more energy than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.” Therefore, 20 to 30 OR 20-30 is the answer.
 
4. 36.5 - After scanning for “Tunguska Meteor Strike” and then skimming, you will find the following statement at the end of the passage: “Although information about the event is scarce, the theory most scientists share is that an asteroid around 36.5 metres in diameter…” Therefore, 36.5 is the answer.
 
5. 54,000 kilometres/kilometers - After scanning for “Tunguska Meteor Strike” and then skimming, you will find the following statement at the end of the passage: Although information about the event is scarce, the theory most scientists share is that an asteroid around 36.5 metres in diameter and travelling at 54,000 kilometres per hour entered the atmosphere above Russia.” Therefore, 54,000 kilometres is the answer.
 
6. 1,200  - After scanning for “Tunguska Meteor Strike” and then skimming, you will find the following statement: “Airbursts the size of Tunguska are estimated to occur every 1,200 years on average.” Therefore, 1,200 is the answer.

Practice this sample practice on our IELTS App

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

How to Answer Table Completion Questions

The first two steps contain preparation work, which will be done while reading the table itself. The last step is to be done with the reading passage.

1. Analyze the Table and Underline Key Words - It's a good idea to first look at the table and figure out the best way to read it. Perhaps the best way is from left to right, or to look at the headings (if they are present). This will help you get a sense of the information in the passage and the theme of the reading. Underlining is not as important in this case, because the notes in the Table Completion exercise are usually brief summaries already.

2. Identify Grammar - (This step can be done with the first step.) 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.

3. 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 table, 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.

What Not To Do:
Do not read the entire passage. As a general rule for the Reading section, it is not necessary and actually time-restrictive to read the entire passage, word for word. Be sure to use the scanning technique, first and foremost, for this section. Since the summary completion pertains to one section of the text, you will want to focus your attention on just that section.

Do not get confused if the table includes paraphrased information. Remember to scan for information and look for details in the passage, and recognize this common trick.

Do not misspell words or use incorrect grammar. Remember: you will receive an incorrect mark if this happens.

Recap

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

Do:

  • Analyze the table and understand the best way to approach it (left to right, top to bottom).
  • Read the summarized information in the table.
  • 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 keywords.
  • Write the correct amount of words or numbers on your answer sheet.

Don't:

  • Read the passage first.
  • Read for general information.
  • Write more words than necessary.
  • Misspell words or use incorrect grammar.

IELTS Reading Table Completion Practice List

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

Academic Reading - Table Completion Questions Practice List

table completion Practice 1 - 16
Practice 1Practice 2Practice 3Practice 4Practice 5Practice 6Practice 7

General Reading - Table Completion Questions Practice List

table completion Practice 1 - 16
Practice 1Practice 2


 
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