IELTS Reading- Sentence completion

IELTS Reading- Sentence completion

The test

  • In the reading test, candidates are required to complete a sentence
  • In this type of task, you are given sentences from the reading with a gap- you may have to fill it with words taken directly from the reading
  • Some tasks ask you to take the words exactly from the text, other’s do not- be sure to read this carefully
  • Grammar is important- you may need to change the function of the word. I.e. performance (seen in text) and performative (used in answer)

Practice exercises

  1. When reading a text, whether it's a newspaper article or a book you’re reading, focus on a paragraph and see if you can find synonyms for a selected amount of words. Write these next to the word.
  2. Start collating a ‘Synonym word bank’, referring to this often when practising your reading and writing.
  3. Summarise the reading; what is the message? What is the writer trying to get across? How would you summarise it to your friend?
  4. Practice fill gap exercises with your tutor where you fill in the covered word. This will help to craft the skill of making informed guesses as to what the word is, based on surrounding sentences.

Test tactics

  • Read the statements first
  • Locate synonyms of words in the statements in the passage
  • Note down synonyms in the questions, so you are more informed when looking for the answer in the text
  • Highlight the most important parts of sentences within each paragraph. You will naturally know where this lies, especially as the more general reading you do, the more you will notice sentence patterns and where the writer is leading up to their main point.

Key words

  • Paraphrase- to repeat something using different words. Your language needs to emulate the idea/message, but not be a carbon copy.
  • Synonym- a word or phrase that nearly has the same meaning. I.e. happy > joyful

Let’s practise

‘Climate change and farming driving insect decline’
Insect numbers have plunged by half in some parts of the world due to climate change and intensive agriculture, a study has found. The combined pressures of global heating and farming are driving a "substantial decline" of insects across the globe, according to UK researchers. They say we must acknowledge the threats we pose to insects, before some species are lost forever. But preserving habitat for nature could help ensure vital insects thrive.

Lead researcher, Dr Charlie Outhwaite of UCL, said losing insect populations could be harmful not only to the natural environment, but to "human health and food security, particularly with losses of pollinators".

"Our findings highlight the urgency of actions to preserve natural habitats, slow the expansion of high-intensity agriculture, and cut emissions to mitigate climate change," she added.

Plummeting populations of insects around the world - a so-called "insect apocalypse" - have caused widespread concern. However, scientific data gives a mixed picture, with some types of insects showing drastic declines, while others are staying steady. In the latest study, the researchers pulled together data on the range and number of nearly 20,000 insect species, including bees, ants, butterflies, grasshoppers and dragonflies, at about 6,000 different locations. In areas with high-intensity agriculture and substantial warming, insect numbers have plunged by 49% and the number of different species by 27%, compared with relatively untouched places that have so far avoided the most severe impacts of climate change, according to the research, published in Nature. But the researchers said there was some cause for hope in that setting aside areas of land for nature created a refuge for insects, which need shade to survive in hot weather. "Careful management of agricultural areas, such as preserving natural habitats near farmland, may help to ensure that vital insects can still thrive," said Dr Tim Newbold, also of UCL.

Potential solutions include:

  • Avoiding intensive agriculture
  • Planting a wide range of crops
  • Preserving natural habitat near farmland, such as hedgerows and patches of forest.

Study researcher, Peter McCann, added: "We need to acknowledge how important insects are for the environment as a whole, and for human health and wellbeing, in order to address the threats we pose to them before many species are lost forever."

  1. Insect numbers have dropped by half in certain parts of the world because of climate change and _________
  2. Experts have said that we need to accept the dangers we _______ to wildlife, before extinction of species occurs.
  3. However, maintaining habitats could ________ insects can not only survive, but thrive
  4. ___________ of insects globally - a so-called "insect apocalypse" - have created extensive worry.
  5. Contrastingly, scientific data can evoke some misunderstanding, with certain breeds of insects presenting _________, while others remain stable.
  6. In comparison to fairly untouched areas that have so far kept away from the most __________ of climate change, according to the research, published in Nature.
  7. But the researchers said there was reason to have hope because keeping areas of land for nature created a _______ for insects, which needed cover to endure _______.