Sentence Completion in IELTS Listening Test falls under the major category of Text Completion. It is one of the most popular question types in IELTS Listening Tests. A lot of students usually ignore this question type because of how simple it looks. It reminds a lot of my students from school when they see Sentence Completion in the question paper thinking it will fetch them marks easily.
The Sentence Completion question has a few statements in the sequence of the monologue in Part 2. The monologue would start with an introduction. Then it gives the first question clue, answer, and some filler before moving to the second question clue. There may or may not be some filler statements on the question paper. Students may have to answer using options given or take words from the audio. The exact amount of words per answer will be mentioned in the instructions. The instructions will say “Complete the sentences below. Write NO MORE THAN ___ WORDS for each answer.”
Complete the sentence below.
Write NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS for each answer.
Studying with the Open University demanded a great deal of 1 …………………… .
Since the audio follows a straightforward format of delivering answers, your main job would be to just wait for the right question clue. There will be a filler between the two answers to give you time to write the answer. Don’t get distracted by any information in the filler that might sound like the next answer. Paying attention to linking words or transitions will help you identify when the audio is moving to the next question. There will be synonyms used in the question paper so rely on the meaning of the answers instead of looking for the words. Remember to predict any answers you may have missed from the audio. Since there is no negative marking in IELTS, there is nothing to lose, but a whole mark to gain. As an example, read the first question- ‘Studying with the Open University demanded a great deal of 1 …………………… .’ From the audio, it is heard that the answer to this question is ‘motivation’.
IELTS uses a variety of traps for the sentence completion question type. One of the most confusing ones for the students is when there are no filler statements in the question paper. Unlike note completion, sentence completion rarely has any filler statements. Usually, they help the student navigate through the audio and give them clues where they are. Without this help, a lot of students have a tough time concentrating on the audio. Since there is a filler between two questions, a lot of students are tempted to write the first thing they think belongs to the next question. IELTS places those fillers to not just distract the students from the current answer they are writing, but also get the next one wrong. As an example, there is a distraction where Rachel says ‘You mean, because you’re studying on your own, most of the time?’ Many students may confuse this statement with the right answer because this comes before Rachel says the sentence with the right answer.
If the question has options at the end, avoid looking at them until all the answers are filled. The options will not have the same words as the audio. Therefore, it might be confusing to not only read the sentence and listen for the matching meaning in the audio but also read the options and write the correct alphabet. IELTS to the Point suggests that you take notes when listening to the audio. Fill in the blanks with notes and compare your answer to the options in the time given to check your answers.
Sentence Completion is a popular question format in the IELTS Listening Test. Students may have to choose their answers from options given, or find words from the audio itself. There are a few traps that IELTS sets out for this question type which students can avoid by listening to the audio for meanings instead of words. Paying attention to linking words and transition words will help to keep pace with the sentences, especially when there may not be any filler statements, unlike in other text completion question types. Remember to predict any missed answers so that all questions are attempted.
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?
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.