name='viewport'/> THE IELTS: IELTS LISTENING TEST - SUMMARY COMPLETION QUESTIONS expr:class='"loading" + data:blog.mobileClass'>


This lesson will help you prepare for the IELTS listening test by familiarising you with summary completion questions, giving you some tips and a chance to practice.

1. IELTS Summary Completion Skills Tested

When you get to university or start working, two of the key skills you will have to use are summarising and paraphrasing. These skills are tested in summary completion questions.

You will be given a list of sentences that summarise the clip you will listen to. IELTS have taken text from the clip and used paraphrasing to change these sentences so that they have same meaning, but different words. They have also summarised the listening by choosing a number of phrases that sum up the key points. In other words, you should be able to read the sentences before listening and have a very good idea about what you are going to hear.

2. What do I have to do?

You should first look at the sentences and try to understand the general meaning. Use the sentences to predict what you are going to hear. This will help you follow the listening and hopefully get the correct answers more easily.

Next you have to remember that the sentences are just paraphrases of what you will hear and you will therefore need to think about how they might have changed the sentences. 

For example, the sentence might say ‘The ________ family structure has changed greatly in the last fifty years.’ but in the listening you might hear ‘In the last half century the nuclear family unit had been altered significantly’.

Next you need to look at the gaps and try to predict what the answer will be. You can predict what type of word will fit grammatically (verb, noun, adjective etc.) and predict the content based on the other words around it.

You should be very careful not to go over the word limit. The instructions will normally say ‘NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER’ but read the instructions carefully to make sure.

Now you are fully prepared to listen and fill in the gap with the correct information from the text. Your answer will be taken directly from the listening.

3. Summary Completion Practice

Look at the sentence below and try to guess what the talk is about. The sentences summarise the key information from the listening. You should write no more than THREE words and/or a number.

The video is quite long so I’ve only used the first 5 minutes. 
1. Elon first thought about making  _____________ when at college, when he thought about the most challenging issues facing the planet.
2. They are more efficient than gasoline engines because charging it at home gives you double the efficiency compared to ______________.
3. Their ________ is competitive because of very small energy consumption and a cutting-edge battery pack.
4. The goal of the company has remained a three step method, where model one was __________ at low production numbers, version two has a reasonable price and an average volume and three would be at a cheap price, high volume.

Next look at the spaces and try to guess the type of word that would fit, thinking about both grammar and content.

Finally, think about how I might have paraphrased the listening.

Now listen to the first 5 minutes of the Ted Talk and try to find the answers: The Mind behind Tesla, SpaceX and Solar City (you can also read the transcript on the Ted Talk website)

1. an electric car
2. a power plant
3. range
4. an expensive car

If you got any questions wrong, go to the link below and read the transcript to find out how you got it wrong. This is a very important thing to do for any listening or reading IELTS questions.

Next Steps
For extra practice go the official IELTS site and practice their summary completion questions.

If you want to get better at these types of questions, you really need to perfect your summarizing and paraphrasing skills. When listening or reading something in English try to think like those who make the reading and listening IELTS tests - how can I summarise this using paraphrasing? If you practice this enough you will gradually improve to the point where you find these questions very straightforward.

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