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Sentence completion (reading)

In this type of task, you are given a number of sentences with a gap in them. You have to fill each gap with a specific number of words (e.g no more then TWO)


  • Do the easier ones first.

  • If you can't find the correct words quickly, MOVE ON. Don't get stuck.

  • Always read the instructions carefully. Know how many words you can use to fill the gap.


  1. Read and check the instructions carefully. How many words can you use? Do you need to use words ‘from the text’? (This means exactly, for example, if the text says ‘facility’, you cannot answer ’facilities’)

  2. Quickly read each sentences and identify keywords and write any synonyms you can think of next to the keywords.

  3. Find where the sentences relate to in the text. You can do this by identifying the easiest keyword (e.g. a number, percentage, proper noun, abbreviation) in the summary and locating it in the TEXT.

  4. Now, write that question number (e.g. 7) next to the place in the text. Now you know that the answers to Q5 and Q6 will be before 7 in the text and the answer to Q8 will be after. This is very helpful for you.

  5. Read the sentences in the part of the text you have identified carefully. Read before the identified sentence and after. Remember pronouns (e.g. this, that, these) will refer to nouns in previous sentences.

  6. Select your answer and write it in the gap in the sentence.

  7. As always, if you can’t find an answer Move on. Make sure you have marked in the text where you think the answer might be and move on.

  8. Go to the next sentence and continue to try and fill the gaps. Keep moving.

  9. Return to the gaps you have not filled and try and find the answer.


  • The Question sentences will use synonyms so you may not be able to match keywords directly. For example, the sentence may say ‘automobiles were developed’ – but the sentence in the reading says ‘cars were constructed’.

  • Always be aware of how many words you are allowed to use. Often you will need to delete unnecessary words (e.g. adjectives) from the text. For example: If you can use NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS OR A NUMBER from the text and the relevant part of the text is:

'the original influenza vaccine'

But you can only use two words, you need to know which two are the most important.

The correct answer is:

'the vaccine'


For reading texts with sentence completion exercises, click the link below


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