Summary Completion (Reading)

Firstly, don’t worry if you find these type of questions difficult, many students do.

Secondly, there are two types:

  • You need to find the correct words in the reading text to fill the gap

  • A list of words is given and you must choose the correct word from the list to fill each gap


  • Don't worry if you can't fill a gap quickly, LEAVE IT and MOVE ON.

  • Read the instructions! HOW MANY words can you use in each gap?


  1. Skim read the summary first and try to understand the context.

  2. Underline some keywords to help you locate the summary in the text.

  3. Can you quickly identify the part of speech to fill the gaps (verb, noun, adjective or adverb). Do this, it really can help.

  4. Find where the summary relates to in the text. It may be a summary of the whole text or just a part of the text. You need to do this quickly. 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.

  5. Read around that keyword and look for synonyms and paraphrases (e.g. increased = added, evidence = research, impact = influence) in the text that match the parts in the summary. Look for the words to fill the gap (remember to check if it is the correct part of speech – adjective, verb, noun etc)

  6. As always, if you can’t find an answer MOVE ON. Mark the place the text where you think it might be and move on.

  7. Continue to try and fill the gaps in the summary.

  8. Return to the gaps you have not filled and find an answer.


  • The answers are usually in the same order as the questions.

  • If you get a list of words, think about the ones that can’t be the correct answer because of parts of speech (adjective, noun, verb etc). You can then eliminate these words.

  • If you have a list of words, always cross off the ones you have used.

  • Remember, it your answer makes the sentence grammatically wrong, then you have the wrong word.


Click on the link below for readings with summary completion exercises.


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