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How to Do Summary Completion Type of Questions in IELTS Reading?
By Mamta Paul on Jan. 2, 2017


Summary completion question in IELTS reading is one of the difficult questions. Usually, you find this type of question in Section 3 but it may appear in Section 2 also. This question is in the form of a paragraph which is either the summary of whole passage or the summary of part of the passage. It is written in paraphrased form with usage of synonyms. So, it takes time for you to understand the question properly.

There are two types of questions of summary completion type; one with the options (usually synonyms) given below the question and the other with no options. In the first type, it becomes more complicated to find answers since here, after you find a word from the passage, you have to think of synonym of that word in order to find its answer. And in the second type, there will be word instruction given which you must follow to find your answer from the passage.  

Understand Question Well to Relate with Passage

The first and the most important thing to do before solving summary completion question in IELTS reading is to understand the question properly. Since the paragraph or in other words, summary is written in such a way that it becomes difficult to understand which part of the text it is referring to. Without getting an overview of the question, you may not be able to solve it well.

Underline Main Keywords

Though the sentences in the summary completion question is the rewritten form of IELTS reading passage, there are some words that are same or similar to the words in the passage through which you are able to identify the paragraph from the passage from which it is extracted. Hence, always underline the main words in the passage and use them to identify the suitable paragraph from the passage.

Choose Answer from Options Grammatically

When you are given options out of which you have to find the right one, checking out the sentences grammatically will work well in IELTS reading summary completion questions. For example, you may see that a noun would fit in the blank and hence you can ignore verb, adjective etc. from the options. Similarly, if you think that answer should be a plural word, you can ignore all the singular words in the options box. Many a times, it is found that summary completion question is in the form of passive voice sentences while reading passage is in active voice. Hence, in this case, you may need to change form of verb in the answer according to the question statement.

Shortlist Options and Choose Closest Option

Out of the given options, you should always first try to shortlist options by understanding the question as well as the appropriate paragraph in the IELTS reading passage. Let’s say, from 10 options, you have chosen 2 as the likely answers. Then, again reread the paragraph as well as the question to finally choose the one, out of the shortlisted two, which you believe to be closer to the blank in the question. For instance, if you believe option 1 seems to be 60% as your answer while option 2 seems to be 40% as your answer, you should go with option 1 with more probability of being your answer.

Answer Follows Order

Lastly, in the summary completion IELTS reading passage, question is in the form of short summary which is a kind of brief of the passage written in the order of occurrence of information, hence you will find answers of your questions in the sequence of information given in the passage.  

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