Sentence Completion: Life on Earth

This is a short reading passage to practice sentence completion questions. It’s quite an easy passage to give you all a chance to practice.

Life on Earth

Life on Earth started around 3.8 billion years ago and has since evolved and diversified through the process of natural selection to be adapted to almost every environment possible. There are currently an estimated 1.9 million animals, plants, and other forms of life on Earth.

Life can be found in every nook and cranny/niche of the globe, from the extreme environments of deep sea hydrothermal vents and the freezing conditions of the Polar Regions to the lush habitats found at the equator.

Looking back through time, by means of the fossil and phylogenetic record, we can see that the Earth has been home to many more species than are alive today. Taking a historical perspective shows that life is constantly evolving, with the success and dominance of different groups waxing and waning over time.

The diversity of life is truly amazing, but all living organisms do share certain similarities. All living organisms can replicate, and the replicator molecule is DNA. As well, all living organisms contain some means of converting the information stored in DNA into products used to build cellular machinery from fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. 

Questions 1-4

Complete the sentences. Choose no more than three words and / or a number from the passage for each answer.

  1. The world has been developed and changed by ……………………………… for over 3.8 billion years.
  2. The past history of the species that used to exist on earth can be found through the …………………………………………. record.
  3. The coming and going of specific groups and species can illustrate to us that life is forever ………………………………………. .
  4. Without ……………………, life forms would not be able to replicate.


Click to get the answers: Answers

  1. natural selection
  • developed and changed = evolved and diversified
  • it is not possible to have “the natural selection”
  • it is not possible to have “natural selection process”
  1. fossil and phylogenetic (spelling must be correct)
  • past history = looking back through time
  1. evolving
  • coming and going = waxing and waning
  • forever = constantly
  1. DNA
  • life forms = living organisms

All reading exercises on have been written by myself to help you develop skills for IELTS. These lessons are not practice tests, they are exercises for students.   



To practice more IELTS reading and other parts of the test, see the main pages below:

Main IELTS Pages

Develop your IELTS skills with tips, model answers, lessons, free videos and more.


  1. Thank you liz. I got all

  2. Fahim Ahmed says

    Hi. Thanks. I believe that I will get band 7.
    Would you please tell me why ‘natural selection process’ is incorrect.

    • “by natural selection” – “by the natural selection process”. One requires an article and the other does not. It’s all about making sure the sentence is grammatically correct when it is completed with the missing word or words.

  3. Hi Liz,
    I got it all.

  4. Hi Liz,

    thanks for your teaching
    I am going to appear next month for IELTS
    Can you please help me with few tips to finish the course in a month
    I know its difficult but still trying to

  5. Simply Awesome answers with reasoning

  6. Hi Liz

    Thanks for your great tips. I was able to get 8 on my last IELTS, but have a question for you regarding sentence completion type.

    On my test a week ago, one of the questions asked to fill in “words no more than THREE words” for the blanks given. I can’t remember the exact phrase, but the reading passage had a sentence format like “complex sentence that includes subject+verb+ “like the Giant Rabbits do.”” And there was a question regarding that very sentence such as “subject + verb ———-” Since I was only used to filling in nouns for sentence completion type, I couldn’t decide whether I should put “Giant Rabbits” (noun) or “Giant Rabbits do” (still three words). I know that the example sentence might not be clear enough, but could you provide some advice on such type of questions?


    • It definitely isn’t clear enough. Sorry, I can’t comment. For all answers in reading, you cannot paraphrase any word. You must write exactly as it is given in the passage. You must also not include unnecessary words in your answer. Lastly, the sentence must be 100% grammatically correct when completed. This is not the case with note completion.

      • Thanks for the prompt answer. Let me change the question then. As long as the number of words stated in the question is met, they don’t have to be all nouns. Is this correct? That is, can “Giant Rabbits do” still be an answer if that is exactly from the text and the question said “No more than THREE words?”

        • Why do you think they all need to be nouns? Your task is to complete the sentence so that it makes sense both with meaning and grammar. I also suggest you use only the IELTS Cambridge Test book for your practice so that you use only original materials. Also forget the questions from your test that you do not quite remember – unless you remember every single word in the question with 100% accuracy and every word from the passage, it will not help you to think about it.

  7. 1. natural Selection
    2.fossils and phylogenetic
    3. evolving
    4. DNA

  8. Hi Liz, first of all thank you for your amazing work! second i haven’t yet understood if we strictly must use only words that are in the paragraph or if we can add any that are not in there. just making sure! thanks again

  9. It is easy as you mentioned.

  10. Hi ,
    I have answered Q1 as “natural selection process” which is also grammatically correct.
    Can you provide feedback whether it is correct or not ?


    • If you use “natural selection process”, then you also need to have an article, “the process”. But it is not possible to have “the natural selection process”. Therefore, it is wrong.

  11. Very easy

  12. Hi Liz
    Please can we have more of reading practice because that’s what I find challenging

  13. I’m taking IELTS this December, do you probably have some tips on reading? Because I’m bad at reading. Do we really have to read each word or is there any tricks? Thanks in advance! 🙂

  14. Can it be ‘the DNA’ in the fourth answer?

    • No. If you write the article “the”, your answer would be wrong. This is because your sentence would be grammatically incorrect.

  15. Poonam gill says

    Where is the answers?

  16. Poonam gill says

    Where is the answers????

  17. Dear Liz,

    You are an amazing teacher and all your lessons has been really helpful.I have completed all exercises posted for reading and it indeed helped me a lot to improve the techniques. I was also going through exercise from other websites and i have some concerns.

    1.The Solar system is moving through the Orion Arm of the Milky way galaxy now, and will be for about the next 10,000 years

    Q.Now the Solar system is travelling through ……
    Expected-Orion Arm
    I have given ans as “milky Way” is it wrong?

    2.Some kids live in one-story houses and other kids live in tall buildings

    Q.While some might live in a tall buildings, others might live in a …….
    A:-one-story houses
    Shouldn’t it be “one-story house”?

    3.If you have any health problems you think may be caused by your VDU, contact your line manager.
    Q.Any concerns about the effect of using a VDU on your general well-being should be reported to ………..
    A:-your line manager
    Will i be given marks if i wrote only “line manager”?

    • Your practice for IELTS should come from the IELTS Cambridge Test Books from 1 to 12. They are real, authentic tests published by IELTS. Do not use other sources.

  18. Yup seriously it is very helpful , and my exam is also very close so it ia easy to practice from your site

  19. Thanks, Lis
    really it is helpful practise !
    Best regards

  20. Thank you so much Liz, it is very helpful 👍🏻

  21. 1-natural selection
    4-the DNA

  22. I just adore your page
    Thanks alot liz

  23. Muzeddid Inam says

    Very nice, but so difficult to answer.

  24. Hi Liz,

    It was easy. I got 4/4. Thank you.

  25. how can i get print out this pages

    • Currently, I’ve removed most of my pdf files because I am editing them. Hopefully they will be able in the next few weeks.

  26. Hi liz
    Thank you for you tutorials. They are really very helpful
    I got my ielts result today and scored L 7.5 R 7.5 S 7 W 6
    Thanks alot…

  27. Jenil Patel says

    where is answers???

  28. Sagnik Datta says

    Are these passages same for general and academic IELTS?

    • Most of these passages are similar to academic IELTS. But GT students can still benefit from them because the question types are the same in both tests, which means you both develop the same reading skills and techniques.

  29. Ahmed Bassam says

    Is the word “AND” considred as a word ? for example, when I been asked to write max. three words, does I count “AND” in FOSSILE AND PHYLOGENETIC as a seperate word?

  30. I got 4/4 . it’s a good test ,thanks so much

  31. Hello Liz!
    Thanks a lot for your great lessons.
    I got 3/4
    Practice is important and I’ll try to improve my results.

  32. hi liz thanks for your effort but i want to ask about the shape of the test is coming like your question ..or harder because i can answer most of your test but in other blogs i find more it very hard and i can not answer a lot of question

  33. Abdul Jalil says

    Miss, will I lose points if my answer is partially correct ? and how much ?

  34. Amigna Joshi says

    HI Liz,
    I was going through this lesson and I have query regarding very first question. Instead just natural selection I expected by… The process of natural selection… But found wrong.. So now please explain why so? As it has been asked to write no more than three words, so I thought process of natural selection is the perfect answer…

  35. Thank you so much for your great lessons.
    I need a complete book for prepositions after nouns,adjs etc with examples in sentenses. Thanks a bunch Liz.

  36. I got 4/4. This site is really helpful. Hoping to get a band score 7 in each module. My exam is approaching.

  37. I got 4/4. However, is this a typical GT test or Academics ? Do the answers always follow sequential orders?

    • The types of questions and techniques are the same for GT reading. However, the passages will not be academic based and are considered easier.

  38. Thank you very much.Got 4/4.

  39. Malebogo Kgoboko says

    Thank u,I got 3/4 and I’m motivated. Looking foward to more exercises.

  40. i want to check my essay and getting online speaking test

  41. Thinks liz . it’s really helping me .

  42. Hi Liz,i couldn’t find the answer if the reading passage.Thanks

  43. Jose K Thomas says

    It was really inspiring.thank

  44. Hi Liz,
    I got 4/4. Thank you for your helpful exercises. God bless you

  45. Its really helpful …..thanku liz

  46. Liz, plz deal with some egs: on “complete each sentence with the correct ending from below”

  47. Thank you very much ma’am, your site really helps.

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