Matching Sentence Endings: IELTS Reading Practice

In this type of question you need to choose the correct ending for each sentence by selecting the ending from a list given. This is not the most common question type in IELTS reading but it does appear in the test and it is worth practising.

This is one of my tough lessons which I’ve written to challenge the higher level students.

Skim read the passage and then read through the sentences with the possible endings. Pay attention to grammar in order to complete each sentence – the sentence must be grammatically correct. The information contained in a correctly completed sentence can be found in the passage.

NASA’s Orion ‘Mars Ship’ set for test flight

IELTS Space Topic

A US space capsule that could help get humans to Mars is about to make its maiden flight.Orion will be launched on a Delta rocket out of Cape Canaveral in Florida on a short journey above the Earth to test key technologies. The conical vessel is reminiscent of the Apollo command ships that took men to the Moon in the 1960s and 1970s, but bigger and with cutting-edge systems. Given that this is a first outing, there will be no people aboard.

Nonetheless, the US space agency describes the demonstration as a major event. Nasa has a window in which to launch Orion of about two-and-a-half hours, which began at 07:05 local time (12:05 GMT). The launch preparations had to be stopped shortly before the opening of the window because a boat strayed into the eastern part of the launch range. After that, the countdown had to be held because of strong winds and a technical issue.

Orion is being developed alongside a powerful new rocket that will have its own debut in 2017 or 2018. Together, they will form the core capabilities needed to send humans beyond the International Space Station to destinations such as the Red Planet. For Thursday’s flight, the Delta IV-Heavy rocket – currently the beefiest launcher in the world – is being used as a stand-in. It will send Orion twice around the globe, throwing the ship up to an altitude of almost 6,000km (3,600 miles). This will set up a fast fall back to Earth, with a re-entry speed into the atmosphere close to 30,000km/h (20,000mph) – near what would be expected of a capsule coming back from the Moon. It should give engineers the opportunity to check the performance of Orion’s critical heat shield, which is likely to experience temperatures in excess of 2,000C (4,000F). They will also watch how the parachutes deploy as they gently lower the capsule into Pacific waters off Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula. (Passage from BBC News)

Questions 1-4

Complete the sentences by selecting the correct ending, A-G (not all letters will be used).

  1.  The first ever flight of Orion is aimed to ……
  2. Although the shape of Orion is similar to previous ships, it ………..
  3. A new rocket is also being developed which …………
  4. The rocket which will be used as a replacement will ………….
  5. As temperatures reach extreme levels on re-entry, this maiden flight will ……….
    • a. send Orion twice around the world.
    • b. has state of the art technology.
    • c. test the critical heat shield.
    • d. check Orion’s performance.
    • e. test the most important technology.
    • f. will have its first voyage in a few years.
  • g. help humans get to Mars


Click below to reveal the answers.

  1. e
  2. b
  3. f
  4. a
  5. c

All reading exercises on have been written by myself to help you prepare for your IELTS test.   


Vocab Builder
  • reminiscent = similar to / reminding you of (something / someone)
  • maiden flight / maiden voyage = first ever flight / first journey
  • conical = shaped narrowing to a point
  • similar to something in the past
  • cutting-edge = front-line / pioneering / brand-new
  • strayed = drifted
  • debut = first appearance
  • in excess of = more than
  • (parachute) deploys = opens

See all my IELTS Reading Tips and Practice Lessons


  1. I got 4/5, i didn’t pay attention to the word “stand-in”
    Thanks for this platform

  2. Reebal Ghrawi says

    Thank you so much for your effort with us really appreciated .

    Got 4/5

  3. Muhammad Shahzad Ali says

    I did it. 5/5

  4. Godwin Ukeje says

    I got 4/5. I failed no. 1 bcuz I didnt pay attention to detail when i realized that the first flight is meant to have no one on board.

  5. I got 1/5, it is so difficult

  6. I made only 1 mistake. it is number 4 and I used “g” instead “a”

  7. This one was tough for me..

  8. Mirza Nafeul Islam says

    Hi Liz,
    I have a query about sentence completion in IELTS reading.
    Could I use preposition to complete the sentence or not?

    For example:
    Passage: Products should be wrapped in recycled papers.
    (NO MORE than 3 WORDS)
    Q: Products should be wrapped…………………..
    A: Products should be wrapped………..( IN RECYCLED PAPERS)
    What should I do in these circumstances?

    • If you are completing a sentence, it must be grammatically correct when it is complete. You need to ask yourself, do you need the preposition to make it grammatically correctly? Will it be grammatically correct without the preposition. These rules are for any question that is about completing a sentence. Note completion, however, does not follow this rule.

  9. Madhavi Chauhan says

    Thank you so much Liz.
    This tips are extremely helpful and useful.

  10. Nawar Turk says

    Please add the missing word ‘reminiscent’ for the beginning of the third line in the ‘Vocab Builder’ section. Thanks.

  11. I got 3/5 in very loooong time, i need to improve time management, but im still load to trade the passage…😂😂😂

  12. As Liz mentioned, the completed sentence must be grammatically correct. So I followed her advice which made this task much easier for me.

    First, I quickly skimmed through the sentences endings:
    1. … aimed to …
    2. … to previous ships, it …
    3. … developed which …
    4. … replacement will …
    5. … flight will …

    I quickly wrote possible endings, which would grammatically make sense, next to the sentences:

    1. a, c, d, e, g
    2. b, f
    3. b, f
    4. a, c, d, e, g
    5. a, c, d, e, g

    Then, I quickly skimmed the passage and started completing the easiest sentences first. At the same time, I was eliminating words already answered. When I answered 2 with B, I didn’t have to look for 3, because there was only F left, the only possible answer to that.

    The last remaining sentence was 4, the most difficult for me, which I failed. This was a very tricky one. It’s ok though because now I am aware of this type of task and it is all thanks to Liz! 🙂

    • Thank you and Liz so much for the way you solved this question! That was really clever. I have my IELTS exam on 1 December and I really hope everything turns out well.

    • will this not be time wasting? though i like the technique

  13. i got 3 out of 5 :'(

  14. I am so glad I found you Liz,but the truth is ‘m sad…..I have taken ielts 3ce with an overall band score of 7 at each attempt but my reading component 😢(6)

    I have been practicing all day but m still not encouraged,my test is in 2weeks😢

    • You said you have been practising all day. How much time do you spend analysing your answers? Do you have a LONG list of all the reasons you got an answer right and why you got one wrong. By now, you should have a list many pages long. Practice is only one aspect of preparation. You need to analyse answers. You should also have a LONG list of keywords and paraphrases. It’s all about analysing your technique and improving it – spend more time doing that.

  15. Jefferson Oghuma says

    4/5. Failed the first question.

    Means I need to pay more attention to the details of the passage.

    Thanks Liz. You’re the best.

  16. 5/5
    However, I did not have a time limit.

  17. Saeed Aziz says

    Hi Liz,
    I think the answer for no.3 is g ” New rocket to send humans to a destination such as red planet ( Mars), why it’s f?


    • The answer can’t be “g” because the sentence would be grammatically incorrect. These types of questions also test your understanding of grammar.
      You can have:
      A new rocket is also being developed which will help humans get to Mars
      or you can have:
      A new rocket is also being developed which helps humans get to Mars
      but you can’t have
      A new rocket is also being developed which help humans get to Mars

  18. Hi Liz, thanks for your amazing and helpful efforts. I’m concerned about the amount of time I spend trying to answer the questions in the reading lessons. please what’s the maximum time you suggest I spend on each lesson questions as a way of practice for the real IELTS test. Thanks and God bless.

    • You have 1 hour and 40 questions – you need to practice and develop your own time manage skills. The more you know about your own strengths and weaknesses, the better you will do.

  19. I got 5/5 🙂
    Very helpful and very useful.
    Keep it up.

  20. I got 5/5 but i didn’t understand all passage.

  21. mmachukwu nwokolo says

    hello Liz, thanks for your help. i dont know what would have become of me if i had been totally dwelling on books like, Barrons ielts and/or other British council ielts books/CDs. They help though, like 5%.

  22. 4/5

  23. Ayman Al Lulu says

    Hi liz, i guess there is something wrong with my posts, last time i left a post here but i cant see it any more ..!?

  24. amr zaki says

    why you wrote the answer for the first question e not g?!!!!!!!!!!! the maiden flight to test the technology and the first ever to take men to mars

    • Because although it does take humans to Mars, it is not actually the aim of the flight. The aim is to test key technology. The first ever flight is the maiden voyage and in this case, the first flight will not actually go to Mars, it is going to go round the Earth just to test it. Try not to match words, aim for meaning.

  25. Hi Ms. Liz,

    I always get 1 wrong answer in all of your reading practices. Shall I be worried ? However, Thank you for creating this page.


    • If you are aiming for band score 9, then one wrong might be a problem. If you are aiming for band 7 or 8, getting 1 wrong is normal.

  26. Thanks again Liz, I am sure you will get to see more of my comments till take the exam :-). I got 4/5 in this, got the first answer as G instead of (e), I had overlooked the phrase ” Key technologies”. I hope the more practice will help me to oversome this..

  27. Fatemeh says

    I got it:)

  28. Hi Liz,

    Thanks for this blog which is free.
    Please why is question 5 not D and instead the correct answer is C.

    • For this type of question, the answers come in order. This means you need to find the answer to number 5 after the answer for number 4. It will come lower in the reading passage. You can’t find the answer to number 5 at the start of the passage.

      • I don’t want you to feel this is a back and forth. But answer C and D are part of the same sentence. So I don’t understand why you say one is lower and the other higher up. C and D both make up the same sentence. I’m puzzled. Please help

        • You can see the word “performance” but the performance relates to the heat shield, not to Orion as a whole.

  29. Hello are given by you is very beneficial. But I have a problem in writing. So plz give me some tips nd send some sample ..thanks alot

  30. For sentence completion type questions what should I write in d answer Sheet Alphabet or Anwer?

  31. Hi Liz,
    Thank you so much for a such a detailed blog. It is very helpful.
    I wish to know if we can use American spellings e.g. using ‘categorize’ instead of ‘categorise’. (Spell checker on my computer is showing a mistake)

  32. chinzorig charley says

    They are very interesting and useful lessons I have ever had. I have been teaching IELTS Course in Mongolia for five years.

    I am interested in cooperating with you in IELTS Courses in Mongolia.


  33. some technical info which should hidden from general public /irrelevant to general public is visible in this page

  34. Thanks alot for explaining every point but my question is :is it possible to have two answers or three in the same paragraph. I think the main key to deal with most
    if not all the question types is PARAPHRASING .am I right?

    • The answers can be found in any paragraph. Each paragraph can be used more than once. Yes, the key is definitely paraphrasing and paying attention to grammar – the completed sentence must be grammatically correct.

  35. Hello Liz

    I got 4/5 using grammar only without reading the text can I do that on the test to with similar question? My test is tomorrow I would appreciate your feedback.

    Thank you.

    • Grammar will not help you every time. Sometimes you will need to use meaning and paraphrasing to match the sentence endings.

  36. hi liz if i click on the answer it does not show

  37. hi liz if i click d answers it does not show

    • Can you try again because it works fine on my laptop. If you continue to have a problem, let me know and I’ll email the answers.
      All the best

  38. I readit many times but, could someone explain me why answer of the first question is ‘e’ instead of ‘g’.?
    Please help me out..


    • Because it is about the first ever flight: “on a short journey above the Earth to test key technologies” which is not actually going to Mars.
      All the best

      • Thank you for your answer! I understand but it is still tricky for me. Getting people to the mars seems like more close rather than trying new technologies… I will keep practicing.
        Thank you!

      • Even i also had the same doubt. Thanks mam☺

  39. Hello Liz! Thank you for this kind of practice that you provide for us.
    In this practice test I got 4/5, however, it took me 15 minues to finish this 5 items test. I always spent more than 8minutes in all your practices. Do you think it’s a bad impression for my actual exam??? Im worried that the 1 hour allowance would not be enough for me.
    Thanks in advance!

  40. Hello Liz

    While giving ielts reading I usually get NASA related something like this very complex with various difficult paraphrase. Could you please share more difficult ones with us? Thankyou

  41. Hi Liz. Some of your Reading practice I can not download in order to print out for reading easily, except for the pdf is available. So it is not allowed to copy, right?

  42. Hlo mam! I m new to ur site bt i have seen ur videos so many times at my coaching centre in punjab. I really feel ur tips are useful for me and for all learners and easy to understand and to learn.

  43. 4/5

  44. Hi Liz,

    I am not able to identify the correct answer for 2nd question even after reading so many times. Rest all are correct. I would be really greatful to you if you could please take out some time to assist me?


    • Did you use grammar to help you? Did you remember that answers come in order? These basic rules will give the answer without any problems.

      The first part of the sentence ends in “it” which means the verb following must be third person singular. Following this grammar rule, only “b” or “f” is possible. The answer to this must be found in the passage after the answer to question 1 and before the answer to question 3. This means that it is likely to be at the start of this passage because the passage isn’t long. The answer can be found in the second sentence “The conical vessel is reminiscent of the Apollo command ships that took men to the Moon in the 1960s and 1970s, but bigger and with cutting-edge systems.” and related to “cutting-edge systems”.

      IELTS reading is about technique, grammar and vocabulary.
      All the best

      • Thankyou Liz.

        Though, I was sure that the answer is in these two lines, but where are they talking about art of technology here? Please let me know where am i lacking? Can you please refer any good website to clear my grammar doubts?

  45. Got 4/5. Too bad.. Hi Liz, do you think all your example passage would be as difficult as the real exam?

  46. Got 5/5 thnks. ?

  47. OMG, i got 5/5 although i didn’t understand this passage completely.

  48. got 4/5…
    Foolishly made 1 mistake !

  49. hi Liz’ I have watched all of ur vedoes and most of the tips’which is very helpful.but I am really anxious about my reading understanding and time management.I also mistake spelling in the answer sheet.what should I do to get red of.

  50. My all variants r false. Can you explain how you chose true answers exactly in this topic? Why these variants true, why others false, like this.
    Thanks in advance..

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