IELTS Listening Practice: Sentence Completion

Sentence Completion for IELTS Listening

This IELTS listening practice is based on sentence completion or gap fill questions. Read through the sentences, predict what types of answers you need for each gap and then listen to complete the sentences. Pay attention to the number of words possible for each answer. This is similar to listening in section 2.

Why we have festivals

Complete the sentences using no more than two words and/or a number.

  1. Festivals are useful to ……………… the cultural traditions of different countries.
  2. The majority of festivals can be traced back to a cultural ………..
  3. Festivals are a time when …………….. are put aside.
  4. Although countries have different festivals, their ……………. is often the same.


A festival is an event which is celebrated collectively. Festivals are mostly celebrated to propagate the cultural heritage of nations. Most festivals have their origins in a cultural belief which has been passed down through the generations. Festivals help to promote solidarity and the patriotic spirit in society by bring people closer together in harmony as they celebrate the festival. During this time, differences are forgotten and the national cultural identity predominates. By celebrating international festivals, it helps to promote tolerance, reduce racial conflict and encourages the acceptance of cultural diversity in a country. While there are marked differences in the way festivals are celebrated all over the world, there is a similarity in the purpose that the festival serves.

  1. propagate
  2. belief
  3. differences (the answer must be plural)
  4. purpose


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  1. Hello Liz
    hope you are doing well!
    i am facing an issue during listening practice while i listen my whole focus is on understanding what the speaker is saying i cant recall the questions simultaneously , i read questions first but when the audio starts i forgot about all questions and start juggling my head with them . what can i do ? help!

    • Practice. This is about multitasking. You need to develop the skill of paying attention to questions and listening for answers. Remember, you are not listening to get absorbed in the topic, you are listening for specific answers which connection to specific keywords in the question. Underline those keywords and listen out for their paraphrases.

  2. 4/4 thanks Liz your lessons are playing vital role in my ielts journey.

  3. maryam bajwa says

    My all answers are correct

  4. Hi Liz,

    Please accept my heartiest gratitude for being an immense help to me as I live in a remote area and I can not travel daily to in an institute for preparation of my IELTS TEST.
    You are an institute your self. All sections are so organized to understand from the beginning level to advanced level. There is no any question that you don’t answer or not answered on your blog.

    First time all my 4 answer are correct by practicing just listening test only.

    Thank you so much for rendering selfless services.

  5. Hi Liz,

    First of all a big ‘Thank You’ from the bottom of my heart for the great teaching lessons.
    You have been very kind in giving away all the valuable lessons for free.
    May God bless you with the choicest blessings for all the good work you have done.
    I got R-8, L-7, S-7, W-7.5 and your lessons really helped me a lot in achieving this score.
    Although my target is to achieve 8 in listening, so I will be giving the exam again.

    I wanted to ask you
    1] If there is a better way other than by general knowledge to know if 2 words are to be joined by – (hyphen) or will they be combined together like say hairdresser,note-taking. I tend to lose my targeted band score because of mistake in such questions.

    2]Sometimes you have 2 answers to a question and it gets difficult to decide which one to chose.Will I get marks if I write answer1/answer2, or is it necessary to chose any one answer as final answer?

    Again, Thank You so much and Keep Up the good work

    • Well done with your results!! 1) google compound noun list. Look for lists with a hyphen, with two words and with one word. It’s just a case of learning by heart. 2) You must choose. Using brackets or slash will mean the answer is wrong. Use the time to transfer answers to decide the right answer.

  6. Babatunde says

    can I use synonym for the answers or paraphrase,or do i just give the answer word for word as given in the speech

  7. Hi Liz
    I don’t really understand the answer for question 3. I think It should be singular since it goes with article “a”

    • The article “a” is with “a time”. You then have a clause “when” which starts the next part of the sentence. “a” is not connected with the second part of the sentence.

  8. hi liz
    I could understand everything while i hear the audio first time, but i couldn’t answer them . 2nd and 3rd time i got answers to all questions and got 5/5. How can i overcome this barrier ?please answer me liz thank you.

    • This is a case of practice makes perfect. The more you practice, the easier it will be to hear information first time. Also make sure you concentrate on listening for answers instead of trying to understand everything. Remember your aim is to win points.

  9. What about answer number 1 – it could be “promote” as well, no?

    • The meaning is the same but the answer would still be wrong. These answers come in order which means the answer to number 1 comes before the answer to number 2. That would exclude the word “promote”.
      All the best

  10. Hi mam a small help mam in listening for eg :u have given one topic on festival like that topics I cant able to understand mam .h to over come from this

    • Success in listening and all other sections is based mainly on your level of English. You might need to work on both your grammar and vocabulary.
      All the best

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