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IELTS Reading Summary Completion Tips and Strategies

Welcome to another comprehensive article from IELTS Luminary, where we are dedicated to helping you achieve your best in the IELTS exam. Today, we will delve into the Summary Completion Question type, a common area where many candidates feel challenged, but guess what? We've got you covered.

Today, we'll not only explore this intriguing question type but also share proven strategies from our comprehensive eBooks on IELTS Reading, packed with step-by-step guidance. By the time you finish reading this guide, you'll be well-equipped to tackle Summary Completion Questions with confidence and ease.

Grab a cup of tea, make yourself comfortable, and let's get started on this exciting journey together. You're in the right place, and we're here with you every step of the way!

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IELTS Reading Summary Completion Tips and Strategies and Practice

What Are Summary Completion Questions in IELTS Reading?

Ah, the Summary Completion Questions! Ever found yourself staring at a text passage filled with blanks, wondering how to fill them in? Well, you're not alone. Summary Completion Questions in the IELTS Reading exam can be quite an adventure, and we're here to guide you through it.

Imagine reading an interesting passage about, let's say, the history of chocolate. Now, within the passage, some key sentences are missing a word or a short phrase. Your job? To fill in those gaps using the information provided in the text.

However, remember that the Summary Completion Questions may appear in any of these forms:

1. Summary without a List

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In this form, candidates will see a summary with missing words, but without any specific list of options to choose from. They must read the text and find the appropriate words or phrases to complete the summary.

1. Summary with a List

In this type of summary completion, candidates are provided with a list of options to choose from. The summary will still contain blanks, but candidates will select the correct options from the given list.

Don’t worry if you get confused. Using real exam questions, we are going to show you in detail how to address both these question forms. For now, just remember, in either of these types, you'll face two main tasks:

  • Understanding the Main Ideas: You'll need to get the gist of what the passage is all about. Is it praising the delicious taste of chocolate or explaining the complex process of making it? This understanding helps you fill in those blanks accurately.

  • Finding Supporting Details: Here's where it gets tricky. The words you need might be hidden within complex sentences or paraphrased in a clever way. The passage won't directly hand you the answers; you'll need to play detective, searching for clues that lead you to the right words.

Remember our comprehensive eBooks on IELTS Reading? They're filled with detailed examples, strategies, and exercises specifically tailored to help you master Summary Completion Questions. It's like having a personal coach by your side, helping you learn and practice.

Common Challenges You Might Face

Summary Completion Questions! They can seem like a puzzle, right? But don't worry, we're here to help you understand what makes them so challenging and, more importantly, how to conquer them. Let's break down these challenges together:

  1. Identifying the Correct Information: Ever tried to find a needle in a haystack? Sometimes, locating the right information in a dense text can feel just like that. You have a blank space in a summary, and somewhere within a sea of words, there's the perfect phrase to fill it. It's not always easy, especially when the text is full of complex ideas or unfamiliar topics. But fear not, we've got strategies to help you hone in on the right details.

  2. Paraphrasing Skills: Imagine trying to say the same thing in five different ways. Paraphrasing is like that. The text might give you the answer in one way, but the question requires it in another. It's like a word puzzle, and mastering it requires a robust understanding of language, synonyms, and sentence structure. It's not just about finding the right word; it's about understanding its context and how it can be expressed differently.

  3. Time Management: The clock is ticking, and you've got multiple questions to answer. Sounds stressful? Managing your time in the IELTS Reading exam is a real challenge. Summary Completion Questions require careful reading, understanding, and selection of the correct answers, all within a tight timeframe. It's like a race against the clock, but with practice and our time-saving tips, you can make every second count.

Feeling overwhelmed? Don't be! These challenges are common, but they're not insurmountable. Our comprehensive eBooks on IELTS Reading are designed with these very challenges in mind. From detailed strategies to practice exercises, we offer you the tools to tackle Summary Completion Questions with confidence and skill.

Remember, every challenge is an opportunity to learn and grow. With us by your side, you'll transform these obstacles into stepping stones towards your IELTS success.

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Effective Strategies to Answer Summary Completion Questions

Hey there, future IELTS star! We know Summary Completion Questions can seem like a maze, but guess what? We've got the map to navigate through it. Let's explore some strategies together that will turn you into a Summary Completion pro:

  1. Read the Instructions Carefully: You wouldn't dive into a recipe without reading it first, would you? Treat the instructions the same way. Understanding what's asked is the first step in getting it right. Spend a moment to digest what the task requires. It's like a compass pointing you in the right direction.

  2. Skim the Passage: Imagine a quick glance over the landscape before embarking on a treasure hunt. Skimming gives you that overview. A swift read helps you understand the theme, tone, and general structure of the passage. It's like having a roadmap to locate the answers more comfortably.

  3. Look for Keywords: Think of keywords as signposts guiding you to the correct part of the passage. A date, a name, or a technical term - these are your markers. They'll lead you to the right spot in the text, like a friend pointing you to the right aisle in a library.

  4. Practice Paraphrasing: Paraphrasing is an art. It's about saying the same thing but in a new and fresh way. Practicing this skill is like flexing a mental muscle. You'll need it to understand how the text might present an answer differently from the summary.

Now, if you're thinking, "These strategies sound great, but how do I master them?" - we've got something special for you. Our comprehensive eBooks on IELTS Reading are like having a personal tutor. From detailed explanations to hands-on exercises, they're designed to sharpen these strategies. Imagine being able to tackle Summary Completion Questions with grace, precision, and confidence. That's what our eBooks offer.

So, grab a pen, put on your thinking cap, and let's turn these strategies into success. You've got this, and we're right here cheering you on!

Example 1 (Summary without a List)

The following excerpt is taken from the Cambridge IELTS – 18 Academic paper, specifically from Test 1, Passage 3. We'll be using this text, along with actual Summary Completion questions from the IELTS Reading exam, to demonstrate how this type of question is presented. Please take a moment to read the text carefully:

Conquering Earth’s space junk problem

Even as our ability to monitor space objects increases, so too does the total number of items in orbit. That means companies, governments and other players in space are collaborating in new ways to avoid a shared threat. International groups such as the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee have developed guidelines on space sustainability. Those include inactivating satellites at the end of their useful life by venting pressurised materials or leftover fuel that might lead to explosions. The intergovernmental groups also advise lowering satellites deep enough into the atmosphere that they will burn up or disintegrate within 25 years. But so far, only about half of all missions have abided by this 25-year goal, says Holger Krag, head of the European Space Agency’s space-debris office in Darmstadt, Germany. Operators of the planned large constellations of satellites say they will be responsible stewards in their enterprises in space, but Krag worries that problems could increase, despite their best intentions. ‘What happens to those that fail or go bankrupt?’ he asks. They are probably not going to spend money to remove their satellites from space.’


Here are the summary completion questions that appeared in the exam, based on this text:

Questions 1-4

Complete the summary below.

Choose ONE WORD ONLY from the passage for each answer.

Write your answers in boxes 1-4 on your answer sheet.

The Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee

The committee gives advice on how the 1……………… of space can be achieved. The committee advises that when satellites are no longer active, any unused 2……………… or pressurised material that could cause 3……………… should be removed.

Although operators of large satellite constellations accept that they have obligations as stewards of space, Holger Krag points out that the operators that become 4……………… are unlikely to prioritise removing their satellites from space.


Before looking at the answers below, you should try your own at first, it will give you a better understanding and practice.

Here are the correct answers:

  1. sustainability

  2. fuel

  3. explosions

  4. bankrupt


Now, let's delve into the correct answers, providing a detailed explanation for each, and also identify any potential distractions that might have been present.


Question 1: "sustainability"

Explanation: In the text, the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee's role in developing guidelines on space sustainability is explained. This is about maintaining space in a way that it can continue to be utilized without degradation over time.

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Potential Distractions:

  • Guidelines: The paragraph mentions that the committee developed guidelines. This might be distracting since it's related to their role, but it doesn't answer what the advice is about.

  • Collaborations: With the mention of companies, governments, and other players collaborating, a reader might get sidetracked thinking this collaboration is the focus of the committee's advice, whereas it's about sustainability.

  • Inactivating Satellites: The paragraph also talks about methods of inactivating satellites, which is part of the overall sustainability plan but not the direct answer to the question.

Question 2: "fuel"

Explanation: Look into the text, the committee advises that when satellites are no longer active, any unused fuel should be removed, preventing explosions. This is a specific measure to ensure space sustainability.

Potential Distractions:

  • Pressurized Materials: Alongside fuel, the passage mentions venting pressurized materials. Though related, the question asks for "any unused 2………" specifically, leading to the word "fuel."

  • 25-year Goal: The text also refers to a 25-year goal for satellites to burn up or disintegrate, which might seem relevant to the question but is not the correct answer.

  • Obligations of Operators: The latter part of the paragraph talks about operators' responsibilities, which could be confusing but doesn't relate directly to what needs to be removed from inactive satellites.


Question 3: "explosions"

Explanation: The concern over explosions is directly linked to the danger of unused fuel or pressurized materials within inactive satellites. If not properly vented or removed, these materials could cause an explosion, adding to the space debris problem.

Potential Distractions:

  • Collisions: The text may discuss the potential for collisions between objects in space. Although this is related to space safety, it's not what the question is asking about concerning "explosions."

  • Debris: Mention of debris or concerns over space clutter could be misleading, as the question specifically targets the risk linked to unused substances, not the general problem of debris.

  • Guidelines or Rules: References to guidelines or rules for space sustainability might seem relevant but aren't directly tied to the cause of explosions mentioned in the question.

Question 4: "bankrupt"

Correct Answer: Holger Krag's concern is explicitly tied to operators who might fail or go bankrupt. The worry here is that such operators may not take responsibility for removing their satellites, leading to increased risk in space.

Potential Distractions:

  • Responsibility or Stewardship: Words or phrases related to operators' obligations might seem appropriate, but they are too broad. The context leads to the specific situation where operators go "bankrupt" and might neglect their responsibilities.

  • Satellite Removal: Other details about the process or need for satellite removal might distract from the pinpointed focus on the concern over bankruptcy.

  • Regulations or Policies: General references to space regulations or policies aren't directly tied to the bankrupt concern raised in the question.


If you've found these insights helpful, you're just scratching the surface of what our comprehensive eBooks can offer you. With step-by-step guides to answering every type of IELTS question, personalized feedback, and in-depth exploration of topics, we at IELTS Luminary strive to illuminate your path to success.

Our eBooks on IELTS Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking, and Grammar are crafted to equip you with the skills, strategies, and understanding you need to excel. From mastering paraphrasing to tackling the trickiest comprehension questions, our resources are tailored to meet your needs.

Don't leave your success to chance. Dive into our eBooks and beat the exam.

Example 2 (Summary with a List)

Here's a glimpse into the world of IELTS, straight from Cambridge IELTS – 18 Academic paper! We've picked an excerpt from Test 2, Passage 2, and we'll be using it alongside real Summary Completion questions from the IELTS Reading exam. This will give you a firsthand experience of how this type of summary completion question is structured.

"These issues might seem far-fetched, but they are to some extent already here. AI already has some input into how resources are used in our National Health Service (NHS) here in the UK, for example. If it was given a greater role, it might do so much more efficiently than humans can manage, and act in the interests of taxpayers and those who use the health system. However, we’d be depriving some humans (e.g. senior doctors) of the control they presently enjoy. Since we’d want to ensure that people are treated equally and that policies are fair, the goals of AI would need to be specified correctly."

Questions 1-3

Complete the summary using the list of phrases, A-F, below.

Write the correct letter, A-F, in boxes 1-3 on your answer sheet.

Using AI in the UK health system

AI currently has a limited role in the way 1…………………. are allocated in the health service. The positive aspect of AI having a bigger role is that it would be more efficient and lead to patient benefits. However, such a change would result, for example, in certain 2…………………. not having their current level of 3…………………. . It is therefore important that AI goals are appropriate so that discriminatory practices could be avoided.

IELTS Reading Summary Completion Practice Real Test Question - IELTS Luminary

Before you peek at the answers below, why not give it a shot on your own first? Trust me, attempting the questions yourself will provide a richer understanding and make for excellent practice. Once you've tried, the correct answers will be waiting for you below. Good luck, and happy learning!

The correct answers are:

  1. C

  2. A

  3. E


Now, let's take a closer look at the right answers, giving a thorough explanation for each, and also pointing out any misleading options that might have confused you.


Now, let's take a closer look at the right answers, giving a thorough explanation for each, and also pointing out any misleading options that might have confused you.

Question 1:

Correct Answer: C - "available resources" The text states, "AI already has some input into how resources are used in our National Health Service (NHS) here in the UK..." This directly aligns with the concept of allocating resources within the health service.


A: "Medical practitioners" doesn't make sense in the context of how resources are allocated.

B: "Specialised tasks" doesn't relate to the allocation of resources in the health service.

D: "Reduced illness" is not a topic covered in the relevant part of the text.

E: "Professional authority" doesn't relate to the distribution of resources.

F: "Technology experts" doesn't have any direct link to the allocation of resources in the health service.

Question 2:

Correct Answer: A - "medical practitioners" The text mentions, "However, we’d be depriving some humans (e.g. senior doctors) of the control they presently enjoy." This aligns with the idea of certain medical practitioners losing their current level of control.


B: "Specialised tasks" doesn't refer to who may lose control.

C: "Available resources" doesn't match the idea of losing control.

D: "Reduced illness" is not discussed in relation to losing control.

E: While related to control, "professional authority" is not the focus in the context of the question.

F: "Technology experts" is not a category that's losing control according to the passage.

Question 3:

Correct Answer: E - "professional authority" The passage indicates that senior doctors would lose control, aligning with the concept of losing professional authority.


A: "Medical practitioners" does not align with the concept of what would be lost.

B: "Specialised tasks" does not relate to losing professional authority.

C: "Available resources" doesn't match the idea of losing professional authority.

D: "Reduced illness" is not related to losing professional authority.

F: "Technology experts" is not discussed in the context of losing professional authority.

Special Tips to Improve in Summary Completion

Ready to take your Summary Completion skills to the next level? At IELTS Luminary, we've got a treasure trove of insights beyond our comprehensive eBooks on IELTS Reading. Here are some golden nuggets to elevate your performance:

  1. Focus on Improving Your Vocabulary and Understanding of Synonyms: Think of vocabulary as your palette of colors. The richer it is, the more vibrant your understanding of the text becomes. Explore synonyms, play with words, and immerse yourself in language. It's like tasting different flavors and recognizing them in a dish - a skill that will help you spot the right answers.

  2. Practice with Real Test Questions: Want to know what the real exam feels like? Dive into real test questions. It's like rehearsing on the actual stage before a performance. Familiarize yourself with the question type, the way they're framed, and how the answers are hidden within the text. Consider our eBooks your backstage access, providing real test examples and detailed analyses

  3. Understand Sentence Structures and Grammar: It’s like the architecture of language. Knowing how sentences are constructed helps you identify the exact information needed. It's like solving a puzzle where each grammatical element fits perfectly.

  4. Use Context Clues: Sometimes, the right answer is hidden between the lines. Understand the context of a sentence or paragraph to figure out what the missing information might be. It's like reading a detective novel and picking up on clues to solve the mystery.

  5. Time Yourself While Practicing: Emulate the real exam environment by timing yourself. It will help you learn to manage your time effectively. Think of it as training for a race; the more you practice, the better you perform.

  6. Review Mistakes and Learn from Them: After practicing, don't just move on. Analyze your errors. It’s like looking back at a game's playback; understanding where you went wrong helps you avoid the same mistakes in the future.

Summary Completion in the IELTS Reading exam isn't just a task; it's a journey of understanding, analysis, and precision. It requires practice, insights, and the courage to embrace challenges.

Aiming for that high band score? You're not alone. We at IELTS Luminary are here to guide you every step of the way. Whether it's our comprehensive eBooks with step-by-step guidance or our personalized essay feedback service tailored to your needs, we offer the tools to help you build mastery.

Remember, each challenge is a learning curve, and every practice session is a stepping stone towards success. So grab those opportunities, invest in your growth, and let's make your IELTS dream come true. Together, we've got this!

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