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Everything IELTS Academic - A Comprehensive Guide to IELTS Academic

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  1. Paraphrasing Technique

    Paraphrasing Technique - Two Methods to Paraphrase a Sentence
    1 Quiz
  2. Reading
    Part 1: Everything IELTS Academic Reading
    3 Topics
  3. Part 2: Text Types in IELTS Academic Reading
    3 Topics
  4. Part 2: Questions Forms and Reading Rules
    2 Topics
  5. Part 4: Types of questions and Strategies
    9 Topics
  6. Part 5: Common Mistakes
    2 Topics
  7. Part 6: IELTS Academic Reading Practice Tests
  8. Listening
    Part 1: Everything IELTS Listening
    4 Topics
    1 Quiz
  9. Part 2: Detailing Questions
    3 Topics
    5 Quizzes
  10. Part 3: Summary Questions
    4 Topics
    4 Quizzes
  11. Part 4: Common Mistakes
    4 Topics
  12. Part 5: IELTS Listening Practice Tests
    10 Quizzes
  13. Writing
    Part 1: IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 - Reports
    15 Topics
  14. Part 2: IELTS Writing Task 2 - Essay
    16 Topics
    18 Quizzes
  15. Part 3: Two-task Practice Tests
    6 Quizzes
  16. Speaking
    Part 1: Introduction to IELTS Speaking
    3 Topics
  17. Part 2: A good IELTS Speaking Performance
    2 Topics
  18. Part 3: Common Mistakes in IELTS Speaking
  19. Part 4: IELTS Speaking Practice Tests
    7 Quizzes
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Fill in the gaps” (FITG) questions require you to listen carefully to the recordings and find words to fill in the gaps. This means you must find missing information to complete the sentences or phrases.

There is a limit to the number of allowed words, which is mentioned in the instructions for each part. The missing words are keywords of the sentences/phrases and the recordings.

  • Most possible types of answers: nouns (including names), verbs, adjectives, and numbers.
  • Less possible types of answers: adverbs, and pronouns.
  • Impossible types of answers: prepositions, and conjunctions.
  • Special symbols that come with numbers are considered a part of the numbers. For example, 20% is considered one number.
  • You can write in all capitalized letters or lowercase letters.

This type appears throughout 4 parts of the Listening exam at different difficulty levels.

The traditional FITG

In this variety, you need to listen and pick words to complete the sentences and phrases. It can come in different ways, including Note and Form Completion, and Sentence completion.

Cambridge IELTS book 10 academic listening test 3
Example of Note Completion in IELTS Listening, Cambridge IELTS Academic Book 10 test 3.
IELTS Listening Practice Test 29
Example of Sentence Completion in IELTS Listening, Practice9 Free Practice Test 29.


  • Answers appear in a sequential order, from the first to the last.
  • Keep the same form of the words taken from the recordings.
  • There will be at least one number if numbers are allowed.
  • There will be at least one spelling question in which names are spelled out.
  • Nouns and adjectives are most likely the answers. Verbs are also possible but less likely.
  • Answers are normally common words. No academic words.
  • Pay more attention to words before the missing information.
  • The answer might be initiated by one speaker and confirmed by another speaker. So, if the information appears in a question by one person, the correct answer is confirmed in the response of another person.

Step-by-step strategy

Step 1: Analyze the questions.

  • Pay more attention to words before the missing information because they indicate when the information will likely be mentioned in the text.
  • Prepare for common synonyms of words (words with the same meaning).
  • Highlight words if you feel more comfortable. However, it is not a must. (More in Common Mistakes)
  • Guess the types of words that might fit the missing information based on grammar.

Step 2: Follow the flow of information

  • Match the information that you hear and the information in the questions.
  • Trace and mark the information as you hear.
  • Ignore the information you already heard or missed regardless of order. Sometimes the order of information changes, e.g., ‘washing then boiling’ in the recording becomes “boiling after washing” in the question. (More in Common Mistakes.)
  • The sequential order could be reversed a little. For example, sometimes question 4 comes before question 3 but the gap between them is very small, normally just right after question 4, you will hear question 3.
  • Taking notes can help you follow the information flow better. (See Notetaking.)

Step 3: Answer the question either along with listening or after taking notes

  • If you take notes when listening, you can refer to your notes later to answer the questions based on the information you have in your notes.
  • If you don’t take notes, answer the questions right after you catch the information. Skip the questions you don’t catch the answer and move on to the next one.

Step 4: Check spelling and word limit

  • Both American and British spellings are accepted.
  • If the spelling is wrong, the answer is wrong.
  • If the answer contains more words than is allowed, the answer is wrong.
  • Sometimes, you can switch between singular and plural forms of words, depending on the grammar of the question sentences. So, the best option is to keep the same form you hear in the recording.