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. 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

  2. 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.

  3. Arasi achu says:

    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.

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. Hi Liz ,for answer to question 4,i agree is PURPOSE but could it not have been SIMILARITY.I have been thinking of this for long,is it possible to provide further explanation ?

    • Hi,

      I’m glad you asked because this is one of the main tips for sentence completion. You need to look at the grammar and meaning of the sentence before deciding on the word.

      It is possible to write “Although countries have different festivals, they are similar.” or you could write “there is a similarity between them” but you can’t have “their similarity is the same”. “Similarity” and “same” have the same meaning so it doesn’t work.

      So, the answer must be purpose because then the sentence is correct with grammar and meaning “Although countries have different festivals, their purpose (aim) is often the same.”
      Hope that helps.
      All the best

  7. At the outset , thank you for your efforts , realy it is a significant lessons for IELTS preperation .
    Could you tell me please if I shall use pencil to fill in all the answer sheets ( writing, reading and listening ) OR only for reading and listening ?
    Your response is extremely important .
    regards ,

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