IELTS Reading: Sentence Completion

IELTS sentence completion questions are very common in IELTS reading. This practice is to help you understand about the importance of paraphrasing. You need to learn which words can and cannot be paraphrased. Read the passage below and then answer the questions.

Penguin Facts

Penguins are one of about 40 species of flightless birds, a category that also includes the ostrich, emu and kiwi. Penguins are neither the smallest nor the largest of the lot, but some may think of them as the most interesting.
These waddling birds are known for their white bellies and dark-colored backs and wings, resembling a tuxedo. This distinct coloring is thought to hide penguins from predators in the sea. Besides its coloring, a penguin’s body is designed for swimming, and includes tapering at both ends of the body for hydrodynamics, paddle-like wings and web-shaped feet.

Questions 1-2
Complete the sentences. Choose no more than two words and / or a number from the passage for each answer.
1. The ostrich, emu, kiwi and penguin are from the same group of ……….… birds.
2. Penguins can conceal themselves from predators with their ……………………..


Click to reveal the answers.


1. flightless
‘flightless’ is the only adjective that can possibly fit into the sentence from the first paragraph
2. distinct colouring

Passage take from – here.

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


  • resemble = look like, similar to
  • distinct = clear, well-defined
  • belly (bellies) = stomach
  • hide = conceal
  • predators = killers (in this reading passage it refers to sharks and seals etc
  • tapering = narrowing


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  1. 2/2 in just 30 seconds..

    love you Liz mam.

  2. 2/2 in 1 minute!

  3. Christine says:

    Hi Liz, amazing and very helpful, could you please provide me with the source of the above Reading, Thank you

  4. Hi Liz,

    Thanks for your very helpful website. Is it okay if I answered distinct coloring instead of distinct colouring?



  5. Hello Liz! 🙂

    In no.2 i answered ‘distinct coloring’ instead of ‘distinct colouring’ will it be considered correct?or the other way around? is spelling important on the exam even though they are synonyms?

    Thank you in Advance.
    p.s I find your tutorials very helpful specially for home study/home preparations for the IELTS exam. 🙂

  6. sravanthi says:

    hai mam, i am from India. i just started preparing for IELTS. i found your website very useful for me. i have got a doubt. in the above question, no.2 what if we write only ‘colour’. pls let me know wheather my english is good, as iam lacking confidence more. hoping to get a replay. thanks madam. in advance.

    • You must take your words for the answers directly from the reading passage. You can’t alter the form of the words. So, “colour” would be wrong because that word is not used as the answers in the passage.

  7. Hi Liz,

    My answers are: (1) flightless birds, (2) distinct coloring. Are those answers correct? Thanks

  8. Hi Liz,

    Hope you are doing well,
    Could (waddling) be an answer for Question no.1 ? and why?


  9. I am dipankar barua from India .I am very happy that I got you like a great teacher.your teaching patterns make me impressd.even I improved myself very much and Also I am get some confidence through your tips and practice materials with examples .
    Your all practice test is going to easy for me.but when I take Cambridge ielts practice book it’s getting quite tough for me .i don’t know why it’s happened with me .
    Could you suggest me which section or part in english I have to improved for my english also for ielts.
    And also tell me according to my writing skills,how much band I can get in ielts exam.
    Let me know please
    It will be great honor to u .
    Thanking you mam

  10. Hi thank you for sending me some lessons .they were very beneficial for me .however sometimes I have confusion with some topics like summary and t ,f,and ng once please could you give more guest ion about that topics

    • Hi,
      I plan to make free video lessons in the coming months about how to deal with difficult question types in reading. I’ll post them on my blog when they are ready.

  11. Apurba Sarker Apu says:

    Would you please explain what is the meaning of ‘no more than two words and / or a number’ with example. Thank you in advance.

    • Hi,

      This means the answer can be one word, two words or three words in length. It can also have a number attached (25 boys / 25 local craftsmen / 25 retired Swedish men). I hope that makes it clearer.

      • Hi
        I don’t understand clearly, if you say ” no more than two words “, I think it must 2 two only but ” 25 retired Swedish men” is 3 words.
        Thank you 😀

        • Hi, in the examples in the previous comment, I was giving examples of one word and a number, two words and a number and three words and a number – the “25 retired Swedish men” was my example of three words and a number. Each example is given respectively.
          I’m glad to see you are checking and thinking about it – very important!

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