Matching Sentence Endings: IELTS Reading Practice

In this type of question you need to choose the correct ending for each sentence by selecting the ending from a list given. This is not the most common question type in IELTS reading but it does appear in the test and it is worth practising.

This is one of my tough lessons which I’ve written to challenge the higher level students.

Skim read the passage and then read through the sentences with the possible endings. Pay attention to grammar in order to complete each sentence – the sentence must be grammatically correct. The information contained in a correctly completed sentence can be found in the passage.

NASA’s Orion ‘Mars Ship’ set for test flight

IELTS Space Topic

A US space capsule that could help get humans to Mars is about to make its maiden flight.Orion will be launched on a Delta rocket out of Cape Canaveral in Florida on a short journey above the Earth to test key technologies. The conical vessel is reminiscent of the Apollo command ships that took men to the Moon in the 1960s and 1970s, but bigger and with cutting-edge systems. Given that this is a first outing, there will be no people aboard.

Nonetheless, the US space agency describes the demonstration as a major event. Nasa has a window in which to launch Orion of about two-and-a-half hours, which began at 07:05 local time (12:05 GMT). The launch preparations had to be stopped shortly before the opening of the window because a boat strayed into the eastern part of the launch range. After that, the countdown had to be held because of strong winds and a technical issue.

Orion is being developed alongside a powerful new rocket that will have its own debut in 2017 or 2018. Together, they will form the core capabilities needed to send humans beyond the International Space Station to destinations such as the Red Planet. For Thursday’s flight, the Delta IV-Heavy rocket – currently the beefiest launcher in the world – is being used as a stand-in. It will send Orion twice around the globe, throwing the ship up to an altitude of almost 6,000km (3,600 miles). This will set up a fast fall back to Earth, with a re-entry speed into the atmosphere close to 30,000km/h (20,000mph) – near what would be expected of a capsule coming back from the Moon. It should give engineers the opportunity to check the performance of Orion’s critical heat shield, which is likely to experience temperatures in excess of 2,000C (4,000F). They will also watch how the parachutes deploy as they gently lower the capsule into Pacific waters off Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula. (Passage from BBC News)

Questions 1-4

Complete the sentences by selecting the correct ending, A-G (not all letters will be used).

  1.  The first ever flight of Orion is aimed to ……
  2. Although the shape of Orion is similar to previous ships, it ………..
  3. A new rocket is also being developed which …………
  4. The rocket which will be used as a replacement will ………….
  5. As temperatures reach extreme levels on re-entry, this maiden flight will ……….
  • a. send Orion twice around the world.
  • b. has state of the art technology.
  • c. test the critical heat shield.
  • d. check Orion’s performance.
  • e. test the most important technology.
  • f. will have its first voyage in a few years.
  • g. help humans get to Mars


Click below to reveal the answers.

  1. e
  2. b
  3. f
  4. a
  5. c

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


Vocab Builder
  • maiden flight / maiden voyage = first ever flight / first journey
  • conical = shaped narrowing to a point
  • similar to something in the past
  • cutting-edge = front-line / pioneering / brand-new
  • strayed = drifted
  • debut = first appearance
  • in excess of = more than
  • (parachute) deploys = opens


See all my IELTS Reading Tips and Practice Lessons

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  1. Ayman Al Lulu says:

    Hi liz, i guess there is something wrong with my posts, last time i left a post here but i cant see it any more ..!?

  2. Hi Ms. Liz,

    I always get 1 wrong answer in all of your reading practices. Shall I be worried ? However, Thank you for creating this page.


    • If you are aiming for band score 9, then one wrong might be a problem. If you are aiming for band 7 or 8, getting 1 wrong is normal.

  3. Diwakar says:

    Thanks again Liz, I am sure you will get to see more of my comments till take the exam :-). I got 4/5 in this, got the first answer as G instead of (e), I had overlooked the phrase ” Key technologies”. I hope the more practice will help me to oversome this..

  4. Hi Liz,

    Thanks for this blog which is free.
    Please why is question 5 not D and instead the correct answer is C.

    • For this type of question, the answers come in order. This means you need to find the answer to number 5 after the answer for number 4. It will come lower in the reading passage. You can’t find the answer to number 5 at the start of the passage.

      • I don’t want you to feel this is a back and forth. But answer C and D are part of the same sentence. So I don’t understand why you say one is lower and the other higher up. C and D both make up the same sentence. I’m puzzled. Please help

        • You can see the word “performance” but the performance relates to the heat shield, not to Orion as a whole.

  5. Harpreet says:

    Hello are given by you is very beneficial. But I have a problem in writing. So plz give me some tips nd send some sample ..thanks alot

  6. For sentence completion type questions what should I write in d answer Sheet Alphabet or Anwer?

  7. Hi Liz,
    Thank you so much for a such a detailed blog. It is very helpful.
    I wish to know if we can use American spellings e.g. using ‘categorize’ instead of ‘categorise’. (Spell checker on my computer is showing a mistake)

  8. chinzorig charley says:

    They are very interesting and useful lessons I have ever had. I have been teaching IELTS Course in Mongolia for five years.

    I am interested in cooperating with you in IELTS Courses in Mongolia.


  9. some technical info which should hidden from general public /irrelevant to general public is visible in this page

  10. Thanks alot for explaining every point but my question is :is it possible to have two answers or three in the same paragraph. I think the main key to deal with most
    if not all the question types is PARAPHRASING .am I right?

    • The answers can be found in any paragraph. Each paragraph can be used more than once. Yes, the key is definitely paraphrasing and paying attention to grammar – the completed sentence must be grammatically correct.

  11. Hello Liz

    I got 4/5 using grammar only without reading the text can I do that on the test to with similar question? My test is tomorrow I would appreciate your feedback.

    Thank you.

    • Grammar will not help you every time. Sometimes you will need to use meaning and paraphrasing to match the sentence endings.

  12. hi liz if i click on the answer it does not show

  13. hi liz if i click d answers it does not show

    • Can you try again because it works fine on my laptop. If you continue to have a problem, let me know and I’ll email the answers.
      All the best

  14. I readit many times but, could someone explain me why answer of the first question is ‘e’ instead of ‘g’.?
    Please help me out..


    • Because it is about the first ever flight: “on a short journey above the Earth to test key technologies” which is not actually going to Mars.
      All the best

      • Thank you for your answer! I understand but it is still tricky for me. Getting people to the mars seems like more close rather than trying new technologies… I will keep practicing.
        Thank you!

      • Even i also had the same doubt. Thanks mam☺

  15. Hello Liz! Thank you for this kind of practice that you provide for us.
    In this practice test I got 4/5, however, it took me 15 minues to finish this 5 items test. I always spent more than 8minutes in all your practices. Do you think it’s a bad impression for my actual exam??? Im worried that the 1 hour allowance would not be enough for me.
    Thanks in advance!

  16. Hello Liz

    While giving ielts reading I usually get NASA related something like this very complex with various difficult paraphrase. Could you please share more difficult ones with us? Thankyou

  17. Hi Liz. Some of your Reading practice I can not download in order to print out for reading easily, except for the pdf is available. So it is not allowed to copy, right?

  18. Hlo mam! I m new to ur site bt i have seen ur videos so many times at my coaching centre in punjab. I really feel ur tips are useful for me and for all learners and easy to understand and to learn.

  19. 4/5

  20. Hi Liz,

    I am not able to identify the correct answer for 2nd question even after reading so many times. Rest all are correct. I would be really greatful to you if you could please take out some time to assist me?


    • Did you use grammar to help you? Did you remember that answers come in order? These basic rules will give the answer without any problems.

      The first part of the sentence ends in “it” which means the verb following must be third person singular. Following this grammar rule, only “b” or “f” is possible. The answer to this must be found in the passage after the answer to question 1 and before the answer to question 3. This means that it is likely to be at the start of this passage because the passage isn’t long. The answer can be found in the second sentence “The conical vessel is reminiscent of the Apollo command ships that took men to the Moon in the 1960s and 1970s, but bigger and with cutting-edge systems.” and related to “cutting-edge systems”.

      IELTS reading is about technique, grammar and vocabulary.
      All the best

      • Thankyou Liz.

        Though, I was sure that the answer is in these two lines, but where are they talking about art of technology here? Please let me know where am i lacking? Can you please refer any good website to clear my grammar doubts?

  21. Got 4/5. Too bad.. Hi Liz, do you think all your example passage would be as difficult as the real exam?

  22. Got 5/5 thnks. ?

  23. OMG, i got 5/5 although i didn’t understand this passage completely.

  24. got 4/5…
    Foolishly made 1 mistake !

  25. hi Liz’ I have watched all of ur vedoes and most of the tips’which is very helpful.but I am really anxious about my reading understanding and time management.I also mistake spelling in the answer sheet.what should I do to get red of.

  26. My all variants r false. Can you explain how you chose true answers exactly in this topic? Why these variants true, why others false, like this.
    Thanks in advance..

  27. Mam,you might notice that i’m a regular user of your blog.i got all of the right because these are easy ,the passage is short as well.i took just above 3 and a half minute to solve this,does it mean i’m good at answering this type of question and another think before answering the questions i tried to predict answers,is it right to do that?Another question if i just practice your given passages ,will it be enough for me to get a good band score?

    Sometimes i ask you silly question Mam,i hope it wont bother you at all.


    • Don’t worry, they are good questions. These practice lessons are only to develop skills for question types, not for speed. It is good to try to predict the answer because it means you are thinking more deeply about the questions. These lessons are not enough to prepare for your IELTS test. You also need to do practice tests from the IELTS Cambridge books. Watch my video about how to prepare for IELTS – it’s on my home page.
      All the best

  28. Teacher,really stubbron.

  29. mustafa mhawi says:

    hi liz
    the are no ways to reward your work,,i,m really grateful for u
    my question is ,,,,why no 1. is not have a G option?
    isnt the aim of orion is to send the human to the mars? thats what iam understood it from the general idea of the passage!!!!!

    thanks again

    • The answers follow the order of information in the passage. Please read my essential tips on each type of question in IELTS reading to learn more about this for each question. You’ll find that page in the reading section of this blog.
      All the best

  30. Hi Liz,
    Thank you for the rich content.
    regarding this passage, I feel that G could be an answer for Q) 3.
    or it doesn’t work grammaticly?


    • That’s right. The problem is grammar. You can’t have “…which help humans…” when the subject being referred to is singular but you could have “…which will help humans…” or “…which helps humans…”

  31. Prajeesha Viswanathan says:

    This was a good exercise to practice. But I do not understand why got wrong answer for the 2nd question. Can you explain me how the answer become ‘b’ please? Thank you.

    • Hi,

      The answers come in order. So, the answer to number 2 comes before 1 and 3. Here is the sentence that provides the answer “The conical vessel is reminiscent of the Apollo command ships that took men to the Moon in the 1960s and 1970s, but bigger and with cutting-edge systems.”. The word “reminiscent” means it is similar to Apollo command ships and “cutting-edge systems” means “state of the art technology”.
      I hope that helps.

  32. WOW just what I was searching for. Came here by searching ffor m88

  33. Hi Liz,
    Regarding matching sentence ending for IELTS reading practice on NASA’s Orion Mars spaceship.
    I expected question 1 answer to be (d) .The reason being that, while it is agreed that it is a space capsule that could help get human to mars, from the opening sentence.The question is on the aim of the first ever flight of Orion,which is answered on the last sentence of the first paragraph ,which reads” given that this is a first outing,there will be no people aboard “. I dont know if my conviction is wrong.

    • Hi,

      This is where useful tips come into effect. The sentence beginnings follow the order of information in the passage. So, the first question (the first sentence beginning) must be found at the start of the passage, particularly as there are so many questions with such a short passage. Therefore, the answer much be e. Read through the Reading Question Types with Tips:
      All the best

      • amr zaki says:

        why you wrote the answer for the first question e not g?!!!!!!!!!!! the maiden flight to test the technology and the first ever to take men to mars

        • Because although it does take humans to Mars, it is not actually the aim of the flight. The aim is to test key technology. The first ever flight is the maiden voyage and in this case, the first flight will not actually go to Mars, it is going to go round the Earth just to test it. Try not to match words, aim for meaning.

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