Table completion questions in IELTS listening

Table completion questions in IELTS listening

Often in the IELTS listening test, you are required to complete missing information given in a table. One of the most useful skills  with this type of question is to look at the information already given and predict some of the answer types you will be listening for.

Table completion questions in IELTS listeningFor example, what type of answer would you expect for the table-completion question below?

Complete the table below with NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS OR A NUMBER.

Travel Abroad Ltd – summer trips to Europe departing from the UK

 Destination Paris  Berlin  (1)_______
 Mode of transport  (2)_________  Coach  Train
 Date of departure   12 May  17 May  (3)_______
 Cost of trip   £712   (4)__________   £245
 Travel time  Less than one hour  18 hours  2 days

This is a relatively simple example (although this is something you could be required to complete for Section 1), but it shows the basic skills that you should use. With table-completion questions, look at the other data in the
table. Often you will see patterns which will indicate the type of information you should be listening for. If one column has nouns, then it is reasonable to expect you are looking for a noun. Also, be logical – use the information you have to roughly predict the information you will be listening for. For example, it is logical that a coach trip will be cheaper than a train trip.

Here’s some of the information you could have predicted about each answer:

Answer 1: logically, this would be a place, and likely a city (possibly even a capital city as Paris and Berlin are both capitals). If your geography of Europe and surrounding areas is good, you should also have predicted it is likely to be some distance from Paris, Berlin or London as the trip is by train and will take 2 days. However, it is still in Europe as stated in the title of the table (‘trips to Europe’).

Answer 2: you should have predicted that this is a more expensive but faster trip to the destination, so likely to be by aeroplane.

Answer 3: Clearly this a date, but you should also be able to estimate that it is likely to be close to May as this is the date for the other two trips, and also that the date must be in summer (the title of the table is ‘Summer trips’)

Answer 4: obviously a price in pounds sterling (UK currency). This is probably going to be the cheapest of all three because it is travelling by coach, which is generally cheaper than a train, and takes 18 hours.

Now try with an audio recording.

Before listening to the recording, look at the table and predict the type of missing information. Use the table headings at the top and on the left hand side to help you. Then play the recording and complete the table.

NOTE: This is a practice exercise – there are no word limits for these answers.

Sam John Mary
Attitude to recycling Doesn’t have time (1) (2)
Availability (3) No local recycling areas (4)
Ideas for the future (5) A reward scheme for
people who recycle



Click here to check your answers

This is a practice exercise with no word limit, so you do not have to have the EXACT wording below.

  1. Thinks it can be difficult
  2. Always recycles
  3. Limited local facilities
  4. Very limited facilities
  5. Fine offenders


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