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Sentence Completion Task: Practice 2

In the sentence completion task of the IELTS Reading test, you will be asked to complete sentences by using a word, short phrase or number from the text to fill gaps. In order to complete this task well, you need to be able to locate specific information, understand a short passage of text and choose the most appropriate word. Therefore, you will benefit from improving your paraphrasing skills, skimming and scanning skills and, most importantly, your reading comprehension (no doubt the MOST important skill to be successful in the IELTS Reading test).


Here are some top tips to ensure your success with this type of question in the IELTS test.

  • Think about which type of word is required in the gap – is it a noun, an adjective or a verb?
  • Check that the sentence is grammatically correct when the word is inserted!
  • Consider the topic of the sentence and where that information is located in the passage.
  • The answers to the questions will (normally!) come in order in the text. Use this to help you locate where in the text the answer may be located.
  • Ensure that you double check whether the answer is asking for one word, two words or a number as the answer.


As with any part of the IELTS test, practice makes perfect. So be sure to use our Sentence Completion Practice Tasks to help develop your ability and skill. Check out the other reading practice tasks for more opportunities to develop your reading skills!




Obesity ’causes more cases of some cancers than smoking’


Obesity now causes more cases of four common cancers in the UK than smoking, according to a charity. Cancer Research UK says bowel, kidney, ovarian and liver cancers are more likely to have been caused by being overweight than by smoking tobacco. It says millions are at risk of cancer because of their weight and that obese people outnumber smokers two to one. But its new billboard campaign highlighting the obesity-cancer risk has been criticised for fat-shaming.


Cancer Research UK says it is not about blaming people for being overweight. Nor is it suggesting that smoking and obesity are directly comparable in terms of cancer risk. Both increase a person’s risk. But it says being overweight or obese causes around 22,800 cases of cancer each year, compared to smoking which causes 54,300. For the four highlighted cancers:-


Bowel – Of around 42,000 new cases, being obese causes 4,800, smoking 2,900

Kidney – 12,900 in total; being obese causes 2,900, smoking 1,600

Liver – 5,900 in total; being obese causes 1,300 cases, smoking 1,200

Ovarian – 7,500 in total; being obese causes 490 cases per year, smoking 25


Smoking remains the UK’s leading preventable cause of cancer overall. Obesity ranks second, says CRUK. But while smoking rates are decreasing, obesity is increasing, which health experts agree is concerning.


Text adapted from:  https://www.bbc.com/news/health-48826850





Complete the following sentences. Choose no more than one word or number from the passage to fill the gaps.


  1. The main cause of the top four cancers is now said to be _______________.


  1. More people may end up with cancer due to their ________________.


  1. However, recent advertising about this has been heavily ___________________.


  1. Annually, approximately _________________ cases of bowel cancer are caused by people being overweight.


  1. The most common cause of cancer is still _____________.




  1. obesity
  2. weight
  3. criticised
  4. 4,800
  5. smoking



New Vocabulary to Learn!


obesity = fat or overweight

outnumber = to be greater in number than something else

billboard = a large outdoor board for displaying advertisements

campaign = a planned group of activities to achieve something

criticised = expressed disapproval of something

fatshaming = humiliating or making fun of someone for being fat

nor = a word used to introduce the second or last in a set of negative statements

comparable = to be likened to something else that is similar

preventable =

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