ielts reading table completion

1. What is a Table?

A table is a way to categorise information described in a text. In IELTS Reading, the table completion question will involve filling in gaps using words taken directly from the text.

The amount of information and its presentation in the table may seem overwhelming to some test-takers, but Benchmark IELTS has tips and strategies you can use to help you answer accurately, and use your time efficiently.

2. Table Completion Example

ielts reading table completion

3. Universal Reading Tips

  1. Go over the instructions carefully
  2. Skim the text – read through it quickly to get a broad sense of the theme
  3. Scan the text – read through it quickly to locate detailed information to answer the question
  4. Do not leave blank answers – IELTS does not give negative marks, so writing the most appropriate answer you can find.
  5. Be time-efficient – spend around 20 minutes on each text, skimming, scanning, answering questions and transferring your answers to the answer sheet.

4. Table Completion Tips

4.1 You will need to fill in the gaps using words from the text. Read the instructions carefully as the will tell you how many words you may use for your answers. For instance, if the instructions say ‘use no more than 3 words’, you may use 1, 2 or 3 words from the text, but no more than that. Find out more on how to interpret such instructions here.

4.2 Remember that the 20 minutes recommended are to be spent on the passage, but there will be more than one question type to use with it, not only the table completion one. If you have completed other question types relating to the passage prior to the table completion, this may help with understanding what the text is about, and complete the table more easily.

4.3 Take the time to read all the information in the table. Ensure that you understand the titles in its columns, as well as the titles in its rows (if any). Pay attention to the information already provided in the table. Pick out and paraphrase key words/phrases that may be identified in the passage to help fill-in the gaps.

4.4 Once you have identified the key words in the text, read carefully around them to make sure you understand the information and can choose the appropriate words as your answers.

4.6 Looking at the sentences surrounding each gap, think of the grammar being used, and try to predict the type of word you will need to find the text. Will it be a verb or a noun? Perhaps a name? Remember, you must use words from the text as they appear in the text.

4.7 In IELTS Reading, a good approach to skimming the text is reading the first and last paragraphs of the text to get a sense of its topic, as well as the first sentence of each paragraph, which normally serves as an introduction to the theme being covered.

4.8 When you locate the information in the text, compare it with the information in the table, so that you can decide on the appropriate words to use as your answers. Always make time to double check your answers, including grammar and spelling.

4.9 For time-management purposes, spend a maximum of 2 minutes skimming the passage.

IELTS Reading Question Types List

5. Good to Know

5.1 For this question type, answers tend to be found in a specific location in the passage. And tend to follow the order of the text. Use paraphrased key words to help find such location.

5.2 What do word-limited answers mean in IELTS Reading question types? Here is an explanation below:

Possible answers: 1 word / 2 words / 3 words / 1 number / 1 word + number / 2 words + number / 3 words + number

IELTS writing correction

5.3 Words containing hyphens count as one word (e.g. ‘make-up’, ‘in-laws’, ‘low-level’, etc.)

5.4 Even if a number is written out in letters, it counts as one number, regardless of how many words make up that number. For example, ‘three hundred and fifty’ are four words, but they count as one number (350). So ‘three hundred and fifty calories’ would be 1 number and 1 word.

5.5 Contractions will not be used as answers (e.g. ‘aren’t’ instead of ‘are not’ or ‘don’t’ instead of ‘do not’).

6. Example

Text topic

Countries around the world choose colours for their flags that have a particular significance. The French flag is blue, white and red, and its original design dates back to 1794. The flag of Ireland is also of a tricolour nature, and is green, orange and white. It was formally confirmed in the year 1937.


Moving to the African continent, the Tunisian flag as we know it today was adopted in 1827 and is red and white.

The current flag of China, adopted in 1949, is red and yellow.

On the South American side, the Colombian flag is yellow, blue and red and dates back to 1861.




Colours1……..Green, white, orangeRed, yellow4………Yellow, blue, red
Year current flag was officially recognised17942………3……..18275………….


1. Blue, white, red

2. 1937

3. 1949

4. Red, white

5. 1861


Year current flag was officially recognised = year/date actual/today’s flag/design was adopted
Countries = nationalities (French, Irish, Chinese, Tunisian, Colombian)
We can see that the language to look out for will be nouns relating to colours and dates.


Below are the parts of the text where the answers are found:

  1. ‘The French flag is blue, white and red’
  2. ‘The flag of Ireland is also of a tricolour nature, and is green, orange and white. It was formally confirmed in the year 1937.’
  3. ‘The current flag of China, adopted in 1949’
  4. ‘the Tunisian flag as we know it today was adopted in 1827 and is red and white.’
  5. the Colombian flag is yellow, blue and red and dates back to 1861.

7. Mock Test

Due to the growing need for linguistic diversity in further education establishments and workplaces, an early introduction to foreign language learning is implemented in primary schools in the European Union (EU). At present there are 24 officially recognised languages within the EU. The number of official languages in the EU has always been lower than that of its Member States, as some EU Member States share common languages. For instance, the official languages of Belgium are Dutch, French and German. In addition to the official languages, there are indigenous regional and minority languages spoken in some EU Member States, such as Catalan, Galician and Basque in Spain. Many other languages have been brought to the EU by migrant populations, including Arabic, Chinese and Turkish.

Within primary education, a very high proportion of pupils learn English in a majority of EU Member States. Learning English is mandatory within secondary education institutions in several Member States, and therefore a number of them have close to 100 % of pupils learning this language already in primary education. The countries of Cyprus and Malta, for instance, have reached 100% in 2019, and Spain 99%. In Greece and in France, at least 9 out of 10 primary schools taught English as a foreign language.

Many of the eastern and northern European Member States that joined the EU in 2004 or 2007 were previously required to learn Russian. This situation has changed rapidly and in most of these countries there has been a marked increase in the proportion of pupils learning English. For instance, by 2019, 80% of Slovenian Primary schools taught English.

Luxembourg is an interesting case, as it has three official languages, with most pupils receiving instruction in Luxembourgish, German and French in primary education, and where English is only introduced at secondary school. Luxembourg has the highest percentage (84%) of primary schools teaching French. Less than 20% of Spanish and Greek primary schools have introduced the language, and less than 5% did in Cyprus, Malta and Slovenia.

In 2019, German was the principal foreign language taught to all primary school children in Luxembourg (100 %). Less than 20% of primary schools in Greece taught the language, and less than 5% did in Cyprus, Malta, Spain, France and Slovenia.

Text edited, adapted and partially paraphrased from the following source

Questions 1-5

Complete the table below.

Choose NO MORE THAN 3 WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER from the passage for each answer.

Write your answers in boxes 1–5 on your answer sheet.

It was taught in 1………. % of primary schools in Cyprus.It was available in less than 5% of schools in Malta.100% of primary schools in Luxembourg taught German as a 2 ………. .
9 out of 10 primary schools in France taught the language.Less than 20% of schools in Spain 3………. the language.


Less than 4 ………. % of primary schools in Slovenia delivered German classes.
80% of Slovenian primary schools taught it.French language classes were supplied in 84% of schools in Luxembourg.Less than 20% of Greek schools taught the language.
0% of primary schools introduced the language in 5 ………..It is not applicable to France.In 2019, less than 5% of Maltese primary schools implemented German classes.

IELTS Reading Table Completion Question

  1. 100
  2. principal foreign language
  3. have introduced
  4. 5
  5. Luxembourg
Score - 0

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