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IELTS Reading task - Table completion
Step 1: Read the instructions carefully. Note that in the sample task you may use your own words if you wish, based on the information in the reading text. In other cases you will be instructed to use the words from the reading text only. Note also that here you may write only three words or fewer.
Step 2: Look at the table and especially any headings. Decide which is the most useful way to read the table. In this case you need to read it horizontally to answer the questions. Glance at the other information given in the table to get an idea of what information you will be searching for when you read.
Step 3:Look at the first row under the headings. Decide what key ideas you will need to search for as you skim the reading text. Decide also what information you will need to complete the first gap. For example, in the sample task you will skim for a paragraph or section discussing icebergs not being plotted because something was scattered all over the ship. What was that something?
Step 4: Skim the text for the appropriate paragraph or section.
Step 5: Read that section more carefully and decide on the best word or words to fill the gap. Remember that you will need to use the appropriate form of any verbs.
Read the instructions to see how many words you can use for each answer. The instructions will also tell you if you must use the exact words from the text, choose from a list of options, or use your own words to answer the question.
Types of table completion tasks
Sample Answer - Table completion
Introducing dung1 beetles into a pasture is a simple process: approximately 1,500 beetles are released, a handful at a time, into fresh cow pats2 in the cow pasture. The beetles immediately disappear beneath the pats digging and tunnelling and, if they successfully adapt to their new environment, soon become a permanent, self-sustaining part of the local ecology. In time they multiply and within three or four years the benefits to the pasture are obvious.
Dung beetles work from the inside of the pat so they are sheltered from predators such as birds and foxes. Most species burrow into the soil and bury dung in tunnels directly underneath the pats, which are hollowed out from within. Some large species originating from France excavate tunnels to a depth of approximately 30 cm below the dung pat. These beetles make sausage-shaped brood chambers along the tunnels. The shallowest tunnels belong to a much smaller Spanish species that buries dung in chambers that hang like fruit from the branches of a pear tree. South African beetles dig narrow tunnels of approximately 20 cm below the surface of the pat. Some surface-dwelling beetles, including a South African species, cut perfectly-shaped balls from the pat, which are rolled away and attached to the bases of plants.
For maximum dung burial in spring, summer and autumn, farmers require a variety of species with overlapping periods of activity. In the cooler environments of the state of Victoria, the large French species (2.5 cms long), is matched with smaller (half this size), temperate-climate Spanish species. The former are slow to recover from the winter cold and produce only one or two generations of offspring from late spring until autumn. The latter, which multiply rapidly in early spring, produce two to five generations annually. The South African ball-rolling species, being a sub-tropical beetle, prefers the climate of northern and coastal New South Wales where it commonly works with the South African tunneling species. In warmer climates, many species are active for longer periods of the year.
1. Highlight Keywords
- Keywords in the headings will tell you what kind of information is in a row or column so you know what to look for when you skim.
- Some tables contain sentences that need to be completed, so you should also highlight any keywords in these sentences.
The above keywords, tells us that we need to skim the paragraphs until we find one that talks about climates.
It also tells us we should scan for the word Spanish to find the answer.
- Look at the heading of the column or row.
- Look at any information that has already been completed in that column or row.
- If you need to complete a gap in a sentence, look at the surrounding words to see if you need a verb, noun, adverb or adjective.
2. Skim the text
Skim the text to find the paragraph that contains the information you are looking for. The headings on the table will tell you what kind of information you need. For question 9 in the example, we are looking for a paragraph that talks about climates.
By skimming the above text, we have found a paragraph that mentions seasons and climates so we should scan hear for the answer.
3. Scan the text
Scan the text for keywords and/or for the type of answer that you predicted.
In the above example we have found they keywords: Spanish and Climate. We can also see that the Spanish species is described as temperate, which is an adjective used to describe climates. So temperate is probably the correct answer.
Practice test - Table completion
Try to complete the table following the instructions above.
IELTS Academic Writing Masterclass course
The course is structured in the following way:
- You are given a video lesson with step to step processes and instructions, including structures, grammar vocabulary and helpful tips.
- Then you are presented practical tasks as your assignment. That is the most important part of the course, You are completing the task Following the instructions in the videos to write your high scoring report or essay.
- Then you send it for evaluation and feedback.
- You will be shown where you are doing well and what needs improving.
IELTS Academic Writing Course presentation