PTE Preparation Blog

Listening, Fill in the Blanks - How to get the scores you need in one attempt

Listening, fill in the blanks is one of the easiest item types in the PTE test. As you will see further down in the blog this item type is basically like a spelling test...

Author: GLS LLP       Date: 10-03-2017

Listening, fill in the blanks is one of the easiest item types in the PTE test. As you will see further down in the blog this item type is basically like a spelling test. Hence it gives PTE test takers an excellent opportunity to further build up points for listening, writing and overall score. However, to do well you must understand what this question type tests, how it scores answers, how to use your time efficiently and how to approach the question. These topics are the subject matter of this blog, so read on.

The task

Listening, fill in the blanks is a listening item type which has 2-3 questions. It assesses both listening and writing skills. The questions are designed to test your ability to listen for missing words in a speech and then write the words with correct spelling.

For listening, fill in the blanks, the top section of the screen will contain instructions. These instructions will say something to the effect "You will hear a recording. Type the missing words in each blank". There is no useful information pertaining to the question in instructions. Furthermore, these instructions will remain same for all questions in this item type. So do not waste time reading them but understand and be aware of the instructions for this item type, during the PTE test.

A box representing the audio player will follow the instructions. The timer on audio player will countdown from 7 seconds after which its status will change to playing and you will hear the audio recording. Below the audio player you will find the text of the audio with blanks.

Scoring

The communicative skill scored in this section is listening and writing.

The listening sub skills tested in this section are identifying words and phrases appropriate to the context; understanding academic vocabulary; comprehending explicit and implicit information; following an oral sequencing of information.

The writing sub skills tested in this section are Writing from dictation; using words and phrases appropriate to the context; using correct grammar; using correct spelling.

Partial credit applies to listening fill in the blanks. This means that you do not have to fill all blanks correctly to get a score. You score 1 for every blank filled with correct word and spelling and 0 for every blank filled with incorrect word or correctly filled but with incorrect spelling.

Strategies and tips

For this item type we will present strategies and tips by activities that you have to perform to fill the blanks correctly. The activities are divided into 3 parts namely "Before Listening", "During Listening" and "After Listening".

Before Listening

You will have 7 seconds of preparation time before the audio starts playing. Some PTE test takers use this time to read instructions. As we described earlier the instructions will remain same for all questions in this item type, so, do not waste time reading them during the test but understand and be aware of what the instructions are for this item.

Instead read the given academic text. Through your reading of the text you will know the content of the audio recording and know the parts that you have to listen carefully to get the words for the blanks.

During your reading figure out the parts where blanks are too close together. It may happen that while listening and taking notes, you may not finish writing the word for one blank when speaker mentions the content for the next blank. In such a situation, you may miss the content of the following blank. A strategy to deal with such close together blanks is discussed in the "While listening" section of this blog. What is important during preparation time is you be aware of these sections of the text.

While Listening

The text with blanks is the content of the speech that you will hear. So, as you listen read the text with the speaker. When you come across parts with blanks, listen attentively and be prepared to write down the missing word in your notebook. At this stage do not worry about spelling or your handwriting.

If two blanks are close together and you do not have time to write down the word for the first blank, completely; Write just part of the word that will hint the complete word when you go through your notes to answer the question and then move on to the note the word for the second blank.

After listening

After listening, go through your notes and transfer your answers into the blanks by left clicking on them. If you missed a word, guess the word. However, make sure that the word you guess for the blanks meet the grammatical and common sense criteria.

To make grammatical sense the word should fit in with the grammar of the sentence. The nouns, pronouns, tenses and articles to name a few will give you the hints as to appropriateness of a word in the grammatical context of a sentence.

To check the common sense criteria, check if the word makes the meaning of the sentence in the context of the larger text clearer.

If you are ready for practice of listening, fill in the blanks; you can take the next step in your PTE Preparation by enrolling in one of our PTE preparation courses. You will get to practice your skills in an environment that stimulates actual PTE test. You will have the G-Analytics tool to tell you what skills you need to focus on most and personal tutor feedback to help you along the way and get you the scores you need in one attempt. Have a look at our courses section to learn more.


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