Reading and Writing: Which Word Goes Better with The Blanks?

In the PTE exam, the Reading section plays a crucial part; and therefore, you must have excellent reading skills. Though the ‘FILL IN THE BLANKS’ is the last part of the PTE Reading & Writing test, it still holds a sufficient amount of weightage both on Reading and Writing score. Different than the ‘Fill in the blanks’ section of the Reading Task, you do NOT drag and drop the correct word in the blank portion of the sentence.

Instead, the Fill in the Blanks section in ‘Reading and Writing’ has questions in the form of a passage, and in a 300 – word passage, there are around 5-6 questions. In this section, you will have to choose from 4 options related to the context and choose the best appropriate word that is suitable for the blank to be filled in. So, what are the essential skills that are to be put to the test while you attempt the ‘Fill in the Blanks’ Section?


Reading and Writing:

First and foremost, understand the fact that as your reading skills are put on the line, you have to read as fast as you can, to save time. You get 32 – 35 minutes to complete the entire reading section, consisting of 5 sub-sections. So, mathematically, this brings down your time to 5-7 minutes per sub-section, and you’ve got 5-6 question to finish reading all of them. Therefore, reading fast is very important.

The other things that you have to take care of include your vocabulary, grammar, collocations and a proper understanding of the context. Let’s try to know & understand them in a better way.

Understanding of The Context

After you have finished reading the given passage, you will become familiar with the topic that is covered in the passage and will have a fair idea of what the passage is about. Understanding the context is one of the essential parts as you will have an idea of the kind of words that can be used to describe the passage & still have the same meaning as that of the passage. When you are dealing with two closely related words that hold a similar meaning, it becomes difficult to distinguish between them, and therefore select one word from them. For example:

During World War II, the British Entertained the _______ (idea, proposal) of the building runways on the icebergs in-order to provide for the vital Atlantic convoys.

In the above example, you can see that the words ‘idea’ and ‘proposal’ are very closely related and might even have the same meaning. But, to choose one amongst these two, you have to make a choice of selection from the ‘Category’ of Words. This ‘Category’ of words depends on the importance of that particular word in reference to the given context. In the above example, the idea is closely related to the context. Therefore, the word ‘idea’ is the correct answer.

A Firm Grip On the Grammar

When the time is scarce, there are faint chances that you’ll get to go through the context again, so predicting the type of word whether it’s an adjective, verb, proposition or a noun in quick time plays a significant role here.  

But, if your basics of grammar are correct and robust, you will not have much of a problem with this task. You have to be swift in understanding and deciding as to which word is right for any given context and answer them instead of wasting much of time on the words you are not sure about. Sometimes, it may happen that though you might not understand the context, you will be able to choose the correct word thanks to grammar, whereas in other cases, even though you might recognize the context, you will face decision – making problems in choose the appropriate word, only because of a weak grip on grammar. Let’s see that with an example.

One of the myths _________ (associated, allied, United) with the Great Wall of China is that it is the only human-made structure that can be seen through the naked eye.

In the above example, all the words have a similar meaning, and therefore understanding the word which sounds appropriate with the proposition, i.e. ‘with’, is important. In this case, we need a third – form word and all the words given are third-form words. Therefore, in the above example, the word “associated” is the right answer.

A Powerful Vocabulary

This section will have a wide range of passages whose topics vary from academic to literature. There will be many words that you might not be familiar with, as you might be reading or seeing them for the first time. To avoid such situations, you must try to read as many articles as much as you can. This will make your vocabulary stronger by the day. If you do not know the meaning of words as you read through, note them down & refer a dictionary; and later, after learning the meaning of it, make use of them in a day – to – day life by using them contextually. This way, you will have a fair idea whether it is a correct word for the context or the blank. Also, you will be able to better understand the meaning of a particular sentence.

As you can see, this subsection will require good vocabulary as well because many times, the words tend to be synonyms and you need an in-depth knowledge of which word fills the blank better.

Proper Use of Collocations

To make use of the collocations, you must first understand the meaning & context of this word. Collocations are the words that go together just like a phrase. Collocations will not only make the sentences look good, but will also help you in this section to know and understand which word will come to sound appropriate with another word. Take an example.  

‘You need to be aware of grammar in order to get a good score in this task.’

Thus, as you can see, collocations play a significant role in helping you form or understand a given text completely.

Do you know that PTE has already published a list of almost 2500 collocations? It is suggested that you go through the list once to have a fair idea about collocations.


  1. Read the passage entirely to clearly understand the theme and meaning of the context given.   
  2. Use your time wisely & smartly. Dedicate one or one and a half minutes to answer a question.
  3. Before you switch on to the next question, do not forget to re-read the passage in order to assure yourself of having made the right choice.
  4. Choose the best possible answer in accordance with the context given.

As discussed, not only will all the tips and strategies help you understand the importance of every sub-section, it will also guide you to secure a good score in the PTE exam. Find more about the exam and its pattern. Also, download the PTE Tutorials App to get FREE access to videos, PTE exam tips by experts, FREE practice Questions to master tasks and lots more to give yourself a sure – shot success in the PTE exam. Download the app & get 10 FREE mock tests.

Dinesh Taylor

I am Dinesh, a content writer at Writeup . I wrote many articles at this website. Read my post regularly and share with your friends.

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