Thu. Jun 30th, 2022

When you start the PTE Reading section, the first question type that you see on your screen is Reading and Writing: Fill in the Blanks. Previously, before November 2021, this question type used to appear as the fifth and the last question type in the PTE Reading section. But, that has changed now, probably due to the importance and weightage of this type of question in the PTE test. So, in this article, we will everything you need to know about this task including the strategy, skills built-up required, practice questions and guidance for further ahead.

Just to let you all know in the beginning, these questions are very important if you really want a great reading score. So, learn the tips and tricks discussed below.

PTE Reading and Writing Fill in the Blanks Overview

To start with, let’s understand what this question type is all about. A text passage appears on the screen, where you see several gaps or blanks. These blanks are substituted with dropdown lists that present you with the answer options (typically 4 options) for each of those gaps, see the picture below. The answer options will be grammatically similar and also have similar meanings. But, you need to select the answer which makes perfect sense, both meaningfully as well as contextually. Select the answers for each of the blanks that you seem fit in the best way.

Reading and Writing: Fill in the Blanks Layout

Reading and Writing: Fill in the Blanks Layout


The passage will be up to 300 words in length and you will get 5 to 6 of these questions in the real PTE test. Being precise is the key here. These questions are designed to test your ability to use grammatical and contextual hints to identify the right words that complete the given text. This question type also contributes to your writing score, as it also judges your writing skills when you are selecting the precise words for the gaps.

Each correct answer with give you 1 mark, but there is no negative marking. So, if you select any wrong answers, you still get marks for the correct ones. With up to 4 blanks in each question and 5 to 6 questions in total, you are looking at a potential of scoring 20 to 24 marks alone in this question type. These facts make this question of utmost importance if you desire a good reading score.

Time Management

Since there is no allocated time for the PTE Reading and Writing Fill in the Blanks questions or the entire PTE reading section, you need to learn to manage your own time. But, these are very important question types, so ideally we recommend one should spend around 2 min per question. Remember, if you need more time on this task, you will have to make it up by spending lesser time on other tasks in the reading section. So, in the end, speed reading is the essence here. To understand how to manage time for the entire reading section, please read Reading: Questions and Format.

PTE Reading and Writing Fill in the Blanks Tips and Tricks

Now that you know all the information about the PTE Reading and Writing Fill in the Blanks, let’s deep dive into how to solve this one efficiently, and look at the PTE Reading and Writing Fill in the Blanks Tips and Tricks. The trick to solve this question is to select the right word, which is of the right word type, in the right place, and to sound contextually right. Doesn’t make sense? Let’s elaborate on this, so it’s easier to understand.

See the diagram below. You need to select the best word choice from the given options in the test. So, how do you do that?

Reading and Writing: Fill in the Blanks Strategy

Ask these questions to yourself.

Meaning What does the given word mean? Is it the right word?

Grammar Is it in the correct grammatical format? Is it the right word type?

Collocation Does the word pair make sense together? Do the words fit together?

Context Does the word fit the context, or say the right thing?

The best choice will have its meaning, grammar and collocation fit together in the given context and it will make perfect sense. So, what skills do you need to excel in this task? Let’s have a look at them below.

Skill 1: Vocabulary

This is the first and the most important skill that you need to develop. Building this skill requires time and continuous effort, so start on it in the early days of your PTE preparation and practice daily to expand your vocabulary. In order to understand word meanings, you need to build the vocabulary. Also, read our blog on PTE Reading Tips and Tricks, specially written to focus on this area. Let’s do an example, identify which word will fit in the blank.

Example – An extremely ______ (talented/ inspired/ creative/ genius) idea paves way for greater things.

Creative. Why is this the correct answer?

Explanation – The word ‘talented’ is often related to people or living things. For instance, a talented person. Also, extremely creative = genius, so extremely genius would not make sense here. Additionally, ‘inspired’ always collocates with ‘by’ or used with someone. For instance, inspired by, inspired me.

Skill 2: Grammar

To identify the correct word type, you need to have good grammar skills. Shown below briefly are the 7 essential word types in the English language.

  • Nouns – a person, place, thing, or intangible idea (abstract nouns). E.g. Jack, Sydney, Ship, or Freedom Tip: Article precedes a noun. E.g. A ship, An ice cream, A/ the book
  • Pronouns – It replaces nouns (substitutes). E.g. I, He, She, Them, Who
  • Adjectives – describes nouns or pronouns. E.g. Hot, lazy, Bright, Unique
  • Verbs – an action that tells what happened. E.g. eat, go, do, run, see.
  • Adverbs – describes verbs or adjectives. E.g. softly, slowly, loudly.
  • Prepositions – shows a relation between nouns or pronouns. E.g. to, in, of, up, at, over.
  • Conjunctions – joins words and phrases into sentences. E.g. And, but, Or, With.

If you understand the above grammar well, many tasks in the PTE test will be a lot easier for you. So, strive hard to improve this, as it will definitely take a bit of time and repeated practice to excel in it. At EduTrainex, we focus on the grammar in our live classes as well as provide video tutorials on different areas of English grammar. Let’s do an example.

Example – His ______ (creativity/ creative/ create/ creatively) paved way for greater ideas.

creativity. Why is this the correct answer?

Explanation – ‘create’ is a verb, ‘creative’ is an adjective, ‘creatively’ is an adverb and ‘creativity’ is a noun. We can clearly see that a verb will not fit here, also an adjective requires a supporting noun/ pronoun with it (e.g. creative idea). Also, ‘creatively’ will not fit here, so the correct answer is ‘creativity’ (a noun)

Skill 3: Collocation

You also need to build an understanding of collocation. So, what is a collocation? It is a group of words that often go together or that are likely to occur together. The usage of collocation is very common among native English speakers. You can also download the official PTE collocation word list from here.

Let’s look at some forms of collocation.

  • Verb + Noun -> achieve goals, collect data
  • Verb + Adverb -> communicate effectively, increased dramatically
  • Adjective + Noun -> brief introduction, commit crime
  • Adverb + Verb -> critically evaluate, closely linked
  • Noun + Noun -> government policy, information gathering

Knowing the collocation related to a word increases your chances of getting the answers right.

Example – Higher ______ (inventive/ original/ productive/ cognitive) abilities can pave way for greater things.

Cognitive. Why?

Explanation – ‘Inventive’ usually collocates with person/ process or action. E.g. ‘inventive painter’. ‘Original’ pairs normally with idea, way. And, ‘productive’ pairs with work, meeting, etc. ‘Cognitive abilities’ is the correct collocation and hence the best answer.

Skill 4: Context

You have witnessed how vocabulary, grammar and collocation can boost your scoring efficiency for this question type. Lastly, you also need to understand the whole context or the theme that has been presented to you in the text passage. It may be political, scientific, social, historical, mythological, etc. The chunks of text/ words before and after the blanks will help you determine the context and select the precise answer. Look at the example below.

Example – Johnny and Tom are best friends. But they differ in their qualities. Johnny is very creative and always has an eye for art, while Tom is not so bright. For a competition, both friends submitted their ideas. Johnny’s _____ idea was praised while Tom’s _____ idea was not so much admired.

Answer Options – unimaginative, innovative.

Johnny’s innovative idea was praised while Tom’s unimaginative idea was not so much admired.

Explanation – You can see how understanding the context by reading the whole text helps you quickly determine the perfect answer quickly.

Reading and Writing Fill in the Blanks with Answers

Practice 1:

Reading and Writing: Fill in the Blanks practice 1

Ans1 – expansion – ‘expansion of gases’ is the best word combination here. ‘immolation’ means to destroy by fire, not making sense here. ‘dilapidation’ is also incorrect here as it means a state of rotting or disrepair. ‘excoriation’ means to denounce, also making less sense here. Even if you don’t know the meanings of other words, just by using the word ‘expansion’, you can determine that it best fits the answer.

Ans2 – applied – ‘given’ and ‘taken’ can straight away be ruled out as they make no sense here. ‘apply force’ is the correct collocation here, and ‘render force’ is incorrect as force is never rendered (passed down) but always applied. (

Ans3 – continuous – ‘continuous combustion’ fits perfectly here. The text clearly refers in Para2 that the previous engines were intermittent (not continuous), then it tries to introduce a contrasting engine type – ‘continuous’. ‘irredentist’ is totally incorrect here. Also, ‘explosive’ and ‘sustainable’ make less sense than ‘continuous’ here.

Ans4 – form – ‘form of internal .. engines’ makes perfect sense here. ‘species’ is wrong here, used with living things. ‘continuation’ is also incorrect as they still use the same principle. ‘refurbishment’ totally doesn’t make sense here.

Practice 2:

Reading and Writing: Fill in the Blanks practice 2

Ans1 – decades – ‘two decades’ is the correct collocation, numbers can’t be used with time. Also, ‘visit’ and ‘equity’ are singular, incorrect grammar. 

Ans2 – ranging – ‘ranging from’ is the correct collocation. ‘spanning’ is incorrect here, as it is used with time. Other words ‘hover’ and ‘knowledge’ are neither in the correct grammatical format nor do they make sense here. 

Ans3 – regions – ‘developed regions’ is the most appropriate word combination here, ‘Areas’ is used for smaller places, and ‘continents’ is not meaningful here, as the text talks about within Asia. Also, ‘luxury’ is totally out of context here. 

Ans4 – significantly – ‘significantly lower’ is the most appropriate collocation here, ‘quite’ is also appropriate but ‘significantly’ is the best word, and ‘drastically’ is not very appropriate here as it conveys the opposite meaning. Also, ‘very lower’ is the wrong usage. 

Ans5 – ‘environmental‘ – ‘environmental sustainability is the correct collocation. ‘Environment’ is a noun – incorrect here, ‘environmental’ is an adjective – correct here. ‘Atmospheric’ is less appropriate here, and ‘magnificent’ is totally out of context. 

Ans6 – ‘access‘ – ‘lacked access to’ is the correct collocation. All other words don’t fit meaningfully.

Reading and Writing Fill in the Blanks FAQs

Q. What if I don’t know the meaning of words?

Ans- Read around them, and guess the meaning from context. Identify the idea presented in the text and think about what word creates meaning in the given context.

Q. How to master this task?

Ans- Follow our strategy and LAB sessions on Grammar/ Vocabulary. Loads of practice material are provided to students.

Q. How to improve my score on this task?

Ans- Build your basic grammar – learn to identify word types, and build your collocation using the word list.

Reading and Writing Fill in the Blanks Mistakes to avoid

  • Relying too much on Repeated Questions. Don’t do that, instead focus on building your skills.
  • Not managing your time properly. It is extremely important to manage your time well for this question type as well as the overall PTE Reading section.
  • Never leave the question unanswered. This question has no negative marking, so even if you don’t know the answer, select the one which you feel is the best.
  • Not mastering the skills and techniques. This is a very important task in the PTE Reading section, so if you do well in this, your overall reading score will be higher.

What next for PTE Reading and Writing Fill in the Blanks?

Building your English language skills such as grammar and vocabulary are key things that are essentially needed to make your quest, to score well in the PTE test, successful. Why not join Edutrainex, where your English language skills can be improved and proven techniques can be learned to realize your PTE goals. Watch the video below to learn about the overview of this question type.

One thought on “Reading and Writing Fill in the Blanks (PTE)”
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