There are different types of Fill in the blanks questions that come in the PTE Academic Reading module. The first type is drag and drop. The second most important task. It contributes a lot of marks and has good weightage. Roughly around 2-5 questions of this type.

There will be a small passage with few missing words around 3-6. Below the passage you will be given options which will be generally double in number than the number of blanks. You have to drag and drop the word you think is right in the respective blank. Essentially, they are drag and drop blanks. Passages are not lengthy in this task mostly related top academic topics or literature, social science.

What’s important is to read! This task can unnecessarily consume more time of yours if you do not approach it in the right manner. To ace this task, you need speed and accuracy. So, when we talk about reading, your vocabulary definitely improves with reading. However, just reading is not going to help you much with increasing your speed in solving this task. Hence, it becomes rather crucial that you practice this particular task and type of questions. A lot of speed reading will be required on your part. Take care as this task affects your vocabulary scores too and it is also heavily based on grammar.

As far as the scoring is concerned, you get 1 credit for every right answer and 0 for wrong answer. There is no negative marking. Therefore, you can expect around 15 credits involved with this overall task. Before you jump to conclusion that out of 90 your 15 points are covered, we are sorry to burst the bubble but Pearson PTE mentions "credits” and not marks or points. Nevertheless, it is a lot of credits and thus, is important for your PTE reading score.

Another type of Fill in the blanks question that come are "reading and writing Fill in the blanks”. And you have guessed it right! These affect your writing scores too along with the reading scores.

Tips for PTE Reading Fill in the Blanks

  1. Do not spend more than 2 minutes on this task
  2. Take care of the technicalities
  3. Use the knowledge of grammar
  4. Develop good vocabulary
  5. Collocation of words to rescue
  6. Try elimination strategy
  7. Learn right use of words that have similar meaning


1.  Do not spend more than 2 minutes on this task

Try and solve this question in around 1.5-2 minutes. Avoid spending more time than that. For that what you can do is skim through the passage. Because of its short length it will be easier for you to skim through it and get a general idea about the words and blanks i.e will the word be a noun, verb, adjective or adverb. As you will understand the context pf the passage, you are likely to choose the right word for a particular blank.

2.  Take care of the technicalities

In this task, you have to drag and drop the word in the blank box. Now, taking care of technicality means that do not be in a rush to drag and drop. Make sure you drop the word correctly in the blank. And then recheck if the blank was filled. After answering all the blanks, ensure to check that the words you wanted are in the right blanks and no blank is empty. Only then click on the next button. You can change the answer any time before you click on the next button.

3.  Use the knowledge of grammar

Once you skim through the given passage, you will become familiar with the subject matter and also may be able to predict the word that must come in the blank. Whether it will be an adjective, adverb, noun, verb, prepositions. You can also judge the response based on the tenses and collocation of words. Grammar will thus come into major play here.

Get your basics correct and strong and you will not have much of a problem with this task. Quickly see the blanks that you can answer first without wasting much time over something you are unsure about. At times it may happen that you may not understand some words in the passage, nor the context of the passage. Here, if you know about the Subject- Verb- Object predicates, and in general, grammar, many things will be clear to you and this task will become a cake walk. Find the missing part of the speech.

Know the verb form when used with a single noun and multiple noun. Learn the use of articles with countable and uncountable noun. In case of uncountable noun, there cannot be "a/an” before it whereas for countable nouns "a/an” will be there. Moreover, countable nouns can have a plural form i.e "s” at the end and uncountable nouns will not have a plural form i.e "s”. There are exceptions to this too which you must know. Additionally, know the forms of word i.e verb, noun, adjective and adverb. For instance, decision (noun), decide (verb), decisive (adjective) and decisively (adverb).

4.  Develop good vocabulary

This task can have passages whose topic can range from highly academic topics to literature. Now, it might happen that you come across many words that you are unfamiliar with. Try to read academic articles as much as possible to build a nice vocabulary. Note the unknown words, make use of it and try to remember them contextually. Have your own mini dictionary. This way at least when you see a word you will have a fair idea if it is correct for a particular blank. And also, you will be able to understand the meaning of a particular sentence.

5.  Collocation of words to rescue

Another vital thing to consider for this task is familiarity with collocations. There are 2 types of it, one is academic collocation words and grammatically collocated words.

For instance,

"You can achieve your desired score with practice.”

Here the words "desired score” nothing but an example of collocation. Certain words go together just like a phrase and that is called collocation of words.

"You need to be aware of grammar in order to get good score in this task.”

Here is an example of grammatically collocated words. Take note of the verb and preposition used.

Did you know that Pearson PTE have already published list of almost 2500 collocation? It’s a no brainer that you must go through this list at least once.

6.  Try elimination strategy

What if you are unsure of an answer? It is not at all an issue. What you can do to save time is understand what the sentence is trying to say. Even if you do not know the exact correct word, you will still be able to look at the option and answer. Either you can eliminate the ones that are nowhere close to the meaning of the word that should fit in the sentence or you can check out the words and look for their meaning.

7.  Learn right use of words that have similar meaning

This is naturally going to happen in the Fill in the blanks task. You might come across 2 words that have similar meaning and get confused as to which one will fit in the blank. Here, you can decide on the right answer in 2 ways. First is of course the grammar. Look for the prepositions, verbs, nouns with the blank. Secondly, see the context of the sentence. Read the sentence before and after it. Notice if there are any contradiction in the statements. This way you will come to know which is the right word.

For instance, you have 2 options "Foresee” and "Predict”. Both these words have similar meaning so then how do you decide the right answer? In this situation, grammar and context will guide you to finalise on the right answer.

These tips and strategies will definitely help you achieve a good score in this task. And yet again, we would like to remind that it takes practice for a better performance. Find some time in a day where you can practice with the PTE reading samples questions on Android or iOS app. You can then attempt the full length tests and see your performance.

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