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Listening: Fill In The Blanks

  • Alfa PTE
  • 18 May 2020
   About Listening Fill in the Blanks
A transcript of a recording appears on screen with several gaps. After listening to the recording, a student will have to type the missing word in each gap. This question will be testing a students’ Listening & Writing skills.
For this item type, you are presented with a transcript of the audio recording, however, some words are missing. Restore the transcript by typing in the missing words
  • Task - A transcript of a recording appears on screen with several gaps. After listening to the recording, type the missing word in each gap
  • Skills assessed - Listening and Writing
  • Prompt length - 30-60 seconds

The audio plays automatically. You are only able to listen to the audio recording once. Left-click on each gap and type in the missing word. You can also use the Tab button on the keyboard to move between gaps.

Note: While the audio is playing, you can take notes on the erasable noteboard provided and then fill in the gaps.

  Test Tips:

Skim the text before the recording begins: 

In the 7 seconds, before the recording begins, you only have time to skim the text. As you do this, ignore the gaps and try to get an overall idea of what the text is about. This will help you recognize the words that fit the gaps, as you hear them.

Some of the things you can look for:

  • Proper nouns (that begin with a capital letter). They can give you information about people and what they do (e.g., ‘Mike Griffiths … conservationist’), places (e.g., ‘Indonesian island of Sumatra’) and organizations (e.g., ‘conservation group The Leuser International Foundation’). (Don’t worry if you don’t know where or who they are).

  • Nouns that are repeated in the text. They may help you decide on the topic.


As you listen, write the words you hear for the blanks on your ‘erasable note board booklet’:

The recording is at normal speed and is only played once. When you are listening, you do not have time to think about how to spell the missing words. Use your erasable noteboard booklet to write down what you think you hear:

After the recording has finished, you can read through the text, and use your notes to decide on the words that are missing and how they are spelled. Then type them into the gaps:

Remember, the next item does not start until you click Next (N) at the bottom of the screen, so you have a little time to think about your answers.

How this question is scored:
Your response for Fill in the Blanks is judged on your ability to listen for missing words in a recording and type the missing words into a transcription. Your score on Fill in the blanks is based on the following factor:
Content: Does your response include all the missing words? Content is scored by counting the number of right words with correct spelling in your response. Each correct word spelled correctly scores 1 point.
  • If all blanks are filled with the right word spelled correctly, you receive the maximum score points for this question type. If one or more blanks are filled incorrectly, partial credit scoring applies. This question type affects the scoring of listening and writing.
  • Your speaking skills are not tested by this question type, and your reading skills are only used to read the instructions and the transcription.

    Source:  https://pearsonpte.com/

  Tips By ALFA:

 Read the transcript before audio starts: Even if you are not able to read the whole transcript, you will benefit from whatever you are able to read. Knowing the words around the blanks will alert your mind about what to listen for. Your focus will be on listening for the words you need for the blanks.


 Keep your cursor in the first blank: Be ready to type as soon as the audio listens. You can always be ready for at least the first blank. But do not get stuck at the first blank or any other blank for that matter.


 Follow the speaker: Do not stop to think about one particular blank or word. Keep moving with the speaker. Your eye and hand should follow the speaker. If you are typing directly into the screen after each blank quickly place the cursor in the next blank and listen for the words before it.


 Be ready to write in the rough notepad: If your strategy is to first write down in the rough notepad and then transfer to the screen in the end, you should be ready to write in the rough notepad as soon as the audio starts. Typing with a hand is usually slower. So, do not attempt to write the whole word, just write enough letters that later on you can recognize what the word is.


 Always review in the end: Do not submit your answer without reviewing what you have filled in. In any case, the passage with the correct blanks will make good sense. If for some reason the words that you have filled in do not make sense, you can consider replacing them. But do that only if you know a more suitable word than what you have already filled in. Also, check for grammar and spelling mistakes. These mistakes can be easily avoided by a quick review in the end.


 Have your time management strategy ready: As the PTE Listening section has only an overall timer, it is up to you to decide how much time to spend on the PTE Listening Fill in the blanks questions. It will anyway be the time what the audio runs for, plus whatever time you want to spend on the review. Get an understanding of how much time on an average you need for this, during your practice sessions.