HOW TO “FILL IN THE BLANK”?
HOW TO “FILL IN THE BLANK”?
As a teacher I often see students struggling with the reading sections in IELTS and PTE and many times I´ve been asked: What can I do to improve my reading? What can I do to score more points in the reading section?And even though I definitely agree that reading books, articles and magazines will help you improve your English and therefore reading skills, my answer usually is the following:When you are practicing for the test, don´t focus on quantity. It doesn´t make sense to sit down for hours and finish reading after reading if you are not going to look into why your answers were wrong. I suggest doing fewer readings but rather focusing on really understanding why a blank can only be filled with that one particular word from the list.Now to practice understanding why something is wrong or right, you really need to invest those extra 10 minutes to go through the answers and not only tick them off as correct or get frustrated about them being wrong. You need to compare the answers with the text or the sentence.To give you an example of how that works, I have used this example taken from the PTE Academic Resources (scroll down to “offline practice test“ http://pearsonpte.com/test-takers/preparation/free-pte-academic-preparation/).Try doing the exercise first before looking at the answers. While filling in the blanks ask yourself: Would I be able to explain why I think this word is supposed to fill that gap?When you finish the exercise, you will find an example of how you can always explain why a certain gap needs to be filled with a certain word from the list/ box. If you can keep this up for every exercise you do, you will see more results than if you do plenty of exercises without trying to understand what went wrong.PTE Academic practice test time! Fill in the blanks and see if you can handle this tricky piece of text. We’ll publish the answers next week!Considering their lingering reputation as man-killers, it’s hardly surprising that hackles are raised any time someone brings up the idea of 1)_________ wolves to the Scottish Highlands. Debate on this topic has been raging for years, 2)__________ would like to see the Highland environment returned to its natural state. Opponents 3)_________ the animals’ 4)_________ for killing livestock.
Answers 1) reintroducingHave a look at the collocation “bring up the idea of ….” This collocation or phrase needs the ing-form of the verb/ a gerund.As reacquanting wouldn´t make sense in the context, the only other option left would be reintroducing.2) proponents In this part of the sentence we need a noun (who is doing what?). The only two nouns we can choose from are: activists and proponentsAs the sentence after starts with opponents, the noun we are looking for in this sentence has to be the opposite, which would be proponents.3) cite:We now need a verb as the sentence needs to follow the structure : subject, verb, objectOur subject is: opponentsAs accusing does not fit in the context (they are not blaming the animals but rather stating something) we need to use cite.4) propensity: The apostrophy after “animals” shows us that we need to fill in a noun here.As activists would not make any sense within the text, the answer needs to be propensity.Now get a coffee and try to use this technique in a couple of readings! And if you feel like you need some explanation, feel free to contact me via facebook or firstname.lastname@example.org!