The PTE Fill in the Blanks question type in the Listening section requires you to listen to an audio and fill in the blanks in its corresponding transcript.

You will see a transcript on the screen. The transcript will have some blanks. Then you will hear an audio. Your task is to pick the words from the audio for the corresponding blank in the transcript.

Let’s look at the basics first:

Number of questions2~3
ScoringContributes to your Listening and Writing scores.
Negative markingNo
Time to answerAudio starts playing after 7 seconds. No time limit per question. Overall Listening section time limit applies.

The score in this question type depends simply on how many blanks you get correct.

The key skills required are:

  • Ability to listen to an English audio and follow along its transcript
  • Ability to read and understand words in a transcript

We strongly recommend that you add some listening exercises to your daily routine. NPR has some great podcasts for you.

PTE Listening Fill in the blanks method

There will be a few seconds before the audio starts. Use that time to have a quick glance over the transcript. Especially notice where the blanks are and the words around the blanks. Doing this simple step will put your mind in a better frame to listen and understand the audio.

The main decision that you have to make here is:

To type directly in the computer screen

or, to first note down the blanks on your rough scratch pad and then transfer them to the screen or even the third option, which is to just remember the blanks.

We strongly recommend that you avoid the third option! It is very difficult to remember all the words for a person of an average memory.

If you are comfortable typing on the computer and feel you have a good enough speed, then type directly. Otherwise, you can note down the blanks in the rough paper and then type them in the end.

Work on your strategy during your practice. You can try doing 5 questions using each method and then see which method gives you better results. Follow that method in the exam.

PTE Read Aloud Tips and Tricks

This is a simple question type, as long as you can follow the audio and read a text at the same time. These tips and tricks will help you to maximize your score:

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 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 in, 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.

Now take this FREE Practice Test and find our how many blanks you can fill correctly!