The third part of the PTE listening test is a gap-fill exercise that is usually called the listening fill in the blanks section. This is a more conventional listening test than the previous two parts of the exam. For this section, you will listen to an audio recording and then look at a transcript of it on the screen in front of you. You will fill in the blanks according to what you hear.
Understanding the Test
This part of the PTE listening test is a bit different from the previous ones. For parts one and two, you need to focus on the meaning of the audio recording and then infer the answer from your logical deductions. However, when it comes to PTE listening fill in the blanks, you do not need to think about it in great detail. You simply listen and write down what you hear.
The process is simple. You will see the usual audio playback box and some instructions above it. Below the box, you will see a transcript of the audio recording, with several blank parts. When you listen, you should fill in those blanks with the words that are spoken in the recording. The recording itself will last for about thirty to sixty seconds.
How to Prepare for PTE Listening Fill in the Blanks
There are lots of ways that you can prepare for the PTE listening fill in the blanks test. Of course, the best ways are to practice listening often and to boost your English vocabulary. These can be done together by doing daily listening practice exercises or even just general listening. You can tune in to radio shows, podcasts, or TED talks to find similar styles of audio. Try writing down some of what you hear, paying particular attention to tricky vocabulary.
A good way to do this is to have a friend help you. (For this, you can find a study buddy with approximately the same goals and then help each other prepare for such tasks.) Your friend can pick a TED talk or YouTube video, then copy and paste the transcript into a Word document. They can then delete some words and phrases. You should try to listen and fill in the blanks, and your friend can tell you whether or not you were right.
It is important to learn from your mistakes. Don’t feel bad if you get words wrong… just remember to learn from them! If you made an error, then you can view it as a learning opportunity by revising that particular vocabulary over the next few days.
Tips for the Listening Fill in the Blanks Exam
As with most English listening exams, it is quite important that you utilize your time carefully and pre-read the answers. By this, I mean “skim and scan” the transcript that you are given. Before the audio recording automatically starts, you will have about seven seconds to do this. It is not much time, of course, but it might help you find the right answers more effectively.
To make full use of this method, consider the following:
- A quick skim through the transcript will let you know the main idea of the audio text. This will help your brain to pre-load essential vocabulary and “get in the mood” for what you are about to hear.
- You can logically guess at the content of the blank spaces throughout the transcript. This is possible by looking at the blank spaces and then examining the words around them. You might be able to tell in advance whether you will hear a verb or noun or adjective.
This method can become more effective when you refine it further. Advanced listeners will know to look for proper nouns, such as the names of places or brands, and also to seek out repetitions in the text. Both of these will help lead them to a quick and intuitive understanding of the audio recording.
Accuracy is Essential
For some listening activities, it is important to get the gist of an idea or provide an approximate answer, but for the PTE listening fill in the blanks section you need to be accurate. This means that you should write down all of the words that you hear and then spell them correctly. It is not enough to provide a rough meaning or to summarize the text. Your score will take into account whether you got all the words and whether you spelled the correctly. As such, try your best to listen carefully and take good notes. When you transfer your notes to the answer section, you should double-check that they are right and that everything is spelled correctly.