Step 1: Before you start, make sure that you read the title of the text that follows. Don’t just skim read it, read it thoroughly and carefully as the title gets your mind ready for what you are going to be reading about and there will be words in the titles that you will see again in the summary paragraph which are likely to be relevant.
Step 2: Next, read the sentence with the gap in it. Once again, this is not the time for skimming and scanning; that comes later. You must read the whole sentence slowly and make sure that you have a good understanding of it. As this is where you will be filling in information for yourself, it is important that you don’t confuse any of the meaning by rushing.
Step 3: Based on reading the sentence around the gap in step 2, think about the word type or types within a phrase that would make sense in the gap. For this, it really helps if you have read the sentence “out loud” in your head first. This way you will know what sounds right or wrong. Is it a verb you are looking for? Is it a phrase with a noun and an adjective? Having this decided before you move on will help you to eventually find the correct word or group of words and avoid easy mistakes.
Step 4: Scan the text for key pieces of information or clues to where that information might be. You are likely being asked to find facts within the passage so bear this in mind in this phase. Look for numbers such as percentages, amounts and dates. Also, search for any names or names of places as well as unusual looking words that you might not understand at first until you read around them for context.
Step 5: Once you have found the key numbers or words you think that you are looking for, check back to the sentence with the gap to endure that you have found the right part of the passage. Are you sure the information links to the sentence? Are the words the correct type?
Step 6: Read the sentence with the gap filled in your head as if you are reading it out loud to check that it sounds right grammatically and makes sense contextually. Once you are certain, fill in the gap! Then, just to be sure, check it again once you can see it. It only takes a few seconds and it is so important as you can be sure if you have a wrong answer if it does not fit grammatically, giving you a chance to look again to make sure you find the right answer.
Follow our 6 simple steps to success for the OET reading part A and you will be confident that you have done your very best to avoid simple mistakes and to get those gap sentences right.