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PTE listening: strategies for answering select missing word questions

The PTE Listening section assesses your ability to comprehend spoken English and make accurate interpretations. One question type that appears in this section is "Select Missing Word," where you need to choose the most appropriate word or phrase to complete a spoken sentence. Mastering this question type is essential for achieving a high score in the PTE Listening section. In this blog post, we will share effective strategies to help you excel in answering Select Missing Word questions.

Focus on the Context:

As you listen to the audio, pay close attention to the context in which the sentence is spoken. Consider the main idea, topic, and tone of the conversation or lecture. Understanding the context will help you predict the missing word and narrow down the options.

Anticipate the Missing Word:

Before the options are presented, try to anticipate the word or phrase that would best complete the sentence. Use your listening skills and understanding of the context to make an educated guess. This prediction will guide you as you review the given options.

Analyze the Options:

Once the options are revealed, carefully analyze each one. Listen for clues within the audio that can help you eliminate incorrect options. Consider the meaning, grammar, and coherence of each choice. Eliminate options that do not fit logically or contextually within the sentence.

Pay Attention to Grammar and Syntax:

Consider the grammatical structure and syntax of the sentence. The missing word should maintain proper subject-verb agreement, tense consistency, and overall grammatical correctness. Keep an ear out for any clues that indicate the appropriate grammatical form or word choice.

Listen for Transitional Cues:

Transitional cues such as conjunctions, prepositions, or other connecting words can provide hints about the missing word. Listen for these cues in the audio and match them to the appropriate options. The missing word should fit smoothly into the sentence and maintain its coherence.

Consider the Speaker's Intention:

Try to discern the speaker's intention or purpose in the sentence. Consider the context, tone, and emphasis placed on certain words or ideas. This will help you identify the most suitable word that aligns with the speaker's intended meaning.

Use Process of Elimination:

If you are uncertain about the correct answer, use the process of elimination. Cross out options that are clearly incorrect or do not fit the context. Narrow down your choices by comparing the remaining options and selecting the one that best fits the meaning and structure of the sentence.

Develop Active Listening Skills:

Improving your listening skills is crucial for success in Select Missing Word questions. Practice active listening by engaging in various listening activities, such as listening to podcasts, lectures, or conversations in English. Focus on understanding the main ideas, key details, and the overall context.

Practice Time Management:

Efficient time management is essential in the PTE Listening section. Allocate an appropriate amount of time for each question and avoid spending too much time on any single question. If you are unsure about the answer, make an educated guess and move on to the next question.


By employing these strategies, you can enhance your performance in Select Missing Word questions in the PTE Listening section. Remember to focus on the context, anticipate the missing word, analyze the options, consider grammar and syntax, listen for transitional cues, and pay attention to the speaker's intention. With regular practice and a focused approach, you can improve your accuracy and confidence, leading to a better score in the PTE Listening section.