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PTE listening: strategies for answering select missing word

The PTE Listening section assesses your ability to comprehend spoken English in various contexts. One question type you will encounter is Select Missing Word, where you need to identify the missing word in a transcription of a spoken passage. This task requires not only listening skills but also a strong command of vocabulary and grammar. In this blog, we will explore effective strategies to help you tackle the Select Missing Word questions in the PTE Listening section and maximize your score.

Listen for Context and Meaning:

As you listen to the passage, pay close attention to the overall context and meaning. Understand the main idea and the purpose of the passage. This will provide you with a foundation to anticipate the missing word and make an educated guess based on the context.

Predict the Missing Word:

Before looking at the answer options, try to predict the missing word based on the information you have gathered from the passage. Consider the grammar structure, topic, and the speaker's intention. Having a prediction in mind will help you focus your attention on the answer options that align with your expectation.

Analyze the Options:

Once the audio is complete, review the answer options provided. Read them carefully and consider how each option fits into the context and meaning of the passage. Eliminate any options that do not make sense or disrupt the flow of the spoken text.

Focus on Grammar and Syntax:

Pay attention to the grammatical structure and syntax of the passage. Look for clues that can help you identify the missing word. Consider the verb tense, subject-verb agreement, articles, prepositions, and other grammatical elements. This analysis will assist you in selecting the most appropriate word that maintains the coherence of the passage.

Consider the Speaker's Intention:

Think about the speaker's intention or purpose in the passage. Consider the tone, emotions, and the message being conveyed. This can help you narrow down the answer options by choosing the word that best aligns with the speaker's intended meaning.

Anticipate Word Forms and Collocations:

Take note of the words used in the passage and consider the likely word forms or collocations that may be missing. Pay attention to the words that precede or follow the missing word, as they can provide clues about its form and usage.

Use Contextual Clues:

Utilize the context of the passage to identify the missing word. Look for words or phrases in the surrounding sentences that provide hints about the missing word's meaning, function, or relationship with other words in the passage. These contextual clues can guide you towards the correct answer.

Be Mindful of Homophones and Synonyms:

Watch out for homophones (words that sound similar but have different meanings) and synonyms in the answer options. Sometimes, the missing word might have a similar-sounding alternative or a synonym among the choices. Carefully compare the options and consider their meanings in relation to the passage.

Focus on the Speaker's Stress and Intonation:

The stress and intonation patterns used by the speaker can provide cues about the missing word. Pay attention to how the speaker emphasizes certain words or phrases, as this can indicate the importance of the missing word within the passage.

Practice with Authentic Materials:

To improve your proficiency in answering Select Missing Word questions, practice with authentic listening materials. Listen to podcasts, news articles, speeches, or other sources of spoken English. Familiarize yourself with different accents, tones, and styles of communication. This exposure will enhance your listening comprehension skills and enable you to handle a variety of content in the exam.


Successfully answering Select Missing Word questions in the PTE Listening section requires a combination of active listening, linguistic analysis, and understanding of the passage's context. By employing these strategies and practicing regularly, you can enhance your ability to identify the missing word accurately. Remember to stay focused, manage your time effectively, and remain confident in your abilities. With diligent preparation, you can excel in the PTE Listening section and achieve your desired score.