Strategy for the Gap fills

First of all try to understand what the main idea of the first sentence is. Then find it on your map – this should take you to the paragraph that “hides” the answer.

Now, when you know where to look, you need to know what to look for. Look around the gap to understand what’s missing, a noun (like boy, toy, truck), an adjective (little, pretty, shiny) or a verb (stands, looks, moves).

For example, what is missing here: “She ____ around and saw him in the corner”?

You have 4 choices: happy, man, looked, smiled. It is clear that you need a verb here, but which one, “looked” or “smiled”? Now it is time to start reading the text.

Find where example answer is and start there. Remember to read only first, second and last sentence. Of course, “looked” is the right word!

Sometimes there are words near gap that will give you a clue what kind of word is missing. For example, “Main physical activities in the summer camp are fishing, ________ and swimming. Naturally, you will look for words that end with “ing” to fill for the gap – like “hiking”.

There are 2 types of gap-fills:
1) There is a list of words for you to choose from
2) There is no list, you need to choose words from text

When you choose a word from the list and the instructions say that every word is to be used once only, write it above the gap and cross it out from the list. If there is more than one possible answer – write them all and then decide which one is better.

If they don’t give you a list, try to pick a word from text. It is better then “inventing” it, because it saves time and your chances of being right are higher.

After you have decided about the word that goes into gap, read the whole sentence again. It must make sense according to the text, and it must be grammatically correct.

When you move forward to the second gap, keep in mind that usually there are no more than 2 gaps per paragraph. It means that if you have found answer to the first gap in paragraph 1, the answer to the second gap will be in the paragraph 2 and so on.


IELTS Reading : Filling Gaps summaries – Tips and Tricks

  • Use the TITLE of the text to calculate the structure of the entire reading.
  • Use SUMMARY HEADING to find the correct paragraph
  • Use UPPER CASE; For example, in this example, the name `Jared Diamond` helps us quickly find the paragraph with Diamond view.
  • Using synonyms
  • Search synonyms in the space to find the sentences that contain the answer.
  • Decide which part of speech you need. Do you need a verb, noun, adjective, or number?
  • Use your general knowledge to make “educated” guesses quickly.
  • Make sure to always keep the `s` in plural forms.
  • Copy words exactly as they appear in the text (don’t miss spelling points)
  • Words generally come in the same order they appear in the text, so don’t waste time looking for answers in different places.
  • Always check how many words you can use.
  • Make sure the word or words you choose have a grammar fit.