Fill in the Blank

Fill in the blank questions usually take the form of sentences that have one or more words omitted. To get these questions correct, you have to fill in the right missing term. If you are struggling to come up with the correct missing word, the following strategies can help you narrow down the possibilities and zero in on the correct answer:

    • Try to figure out the part of speech: The answers to the majority of fill in the blank questions will be verbs or nouns. It’s not likely that you’ll be asked to insert adjectives, adverbs, or pronouns since these types of words are not likely to relate to key material in a course. An effective strategy for fill in the blank questions is to try to determine which part of speech the missing word is. If an article (“a,” “an,” or “the”) appears directly before the blank, the missing word is almost certainly a noun. The article “an” will also give you an additional clue because “an” indicates that the missing word starts with a vowel. If a blank is preceded by a noun or a pronoun, it often indicates a verb. Examples include: “John,” “I,” “he,” “she,” “we,” “plants,” and “the dog.” Adverbs like “usually,” “quickly,” and “immediately” that appear before or after a blank also indicate that the missing word is a verb.
  • Look for clues in the sentence: It’s not just the words directly before and after a blank that can provide clues. Reading the entire sentence should help you figure out the general topic or subject area. Then you can start thinking of terms associated with that topic and hopefully determine which of the terms might be the missing word.
  • Focus on key terms: Remember, your teacher won’t usually ask you about some obscure topic that he or she only mentioned briefly in class. Instead, the answers to the blanks on your test are likely to be key terms. Making a list of important terms and memorizing their definitions before a test is always a good strategy if you know that there will be fill in the blank questions on the exam. It is these terms that you should focus on when you’re trying to complete the fill in the blank section of a test.


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