Cloze Reading; the 'know how' you need to succeed...

Cloze reading answers have been shown on the previous pages in this series. It's now time to get down to the "how to" of reading passages.

If you've just entered this site, I recommend you click on CLOZE at the left hand side of this page and follow this teaching link by link.

To begin with, I share the following with my students concerning the cloze reading.
  • Read the whole text without trying to fill in the blanks the first time through.

This will help you get a feel for the text. Pay attention to referent words like after, then, while, before, etc.

  • Look at a few verbs before you read the text again and try to fill in the blanks of the cloze reading.

Thiswill help you make right choices regarding verb collocations. There will be verb collocations and grammar based questions in general so it's a good idea to know what you'll be looking for. Try to see the big picture because so often in this section of the test students focus on the blanks and miss these types of questions.

  • Look at the paragraphs and their relationship to each other. Is it the introduction? Conclusion? Is the paragraph describing an event or process?

Again, this will help you see the big picture and identify discourse level questions much easier. Connectors and discourse markers like; that is to say, in other words, in contrast, etc. should be recognized here.Remember, such questions are almost always found in the exam!

  • Read the text to the full stop or period!

Don't stop at the blank and try to fill it in. This is where answer "popping" occurs.

I tell my students to read the sentence and when they come to the blank in the sentence to actually say the word "blank" in their head. As you do this, many times the right answer choice pops into your head. This happens because you have read English structures and collocations many, many times. When you say the word "blank" your mind often supplies the right word automatically. (In other words... "pop")

Does this work at every blank?

No, no technique does. But it does work often enough for me to highly recommend you try this method!

  • Work through the text blank by blank. Decide what the blank is asking for. Is it a grammar item or verb collocation? Is it a vocabulary item at the sentence level? Is it a discourse marker or referent at the discourse level?

Is it a subject pronoun or possessive pronoun?

Finally, re-read the text with the answer choices you've selected in the blanks.

By doing so - you may catch a wrong answer even though it seemed right at the time you selected it. Yes, this takes time and that's the one thing you don't have enough of, right?


At most, the re-read should take a minute. That's a minute well spent if you catch and correct a foolish mistake in the cloze reading. One minute could literally mean the difference between pass, or fail.

Continue on the following page for additional instruction regarding specific question types and structures often tested in
the cloze reading section of the test.