• First, slowly read all the text without filling any of the gaps. Read it two or three times until you have a clear understanding of what the text is about.
• Then only complete the gaps you are absolutely sure of.
• Next try and find out what the missing words in the remaining gaps are. See which part of speech may fit in each gap (article?, pronoun?, noun?, adverb?, adjective?, preposition?, conjunction?, verb?) and pay special attention to the grammar around the words in each gap. Many of the gaps may include the following:
– preposition following a noun, adjective or verb. (Example: good at languages)
– prepositional phrase. (Example: in spite of)
– adverb. (Example: He moved to Zaragoza two years ago)
– connector. (Example: First, he arrives; then he sits down; finally, he leaves.)
– conjunction. (Example: Although he is five, he can speak five languages.
– auxiliary verb. (Example: He has won 2 matches)
– an article or some other kind of determiner. (Example: I have no time)
– a relative. (Example: Juan, who I met two years ago, is my best friend)
– a pronoun, either subject or object. (Example: it is difficult to know)
– is there a comparative or superlative involved? (Example: she’s taller than me)
• Some sentences may seem to be complete and contain gaps that appear to be unnecessary. If you find gaps like this, you will probably need the following:
– an adverb. (Example: He is always late)
– a modal verb. (Example: They can swim very well)
– a word to change the emphasis of the sentence: She’s good enough to be queen. The problems are too difficult.
• A few gaps may demand a vocabulary item consistent with the topic of the text; or a word which is part of an idiomatic expression (example: Good heavens!); or a word which collocates with another one (example: do a job); or a word which is part of a phrasal verb (example: I was held up by traffic).
• If after putting into practice the techniques above you still have some gaps left, make a wild guess.
• Never leave a gap blank and never fill in a gap with a word you know for sure is wrong.