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Your comprehensive guide to PTE Select Missing Word has finally arrived!

Learn the key strategies for tackling this task and then practice using the sound files in the examples provided!

Understanding the Task

Time management is a challenge on the PTE Listening test. Candidates sometimes run out of time and can’t complete all the questions. One of the good things about PTE Select Missing Word is that it’s a relatively quick task.

Generally, you either know the answer or you don’t. If you do, fabulous!

Choose the correct option and move to the next task. If you don’t know the answer, guess and move to the next task. There is no advantage in taking extra time to guess. Just choose one and move on.

Guessing is not ideal, but if it is your best option, do it quickly. What you really want to do though is – avoid guessing.

So the question is how can you do that? How can you confidently choose the correct answer?

Well, to start with you need to fully understand the task. You need to know what is being tested, what the screen will look like, and you need to know how it will be marked. Then you need to be able to manage your concentration and use appropriate strategies.

Let’s look at all of those things now and then later you can do some practice.

PTE Select Missing Word
You’ll have a chance to practice using sound clips in this article!
What is being tested? 

You are being challenged to demonstrate your ability to:

#1 Identify the topic or main idea

#2 Understand academic vocabulary and infer the meaning of new words

#3 Understand implicit and explicit meanings and abstract information

#4 Understand the sequencing of information

#5 Comprehend various accents and rates of speech

#6 Predict what is likely to come next in the context.

What does it look like?

You will get two or three PTE Select Missing Word questions. You will see a prompt which you must read because it tells you the topic of listening.

If you know the general subject area, it is easier to tune in to the content. Your mind will be primed because it will automatically start thinking about related concepts and vocabulary. It provides context.

Context is key.

The prompt will look like the one below. In this example, the text will be about ‘agriculture.’ Topics vary and will always be clear in the prompt.

You will hear a recording about agriculture. At the end of the recording, the last word or group of words has been replaced by a beep. Select the correct option to complete the recording.

The recording will last for between 20 seconds and 70 seconds and in the end you will hear a ‘beep’ sound. There will be between three and five answer options. You have to choose one. All of the options will be grammatically correct. It’s all about the meaning.

When you choose an option, it will be highlighted in yellow. You can still change your mind by clicking on a different option.

When you are ready, click NEXT to go to the next item.

How is the PTE Select Missing Word marked?

That’s easy. You get one mark for choosing the correct answer and zero for choosing the wrong answer.

View the E2Language blog article on PTE scoring for newbies!  

 Manage your concentration

A little trick I use sometimes when I realize I’m losing concentration is to physically pinch my hand. If I tell myself to concentrate, it isn’t really enough, but if I physically pinch myself, that snaps me back into concentration. Will that work for you? Try it now.

PTE select missing words

Listen carefully. You will see a timer so you know when the recording is coming to an end.

PTE Select Missing Word


Summary of Key Strategies for PTE Select Missing Word

Before you listen:

  • Read the prompt to find the topic.
  • Know that you’ve done your practice and you’re prepared.
  • Be ready for different accents and speeds of speaking.

While you listen:

  • Focus and aim to understand the main points.
  • Watch the timer so that you can see when the beep is coming.

After you have listened:

  • Read the options and choose the best one.
  • If you don’t know, guess.
  • Move on to the next question. Don’t keep thinking about it – you know it or you don’t.

Extra note: In any of the listening tasks, you can adjust the volume using the slider. Do that if you need to. You can adjust while a text is playing.

Practicing PTE Select Missing Word

Before the test, you can develop your listening skills by listening to TED talks. There are thousands to choose from. They will help you understand different accents and tune your ear to English.

Are you ready for some practice now?

In the test, you will have an on-screen timer. But for the practice exercises below, please use your own timer. The first task is 39 seconds long and the second is 43 seconds long.

Before you begin – check the topic, concentrate (and be ready to use your timer).

PTE Select Missing Word – Practice 1

You will hear a recording about cancer. At the end of the recording, the last word or group of words has been replaced by a beep. Select the correct option to complete the recording.

Click play below:

  • getting started.
  • smoking-related.
  • young and restless.

Check your answer below:

Click to show/hide answer

Worldwide, over two-thirds of deaths due to cancer are fully preventable using methods that we already have in hand today. Things like vaccination, timely screening and of course, stopping smoking. But even with the best tools and technologies that we have today, some tumors can’t be detected until 10 years until after they’ve started growing when they are 50 million cancer cells strong. What if we had better technologies to detect some of these more deadly cancers sooner when they could be removed when they were just getting started.

Did you get it right? If not, why not? What went wrong? Was it an issue with concentration, accent, vocabulary, difficult subject matter?

To work on your listening, you can listen to TED talks. This will help you to manage accents, build vocabulary and cope with difficult material.

PTE Select Missing Word – Practice 2

You will hear a recording about building design. At the end of the recording, the last word or group of words has been replaced by a beep. Select the correct option to complete the recording.

Click play below:

  • within a suburb.
  • to each unit.
  • for comfort.
  • and home.

Check your answer below:

Click to show/hide answer

When, in 1960, still a student, I got a traveling fellowship to study housing in North America. We travelled the country. We saw public housing high-rise buildings in all major cities: New York, Philadelphia. Those who had no choice lived there. And then we traveled from suburb to suburb, and I came back thinking, we’ve got to reinvent the apartment building. There has to be another way of doing this. We can’t sustain suburbs, so let’s design a building that gives the qualities of a house to each unit.

Did you get it right? If not, why not?

Watch our E2 PTE Listening video from our YouTube Channel below! 

 So there you have it! A comprehensive guide to the PTE Select Missing Word Task.

Written by Melinda G.

All Comments 5
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  • Hi,

    I used all the practice material in the PTE course section of listening.

    Is there any section in the e2language website or in the blog where I can find more practice material?

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