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Tips to Master Cloze Test

Cloze Test Preparation Strategy

A Cloze reading test is an exercise where the candidates are provided with a passage which has certain words missing from it. It follows logically that to ace such an assessment, candidates must have a strong command over English language, along with a flair for grammar and a good vocabulary. More importantly, it is important to understand the flow and context of the passage. While the Cloze Test for IBPS PO is considered by many to be the toughest question type in the paper, there are some simple tips and tricks to solving these without being a Ph.D. in English Grammar.

Here is a small example:

Disregarding the news about impending bad weather, I decided to go out without a/an _______and ended up getting wet. I resolved thereafter to always take note of the weather ______.

The correct answers in the above scenario would be ‘an umbrella’ or ‘a raincoat’ for the first blank and ‘report’ or ‘forecast’ for the second.

Since many exams now administer the Cloze test to assess the level of English proficiency of their candidates, it is imperative that if you are appearing for such an exam, you have a clear sense of how and what to prepare. Here are some tips that could be of help-

  1. Read Thoroughly– Read the passage provided very thoroughly to form an idea about the topic. Read slowly and gain an understanding of the text. Once the theme of the text is somewhat clear, your job becomes easier. You can then go on to think of the appropriate words that suit the situation being described and proceed to filling in the blanks.
  1. Link the Sentences Together- Remember that it is a passage with sentences that are connected to each other. Do not make the mistake of treating each sentence like an individual one and filling in the blanks accordingly. Try to come up with logical connections that link up the sentences together and your job will automatically become easier.
  1. The Type of Word to Fill in– Now look at the blanks carefully and assess the kind of words you have to fill in. Which part of speech would it be? Would it be a noun, a pronoun, a verb, a preposition, a conjunction or an article? For example-
  • A noun– I forgot to carry my ____ to school. I therefore had to share with my friend.
    The logical answer here would be a book or tiffin.
  • An article– He ate ____ papaya and threw ___ seeds away.
    Articles are usually the easiest to answer. Fill in ‘a’ and ‘an’ where talking about general facts and ‘the’ when using it before something specific. Here, the answer is ‘the’ or ‘his’ in the first case and ‘the’ or ‘its’ in the second.
  • A verb– _____ for half an hour left me breathless. The idea of being breathless connotes something strenuous like ‘exercising’ or ‘running’.

In this way, think of the appropriate word to fill in.

  1. Eliminate Options– You will often come across a blank that has more than one correct option. List out all these options and try them one by one. Use the one that seems most fitting. Instead of getting confused, think of words that are appropriate not only to the given sentence but also fit the context of the entire passage.
  2. Go with Frequently Used Words- Sometimes, you may not be able to decide between two words. In this case, if you see a word in the options that is frequently used with the words around the blank, then pick that option. For example-Can I have a ____ word with you?
    A. swift
    B. quick
    C. prompt

You can see that the three options nearly mean the same thing. How do you decide which one fits the blank?

Sometimes in English, some words are used more frequently with some others. Like ‘bad habit’, ‘hardly ever’, ‘happy ending’, ‘take a seat’, ‘make room’ etc. In the same way, the words ‘quick’ and ‘word’ are used together frequently. So ‘quick’ should be your answer in this case.

  1. Check Tone – The passage is usually written in a certain tone; sometimes narrative, sometimes critical, sometimes humorous. Pick words that fit in with the tone of the passage. For example –

Jonah ____ down the stairs, bumping along like a quarter in a tumbling dryer.
A. tumbled
B. fell
C. dropped   

Clearly, you can use either ‘tumbled’ or ‘fell’ in this blank. But the rest of the sentence is written in a humorous vein. So we try to maintain the tone of the sentence. This is best accomplished by the use of the word ‘tumbled’ as it brings to mind images of people falling funnily.

  1. Build up Your Language Skills– In terms of the general preparation you can do, read, read and read as much as you can. The more you read, the better sense you will have of what word goes where. It will also help build up your vocabulary. Both these things will go a long way in helping you ace the Cloze Test.
  1. Practice makes a man perfect– In the end, there is no substitute for hard work and practice. Try to complete three to four passages each day while preparing and get an insight into your problem areas. Work on them and go deliver your best.
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