Text Completion Questions

Skilled readers do not simply absorb the information presented on the page; instead, they maintain a constant attitude of interpretation and evaluation, reasoning from what they have read so far to create a picture of the whole and revising that picture as they go. Text Completion questions test this ability by omitting crucial words from short passages and asking the test taker to use the remaining information in the passage as a basis for selecting words or short phrases to fill the blanks and create a coherent, meaningful whole.

Question Structure

  • Passage composed of one to five sentences
  • One to three blanks
  • Three answer choices per blank (five answer choices in the case of a single blank)
  • The answer choices for different blanks function independently; i.e., selecting one answer choice for one blank does not affect what answer choices you can select for another blank
  • Single correct answer, consisting of one choice for each blank; no credit for partially correct answers

Tips for Answering

Do not merely try to consider each possible combination of answers; doing so will take too long and is open to error. Instead, try to analyze the passage in the following way:

  • Read through the passage to get an overall sense of it.
  • Identify words or phrases that seem particularly significant, either because they emphasize the structure of the passage (words like although or moreover) or because they are central to understanding what the passage is about.
  • Try to fill in the blanks with words or phrases that seem to complete the sentence, then see if similar words are offered among the answer choices.
  • Do not assume that the first blank is the one that should be filled first; perhaps one of the other blanks is easier to fill first. Select your choice for that blank, and then see whether you can complete another blank. If none of the choices for the other blank seem to make sense, go back and reconsider your first selection.
  • When you have made your selection for each blank, check to make sure the passage is logically, grammatically and stylistically coherent.
 

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