In the previous article, we shared a Step-By-Step Guide to Approach the Fill in the Blanks topic. This week’s topic is: Cloze Test.
Cloze Test, like Reading Comprehension, is one of the most scoring topics under the English Language section. Mastering this topic will go a long way in helping you clear your sectional cutoffs in English and increasing your overall cutoff marks.
What is a Cloze Test?
Cloze Test is one of the recurring topics under the English Language section of various competitive exams. It tests a candidates understanding of the passage, grammatical skills and vocabulary, and like RC, it is one of the most scoring topics under the English Language section.
Cloze Test is a passage (like Reading Comprehension) with certain set of words missing. The Cloze Test passages contain sentences that are logically connected, have a well-defined structure and pattern and follow a chronological order. All these help in maintaining a unified tone throughout the passage of the Cloze Test. One can say, that Cloze Test is a combination of Reading Comprehension and Fill in the Blanks.
In a Cloze Test, candidates are given a passage with multiple blanks. Each blank has an option with 4-5 alternatives. Candidates are required to select the most suitable alternative.
Note on the New Pattern of Cloze Test
In recent times, there has been a change in the pattern of the Cloze Test:
- The blanks in the passage already contain the words
- A new option called ‘No changes required’ is provided for every blank
If the word given in the blank is correct, the candidates are required to choose the ‘No changes required’ option. If the given word is incorrect, the candidates are required to choose the best alternative, to replace the given word, from the given options.
How to Approach Cloze Test
Step 1: Read the passage
Read the given passage carefully. Do not treat the sentences like individual sentences. Sentences in a Cloze Test passage are logically connected/linked. Once you determine the logical relation between the sentences, finding appropriate words for the blanks (or replacing the given word with appropriate one in the new pattern) becomes an easy task.
Step 2: Identify the tone & sentence pattern
Every Cloze Test passage has a tone. It could be a narrative, it could be humorous, it could be factual or it could be critical. Identifying the tone of the passage helps in looking for the right words to fill in the blanks/replace the given word.
The sentences in a cloze test are logically connected and follow a chronological order. Identifying this pattern in the sentences will help you get an idea of the kind of word that you need to fill; whether it is a noun/pronoun/verb/preposition/conjunction/article, etc. The best fitting words are the ones that maintain the tone and the consistency of the passage.
Articles: She opened ___ bag and took ___ books out (Blanks that require articles to be filled are the easiest to answer. ‘A’ and ‘An’ for the general facts and ‘The’ article for anything specific)
Solution: She opened the bag and took the books out.
Noun: I carry my ____ to the college (The most appropriate answer would be a noun: laptop/book)
Solution: I carry my book to the college.
Verb: _______ is good for physical as well as mental health (the words ‘good for health’ gives a hint about the kind of word required to fill the gap. It could be anything that’s good for health: Eating, sleeping, running, exercising, etc.)
Solution: Exercising is good for physical as well as mental health.
Step 3: Determine the word type based on tone
The tone of the passage goes a long way in helping candidates pick the right words. Sometimes, the words given are very similar and might end up confusing the candidates. In such cases, identifying the tone helps in picking the right word.
Gloria ______ merrily along the way with her little bunnies.
(i) a. Jumped b. Leaped c. Hopped
The above sentence has a humorous/happy tone (as opposed to a serious/critical one). You must choose a word that maintains the tone of the sentence. Choosing the word ‘Hopped’ helps in accomplishing that, as it brings to the mind images of people jumping with joy.
For the old pattern
Step 4: Eliminate wrong options
Sometimes it is difficult to spot the answers. In such cases, use the elimination technique to discard answers that are most definitely wrong and out of context.
Mr. Miller likes his tea steaming ____.
(i) a. Cold b. Hot c. Lukewarm
It is obvious that cold/lukewarm coffee does not steam. Eliminate them and you’re left with the right answer.
Step 5: Enter a suitable word
Once you are done reading the passage, identifying the tone, determining the right word and eliminating the wrong ones, it is time to fill the blank with the suitable word. Try and fit the given options in the blanks one by one and eliminate the ones that don’t fit.
Sometimes candidates are unsure if a particular option is fitting or not, in such cases, check if the word from the passage fits in with the theme/tone/tense of the given passage. Sometimes the clue is present in the words/sentences before and after the blank and you can use your knowledge of the meaning and usage of given words (options) to pick the right one.
If you are still confused and are not able to pick between two or more words, pick the word that’s most frequently used with the word(s) around the blank.
Is that your _____ address?
(i) a. House b. Home c. Residential (All three options nearly mean the same thing. How to decide then?)
Sometimes, in the English Language, some words are frequently used together. For example; make room, bad habit, about time, fast food, etc.
In the above example, ‘House’ & ‘Address’ are generally used together. Hence, House is the answer.
For the new pattern
Check if the given word matches with the tone and pattern of the sentence and the passage. If it does, choose the option: ‘No changes required‘. Also check if any of the other options given would make a better alternative to the given word. If one of the options given seem like a better alternative, choose that option.
Final step: Re-read the passage
Once you are done picking the right options, re-read the entire passage. Make sure the passage sounds grammatically and logically correct and that the words you chose maintain the overall tone and pattern of the given passage.
Practice is the key to master this topic. Practice solving previous years’ Cloze Test passages, check your performance and measure your progress. Reading a variety of text will help you be prepared for passages from any kind of topic and build a strong vocabulary.
Try solving the following Cloze Test passage (Solutions are provided at the end)
Every month, scientists ___(i)___ new gadgets and new ways to make technology faster and better. Our homes are full of hardware (such as DVD players and computers) and ___(ii)___ (such as computer games and MP3s). ___(iii)___ suggests, however, that it is the young people who are best able to deal with this change. Whereas teenagers have no problem ___(iv)___ a DVD player, their parents and grandparents often find using new technology ___(v)___ and different. But if you’re a teenager who criticizes your parents for their ___(vi)___ of technological awareness, don’t be too hard on them! Sometime ___(vii)___ the future, when you’ve got children of your own, your ___(viii)___ to deal with new technology will probably ___(ix)___ and your children will feel more ___(x)___ with new technology than you do.
Direction: Read the passage carefully and choose the correct answer to each question out of the four alternatives and fill in the blanks.
1. (i)=? (A) found (B) invent (C) estimate (D) discover
2. (iv)=? (A) operating (B) discovering (C) inventing (D) explaining
3. (vi)=? (A) storage (B) amount (C) effect (D) lack
4. (x)=? (A) pleased (B) able (C) comfortable (D) easy
5. (v)=? (A) sudden (B) unique (C) complicated (D) automatic
6. (vii)=? (A) on (B) to (C) in (D) at
7. (viii)=? (A) possibility (B) talent (C) master (D) ability
8. (ii)=? (A) gadgets (B) laptops (C) software (D) screens
9. (ix)=? (A) please (B) decrease (C) able (D) easy
10. (iii)=? (A) industry (B) experiment (C) program (D) research
i. B – Gadgets are made by humans and hence ‘invented’ and not discovered. ‘Found’ and ‘Estimate’ are definitely wrong and can be discarded using the elimination technique.
ii. C – ‘Such as computer games and MP3s’ is a clue. Computer games, laptops and MP3s aren’t ‘software’ and hence can be discarded.
iii. D – ‘Program’ and ‘Industry’ don’t fit the bill. While the words ‘Research’ and ‘Experiment’ almost mean the same, ‘Research’ and ‘Suggests’ are frequently used together.
iv. A – ‘Discovering’ is definitely wrong and can be eliminated. ‘Inventing’ and ‘Explaining’ doesn’t fit the bill if you read the rest of the sentence. Hence, ‘Operating’ is the right answer.
v. C – ‘Unique’ and different almost mean the same and hence can be discarded. Using ‘Sudden’ and ‘Automatic’ won’t be logically or grammatically correct. Hence, ‘Complicated’ is the right answer.
vi. D – ‘Effect’, ‘Amount’ and ‘Storage’ don’t fit the bill, since they make the sentence grammatically incorrect. Hence, ‘Lack’ is the right answer.
vii. C – ‘On’, ‘To’ and ‘At’ will make the sentence grammatically incorrect. Hence, ‘In’ is the right answer.
viii. D – ‘Master’ and ‘Possibility’ will make the sentence sound grammatically incorrect. Being able to deal with technology is an ability and not a ‘Talent’. Hence, ‘Ability’ is the right answer.
ix. B – ‘Please’, ‘Able’ and ‘Easy’ will make the sentence grammatically incorrect. Hence, ‘Decrease’ is the right answer.
x. C – ‘Able’ and ‘Easy’ do not fit the bill and hence can be eliminated. ‘Pleased’ doesn’t maintain the tone or logic of the sentence. Hence, ‘Comfortable’ is the right answer.