PTE Listening: Select Missing Word

Learn about Select missing word questions in PTE listening with an overview, recommended strategy and practice questions.


Select missing word questions test your ability to predict what a speaker will say based on contextual clues.

Here are some key points about Select missing word questions:

  • They assess your listening skills only.
  • The recording will last between 20 and 70 seconds.
  • The last word or group of words in the recording will be replaced by a beep.
  • You’ll hear the recording once only.
  • The topic will be given in the instructions.
  • The recording will begin automatically after 7 seconds.
  • There will be three to five response options.
  • You’ll answer two or three Select missing word questions in the listening test.

Recommended strategy

Here’s my recommended strategy for answering Select missing word questions.

Before you listen

  • Start by reading the instructions carefully. The topic of the recording will be given in the first sentence, e.g. You will hear a recording about income inequality. Knowing the topic of the recording in advance will help you understand it more easily.

While you’re listening

  • Focus on the general content of the recording, and pay attention to both the main ideas and details.
  • Key an eye on the audio progress indicator. This will help you anticipate the end of the recording, which is very important for Select missing word questions.

After you listen

  • When the recording has finished, choose the correct response option.
  • Make sure that the response option you’ve chosen:
    • makes sense in the context;
    • is the right part of speech (noun, verb, etc.).

Practice question

Now it’s your turn to practise. Answer the Select missing word question below using the strategy outlined above.

You will hear a recording about income inequality. At the end of the recording the last word or group of words has been replaced by a beep.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.


WRR-Lecture 2013 – Richard Wilkinson – The Social Impact of Inequality by ScientificCouncilWRR is licensed under CC BY 3.0. An audio excerpt was extracted from the original video and transcribed.


Click below to see the answer and transcript.


The correct answer is “correlation”.


I sometimes start off by telling audiences that I’m going to tell you what you know already. And if I asked you which country has the highest levels … which of the rich, developed countries have the highest level of violence, the biggest prison populations, the highest levels of obesity, you’d know it was the United States. If I asked you which ones do well on all those things, you’d know it was the Scandinavian countries. I think the only thing that surprises people is how closely these sorts of outcomes relate to income inequality, not only at the extremes, the United States and the Scandinavian countries, but also in between. In fact, in our work, you can remove those countries at the extreme, and you’ve still got a significant correlation.