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How to score for the Comprehension Cloze of PSLE English

The comprehension cloze is a component of the PSLE English Paper 2 Booklet B and it is worth 15 marks.

It consists of a large text that has gaps which the student has to fill in.

If you, like many students are intimidated by the cloze do not worry.

This article will give you some useful tips and tricks on how to deal with this section of the PSLE exam.


1. What goes in the blanks in the comprehension cloze of PSLE English?

Usually, the blanks in the text need to be filled with the words from these categories. 

  • Connectors (e.g. and, also, but, despite, etc.)
  • Synonyms / Antonyms
  • Forward / Backward Referencing
  • Collocations
  • Grouping
  • Overall Comprehension 

In general, it is recommended to read through the entire passage before you even attempt to fill in the blanks.

This will make you understand what the story is about overall. Knowledge of the content will help you anticipate certain words and remember relevant vocabulary.

Some children are too lazy or overly self-confident to do this.

Remember, the task is worth 15 points so muster up the self-discipline and don’t skip this step. 

Let’s try to understand what each of these things is.

Connectors are special words or phrases that link two words or two clauses together.

Refer to this for more information: Linking Words (Conjunctions and Connectors)

Some connectors show the contrast (e.g. on the other hand, by contrast, nevertheless, unlike, etc.), some connectors make a comparison (e.g. as…as, similarly, equally, etc.) there are also connectors that add information, show direction or a place, time and sequence and perform many more functions.

You have to pay attention to the context to see what type of connector is needed.

Some connectors are synonymous and can be used interchangeably.

For example, in the sentence “Lisa is short………….her brother is tall” we need to show the contrast between “short” and “tall”. We can use several connectors to do this (but / although). 

Synonyms are words that have a similar meaning, while antonyms have an opposite meaning. (What are Antonyms?)

You need to read the sentence and understand the context to fill in the gap properly.

For instance, in the sentence “People are afraid of bears if they see these…………they scream” we need something that is synonymous with “bears”.

The logical answer is “animals”.

In another example “The winners were happy and the………….were disappointed” we need to fill the gap with the opposite of winner i.e. “loser”.

Forward and backward referencing means filling the gaps with the words that are referencing objects/people/events that were mentioned either earlier in the text, or will be mentioned later.

Example of the forward referencing.

“The………..is a very common form of transport. Cars come in all different shapes and sizes depending on the model.” (correct answer “car”)

Example of backward referencing.

Pickling has been used for centuries as a way to preserve food. The modern…………..process requires salt and various other preservatives that can keep the food edible for a long time.” (correct answer “pickling”)

Collocations are words that are frequently used together (e.g. catch a cold, to look up to somebody, to get along with or make a difference). The English language learner memorizes these phrases and uses them in the appropriate scenarios. What are Collocations?

If you come across the phrase that you think might be a collocation (and you need to fill in one of the missing words) you need to read the words before and after the blank very carefully.

If you need to fill in a verb, pay attention to when the action is taking place in the sentence, and fill in the verb in the correct tense form. 

You also need to pay attention to grouping. If you notice that the words before or after the blank are all in the same category there is a high chance that the word you need to fill in belongs to this category as well.

Look out for words that we commonly use before we start listing members of the same group (like, for example, such as). 

Example: “African continent is filled with various exotic…………such as gorilla, elephant, and rhinoceros.” (the correct answer is “animals”).

There are some blanks that test your overall comprehension of the passage. They should be filled in only if you’ve read and understood the previous paragraph(s). 

For example, if the passage says “Hurry up mom! Dad will be home soon! We need to get everything ready before he comes home! Get the cake out of the fridge, I will dim the lights and when he enters the door we will all shout……………..!”.

The correct answer here is “surprise” because according to the sentence the family was planning a surprise party for the dad. And in these circumstances, the only appropriate word to shout would be “SURPRIZE!”


2. The mistakes you need to avoid.

You should read the sentence very carefully before you attempt to fill in the blanks.

Don’t just read the words that are immediately before or after the blank, read the entire thing.

And if there are some sentences that do not have any blanks in them do not leave them out, read them too, they are important for the overall comprehension of the text.

After you have filled in the blank read the sentence again to make sure that it makes sense.

Pay attention to grammar, tenses, and active/passive sentence structures.

Make sure to fill in the nouns in the plural when they need to be in the plural, fill in the verbs in the correct tenses.

Also, pay attention to the parts of speech and their meanings. For instance, if you fill in “hard” instead of “hardly” and vice versa that will be a mistake. 

And finally, after you have filled in all the blanks reread the passage once again to make sure that all the sentences sound logical and everything makes sense.

Do not skip this step either (if you have enough time, of course). Better safe than sorry. 

Comprehension Cloze of PSLE English requires an in-depth knowledge of the language. You cannot just guess your way through it.

If you are unsure about your child’s English level you can hire a PSLE tutor to help them prepare for the exam.

Watch Video: PSLE Cloze | 3 Tips to Revise with your Marked Comprehension Cloze!

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