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What are Cloze tests?

Chris Pearse is a qualified Primary School Teacher with 10 years' experience in teaching. He started Teachitright in 2006 to provide support for children taking secondary school exams and is passionate about helping children achieve their potential whilst enjoying education.

What are Cloze tests?
Cloze tests are commonly used in CEM 11+ tests and require an ability to understand words in context. There are different types of cloze procedures or exercises that focus on your child’s vocabulary and understanding of the English language. This blog will explore the variations in these cloze questions and highlight the skills needed to perform well in this element of the 11+ examinations.

Initially, it is important to note that cloze exercises can be used in schools to assess children’s mastery of the English language and can appear in other 11+ exam board tests. There are three commonly known styles: word bank, partial words and a multiple-choice version.

Word Bank
Your child is presented with a chunk of text with entire words omitted (left out). This passage could be fiction, non-fiction or less commonly used a poem. Pupils need to fill each gap with the appropriate word, so the passage makes grammatical sense. There will only ever be one correct answer for each deleted word. Eliminating the words from the bank already chosen can really help reduce the options and support selecting the right word. Another helpful hint is to always read beyond the space to establish the context of the sentence. Furthermore, rereading the sentence with the word inserted to check it makes sense. This is also advisable when the whole exercise is finished, and you are double checking your choices. Below is an example of this style:


Complete version available in: Collins 11+ Verbal Reasoning Cloze Support and Practice Workbook ISBN: 9780008497408

Partial Words
These are often seen as the trickiest cloze version. Students are required to insert missing letters from particular words in a passage of text. Your child needs to fill these in correctly to be awarded the mark. The reason these are trickier is the child not only needs to know the missing word but also spell the word accurately. If a child has a poor vocabulary, they will find these more challenging. An example is shown underneath:


Complete version available in: Collins 11+ Verbal Reasoning Cloze Support and Practice Workbook ISBN: 9780008497408

As well as developing a strong vocabulary and spelling skills, cloze exercises require students to think critically and analytically about a chunk of text. Pupils need to consider the meaning as they are reading. This multiple-choice type tests a sound knowledge of grammar and secure grasp of word groups. For example, if a noun, adjective, verb or adverb is needed.


Complete version available in: Collins 11+ Verbal Reasoning Cloze Support and Practice Workbook ISBN: 9780008497408

How to improve your Cloze test skills?

  • Before attempting to fill in the gaps or select the appropriate word it is important to get an understanding of the text.
  • A useful approach is to complete the questions that you are confident with first and this can help identify the more complex words.
  • When solving the partial words cloze tests, it is advisable to look carefully at the letter strings given and think about any spelling rules that they could apply which would make the word viable.
  • Make sure your child re-reads the whole passage afterwards to check it all makes sense.
  • These exercises will often test an understanding of different word groups. An example is knowing homophones and their meanings. Does your child know the difference between taut and taught?
  • A common approach by examiners is to use words with similar spelling patterns to really test their knowledge e.g. stationery & stationary.

Giving your child exposure to these question styles will really enhance their confidence. Collins have recently released a comprehensive cloze book which covers all the mentioned procedures. It is evident that these question types test an understanding of the subtleties of language and being able to decipher a complicated piece of text.


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