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BULATS Business English: Strategies for Gapped Sentences

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Taking the BULATS Business English test does not have to be stressful. This lesson provides some strategies that will make you feel confident and competent about the gapped sentence exercises.

The BULATS Business English Test

If you are trying to get a job with a company, you might need to take the BULATS test, or the Business Language Testing Service test. This is a test that can assess your English, French, German, or Spanish.

The BULATS Business English test is focused on your capacity to speak, listen, read and write business English, or English that will be useful in the business or marketing situation. The test is broken down into four different sections, each of which focuses on one part of your language skills.

One section of the Business English Test deals with gapped sentences, or sentences with a word or phrase missing. You will be shown six different sentences, each of which has a missing word. Then, you will have to choose from four choices to determine which work best completes the sentence.

The strategies in this lesson will help you understand how to approach these test items successfully.

Read the Sentence Carefully

The first step to ensuring success with gapped sentences is simply to make sure you read the sentence very carefully, from start to finish. After all, you cannot properly decide what word will make sense until you have the gist of the sentence in your mind!

Start at the beginning of the sentence and read it all the way through, leaving the gap as a 'blank' in your mind. The following are examples of the kinds of sentences you might see:

  • Stockholders in businesses like to see a _____ on their investments.
  • In customer service industries, we strive to _____ the customer.
  • Keeping employees _____ will help businesses be successful.

After you have read the sentence, take a moment to think of a word or two that would complete it properly. If you do this before you even look at the answer choices, you will have a sense of what part of speech you are looking for and what general meaning you are trying to create.

Try Out Different Choices

The next step is to look at all of the different answer choices available to you. For instance, with the first sentence above, 'Stockholders in businesses like to see a _____ on their investments', you will look at four different possibilities for completion. These possibilities might be:

  • market
  • return
  • loss
  • profiting

Try reading the sentence in your mind with each of the choices above. As you read, you can ask yourself the following questions:

  • Which of the words helps the sentence make sense in terms of meaning?
  • Which of the words helps the sentence function grammatically?
  • Which of the words makes the sentence sound right to my ear?

Only one of the choices will work in relation to all three of these questions; in this case, it is the word 'return'. Trying out all of the choices will ensure you do not miss a good possibility.

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