Fill-in-the-blank Activities present learners a statement with a missing word or phrase, followed by the correct answer and several distractors (typically 1-3). This Activity type tests a learner’s ability to recognize the correct answer.

Best Practices

When using the fill-in-the-blank Activity format, we recommend the following best practices:

  1. Test one idea per Activity (one blank per Activity)
  2. Keep statements short 
  3. Make the blank the same size in every Activity
  4. Provide enough information in the statement so that learners understand what is being asked
  5. Try to put the blank near the end of the statement
  6. Ensure all answer options are related and grammatically similar, including the distractors 
  7. Avoid giving grammatical hints
  • For example, if a statement ends with “an __________”, learners will know the answer starts with a vowel. Either rewrite the statement or use “a(n) __________” instead. 

Example 1

Poor Fill-in-the-Blank Activity
Good Fill-in-the-Blank Activity 
__________ is our busiest month.
a. March
b. June
c. September
d. December
Our busiest month is __________.
a. March
b. June
c. September 
d. December 


In the poor Activity, the blank appears near the start of the statement, which means learners need to read it once to understand the context, and then a second time when determining what option fills in the blank.

Example 2

Poor Fill-in-the-Blank Activity
Good Fill-in-the-Blank Activity 
Ask your manager for assistance if a customer wants to return a __________ item. 
a. expensive
b. opened
c. unopened
d. damaged 
Ask your manager for assistance if a customer wants to return a(n) __________ item. 
a. expensive
b. opened
c. unopened
d. damaged


The poor Activity provides a grammatical hint. Since the statement ends with “a,” learners know the answer must be “damaged.” Instead, rewrite the statement using “a(n),” or ensure that all the answer options start with a vowel.