PTE Listening Summarize Spoken Text

PTE Listening Summarize Spoken Text

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PTE Magic

Summarize spoken text is one part of the PTE Listening test. If you are looking for PTE material to study with, then this article will be a good guide for you.

I also recommend the weekly E2Language PTE mini mock tests to develop useful methods and practice for all the PTE tasks. 

Fill out the form below and we’ll send you a free PTE mini-mock test webinar to help put your skills to the test!

Summarize Spoken Text: The Task at Hand

The purpose of the summarize spoken text task is to test your ability to comprehend, analyze and combine information from a lecture and then summarize the key points in writing. It assesses both listening and writing skills. You will listen, take notes and write.

The instructions you will see are as follows:

You will hear a short lecture. Write a summary for a fellow student who was not present at the lecture. You should write 50-70 words.

You will have 10 minutes to finish this task. Your response will be judged on the quality of your writing and on how well your response presents the key points presented in the lecture.

Basically, you will reduce a 60-90 second spoken text to 50 to 70 words. You will have ten minutes to complete the task. The analogy that we like to give is that you are at a lecture that your friend is unable to attend so you are going to summarize it for them. You will listen, take notes and give them the important information from the lecture.

The speaker will speak for 60-90 seconds. While listening to the lecture you are going to write down the keywords. These keywords will be nouns, verbs and phrases mainly of one, two or three words. The important thing is that you write brief notes of the main ideas. You can write exactly what the speaker says word for word and paraphrase them later.

The great thing about E2Language is that when you become a member we will give you a structure to use in your summarize spoken text response. It is the same framework to use in retell lecture. Retell lecture, of course, is a speaking task, but the response structures are identical. Using the framework will help you to score 90.

Note Taking

Write quickly and VERY neatly as you will need to reread your own handwriting. Messy scrawl is impossible to read. I know, as my writing is often messy scrawl and impossible to read! So, take up a reasonable amount of space on the notepad with your notes and do not cram them into a corner.

While listening, take notes of the main ideas. Begin writing soon after the speaker begins in order to get the ideas down. Don’t wait until it starts to make sense—it may not!

Summarize Spoken Text
In the Summarize Spoken Text task, you need to ensure your writing is neat and organized!


My first advice is to use all ten minutes you are given, as you will not be given any credit for time not used. Use the time to refine your response so that it contributes to your overall score of 90! I recommend the following timing:

  1. Listen and take notes (using your pen and pad) for the 60-90 seconds.
  2. Recall the main ideas for another 30 seconds.
  3. Draft a response. Take four (4) minutes to do this.
  4. Review and rewrite for 3 minutes, checking the following:
    • Does your response include the main ideas from the text?
    • Does your response make sense?
    • Is your word choice correct?
    • Is your spelling correct? (Do not use words you cannot spell)
    • Is the grammar correct? Check: verb tenses; subject verb agreement; singular or plural verbs.

Writing Your Draft

After taking the best notes you can, refine them for 30 seconds by continuing to recall from the spoken text while it is in your memory. You need good notes to draw on. Group your ideas together. Now begin to write up the framework from your notes, paraphrasing the ideas into your own words where you can. Make sure that you include the topic in the first sentence. Each sentence must have a main noun and verb and is structured grammatically correctly.

Writing Your Good Copy

After the draft, and this should take about four minutes, DO NOT SUBMIT. Instead, spend about three minutes reviewing your writing checking for errors and improving your word choice to ensure your response is correct and contains all the main ideas. Check spelling and punctuation. You should be proud of the work you submit, and taking the time to do it thoroughly will ensure that you do not lose valuable marks for careless errors.

Keep an eye on the time. Make sure that you will finish the task and submit it before the ten minutes are up.

So, the keys are:

  • Listen well
  • Take great notes of the topic and main ideas
  • Write down what you can remember hearing after the recording has stopped
  • Complete the draft using the E2Language framework
  • Review the draft making corrections
  • Submit!

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