PTE Academic Mastery: Summarize Spoken Text

The Summarize Spoken Text question is a long-answer item type that integrates listening and writing skills, and requires you to understand, analyze and combine information from a spoken text, and then summarize the key points in writing.

Number of items 2-3
Time allowed 20-30 minutes
Prompt Length 60-90 seconds
Scoring Partial credit
Communicative skills, enabling skills and other traits scored Listening and writing

Grammar, vocabulary, spelling

Content, form

Subskills tested Listening: Identifying the topic, theme or main ideas; summarizing the main idea; identifying supporting points or examples; identifying a speaker’s purpose. style, tone or attitude; understanding academic vocabulary; inferring the meaning of unfamiliar words; comprehending explicit and implicit information; comprehending concrete and abstract information; classifying and categorizing information; following an oral sequencing of information; comprehending variations in tone, speed and accent.

Writing: Writing a summary; writing under timed conditions; taking notes whilst listening to a recording; communicating the main points of a lecture in writing; organizing sentences and paragraphs in a logical way; using words and phrases appropriate to the context; using correct grammar; using correct spelling; using correct mechanics.

  1. Observe the sequence of the ideas or details. You should be able to identify the main topic, supporting details and conclusion. Pay attention to sequence words (first, then, next, finally), contrasting conjunctions (although, but, however) and transitional words indicating an illustration (namely, such as, in particular, for example, for instance).
  2. Take notes while listening. Write as many words as you can. Do not worry about making your notes neat, complete and grammatically correct. However, make it understandable, concise and structured so you pick the important ideas.
  3. If you are unsure of the names of persons and places mentioned, refer to them with using common nouns such as the governor, lecturer, scientist, museum, lake, etc. Remember, you will lose points for incorrect spelling.
  4. Do not write less than 50 or go beyond 70 words. No points will be given for responses not following the word limit.
  5. Spare at least two minutes per item to check your summary’s grammar, spelling and vocabulary. Check for common writing errors such as incorrect capitalization, punctuation, spacing and mistakes in following the subject-verb agreement. Do not forget to choose the right singular and plural forms and verb tenses.


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