Summarize Written Text

Summarize Written Text is a short-answer writing item type that integrates writing and reading skills. It requires you to understand, analyze and extract information from a reading passage and summarize the key points in one sentence.

The Writing Module of PTE Academic consists of two tasks namely, Write Essay and Summarize written text. The latter is performed by writing a one-sentence summary of a passage. Only ten minutes is given to finish the task and the summary must contain 5 to 75 words. If a summary does not meet the word limit, it will lose points for improper form.

When it is time for this task, the computer will show a screen with a short passage, a blank box and a word counter at the bottom. There are also cut, copy and paste buttons for easy organization of words.

The biggest hurdles for this task are finding the main idea, identifying the writer’s purpose and incorporating all the relevant supporting details.


Number of items 2-3
Time allowed 20-30 minutes
Scoring Partial credit
Communicative skills, enabling skills and other traits scored Reading and writing

Grammar, vocabulary

Content, form

Subskills tested Reading: Reading a passage under timed conditions; identifying a writer’s purpose, style, tone or attitude; comprehending explicit and implicit information; comprehending concrete and abstract information.

Writing: Writing a summary; writing under timed conditions; taking notes while reading a text; synthesizing information; writing to meet strict length requirements; communicating the main points of a reading in writing; using words and phrases appropriate to the context; using correct grammar.

  1. While reading the passage, look for the main idea. Gather essential key words and supporting details to elaborate the main idea.
  2. If it helps, take down notes. Understand the connection of the key words using arrows and symbols. A good summary covers the most significant details.
  3. Do not go below or beyond the word limit (between 5 to 75 words). If you write less or more than the required number of words, you will earn zero points for the task.
  4. Do not write more than one sentence in this task. Again, if you fail to follow this instruction, your response will not be scored.
  5. Do not proceed to the next task without proofreading your summary. Spare one to two minutes to read your work to check the spelling, vocabulary, grammar, and written discourse. These are enabling skills that are rated based on your responses in the writing section.
  6. Make sure to observe proper capitalization and punctuation. Do not entirely type capital letters.


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