Retell Lecture

Retell Lecture

Reading Time: 15 minutes

Part 1: Speaking


Made Easy

  • Length of video or audio: 50 – 90 seconds
  • Preparation time: 10 seconds
  • Time to re-tell the lecture: 40 seconds
  • Type of recording: audio or video, part of a lecture
  • Number of these tasks: 1 - 2

Re-tell lecture tests your ability to summarise the important points from part of a lecture in your own words.

You will hear a lecture. After listening to the lecture, in 10 seconds, please speak into the microphone and retell what you have just heard from the lecture in your own words. You will have 40 seconds to give your response

  • Listening
    up to 6 points
  • Speaking
    up to 11 points

Top Strategies for Success in Retell Lecture

A good summary: It’s important to know what a good summary looks like.

Starts with an introductory sentence, giving the main point

Icon- Process-steps- PTE School

Includes plenty of information from the recording

Icon- Process-steps- PTE School

Retells implications or conclusions from the recording

Icon- Process-steps- PTE School

Clearly shows how the ideas are related to each other

Icon- Process-steps- PTE School

Is clearly and logically structured

Icon- Process-steps- PTE School

Uses mostly your own words, rather than whole phrases or sentences from the lecture (use a phrase or two from the lecture if you have to, rather than miss out a point)

Icon- Process-steps- PTE School

Uses accurate pronunciation, including intonation, rhythm and stress

  • Practice Tips
    Follow To Succeed

Find some online videos (e.g. formal talks, discussions or university lectures) or academic podcasts on general topics. Choose ones that give information, but avoid news websites as these are different from what you will hear in the test. Listen to 50–90 seconds of a video and do the following:

Identify the main points of the talk, any examples or evidence, and any opposing arguments.
Listen for the signal words that indicate the main points (e.g. We need to focus on…, The issue here is…, What we’ve discovered is…, For instance, To illustrate, On the contrary, etc.).
Make sure you understand these expressions, as they can help you identify key information when listening. They can also help you to make sure the structure of your summary is logical. Note down any new expressions and learn them.

You will need to take notes, to help you remember all the main points you hear. Create your own techniques for quick note-taking.

Choose your own abbreviations and symbols and practise using them so that they become automatic.
Practise writing the key words of main ideas and important details.

Practise in an environment with other people talking around you – for example, with the TV and/or radio on. There are likely to be people talking at the same time as you in the PTE-A test room.

  • Language focus

Learn academic vocabulary as it will really help with these questions, both with understanding the lecture and using your own words to express the ideas you heard.

Listen for any unfamiliar words and try to guess their meaning from the words around them. Check your guesses in a dictionary.
Create lists of words with their synonyms. A thesaurus will help you to find new words with the same or similar meanings.
When you learn a new word, record an example of how it’s used in context.


Arrow RL Icon- Process-steps- PTE School

Look at the image or the part of the video you can see. This will give you an idea of the general topic and help you to predict what you will hear. Be quick – you only have three seconds before the recording starts.


Arrow RL Icon- Process-steps- PTE School

Take notes using the erasable booklet and pen, focusing only on key words.

Listen out for signaling words and expressions. These will help you identify the main points and relationships between ideas.


Follow your plan, using your notes.

• Give the introductory sentence, expressing the main point.
• Include all the most important points in the lecture and their relationships
• Make clear the relationships between the ideas you heard. For example, if you heard a conclusion, say in conclusion before repeating it.
• Pay careful attention to intonation, rhythm, pauses, etc.
• Some people feel uncomfortable speaking into the microphone, so imagine you’re speaking to a friendly audience.
• Speak normally, clearly and naturally– not too quiet, loud, fast or slow. Speak at the same volume as in the microphone check at the beginning of the test.
• Pay attention to time and make sure you explain all the main points and the relationships between them, including any conclusions or implications, before your 40 seconds speaking time is finished.


Arrow RL Icon- Process-steps- PTE School

Quickly review your notes when the audio stops, and plan your talk. You have ten seconds to do this. Think about what you need to include:

• an introductory sentence to begin your talk, giving the main point;
• important details. Also think about what not to include (as you only have 40 seconds to re-tell the lecture);
• relationships between ideas (e.g. signaling that something you say is an implication or conclusion).

When the count down is nearly at zero, take a deep breath so that you’re ready to start speaking.

Remember, What To Do What Not To Do In Retell Lecture

Practise Re-tell lecture 2 here, if you want to try Read aloud without a time limit. Think about the strategies mentioned above. Then follow the task instructions and record your response on your mobile phone or other device.

You will hear a lecture. After listening to the lecture, in 10 seconds, please speak into the microphone and retell what you have just heard from the lecture in your own words. You will have 40 seconds to give your response

1. Play back and listen to your response. Use the checklist below to decide what you did well and what you need to practise more. Set aside time to work on each area that you want to improve.

2. Listen to a model answer for this task. Compare it to your own response. What are the differences? Are you happy with your response? What could you improve?

Common Mistakes Problems Errors In Retell Lecture

Some speaking tasks focus only on speaking while others assess integrated skills. So, depending on the task you may only need to speak, or listen and then speak, or even take notes while you are listening to help you speak afterwards. It is important to practise different ways of doing each task type to find an approach you are comfortable with.

Don’t click ‘Next’ too soon. Only move on to the next task when you are sure you are finished with the current one. You can’t go back to these tasks to try again.

Most Repeated Retell Lecture Questions in 2024

1. You will hear a lecture. After listening to the lecture, in 10 seconds, please speak into the microphone and retell what you have just heard from the lecture in your own words. You will have 40 seconds to give your response

2. You will hear a lecture. After listening to the lecture, in 10 seconds, please speak into the microphone and retell what you have just heard from the lecture in your own words. You will have 40 seconds to give your response

3. You will hear a lecture. After listening to the lecture, in 10 seconds, please speak into the microphone and retell what you have just heard from the lecture in your own words. You will have 40 seconds to give your response

4. You will hear a lecture. After listening to the lecture, in 10 seconds, please speak into the microphone and retell what you have just heard from the lecture in your own words. You will have 40 seconds to give your response

Quick Tips Strategies For Better Score!

You have three seconds before you listen to the recording to quickly look at the image on the screen. Use this time to think about the vocabulary you might hear. This will give you an idea of the topic of the lecture and help you predict what you will hear when the recording begins:

You only have 40 seconds to speak and make sure that you include all the main points of the lecture. If you repeat ideas, correct yourself or hesitate, you will use up valuable time and lose score points. So keep talking and ignore any mistakes that you make.

Your response for Re-tell Lecture is judged based on our ability to give a presentation on information from a lecture on an academic subject. Your score is based on three factors:

Content: Does your response accurately and thoroughly retell the information in the lecture?

Content is scored by determining how accurately and thoroughly you convey the situation, characters, aspects, actions and developments presented in the lecture. Your description of relationships, possible developments and conclusions or implications is also scored. The best responses retell all the main points of the lecture and include possible developments, conclusions or implications. Mentioning a few disjointed ideas will negatively affect your score.

Oral fluency: Does your response demonstrate a smooth, effortless and natural rate of speech?

Oral fluency is scored by determining if your rhythm, phrasing and stress are smooth. The best responses are spoken at a constant and natural rate of speech with appropriate phrasing. Hesitations, repetitions and false starts will negatively affect your score.

Pronunciation: Does your response demonstrate your ability to produce speech sounds in a similar way to most regular speakers of the language?

Pronunciation is scored by determining if your speech is easily understandable to most regular speakers of the language. The best responses contain vowels and consonants pronounced in a native-like way, and stress words and phrases correctly. Responses should also be immediately understandable to a regular speaker of the language.

PTE Academic recognizes regional and national varieties of English pronunciation to the degree that they are understandable to most regular speakers of the language.

• Partial credit scoring applies to Re-tell Lecture. No credit is given for no response or an irrelevant response.
• This question type affects the scoring of the following: listening, speaking, oral fluency and pronunciation.
• Your writing skills are not tested by this question type, and your reading skills are only used to read the instructions.
• For more information download the Score Guide.

You will hear a lecture. After listening to the lecture, in 10 seconds, please speak into the microphone and retell what you have just heard from the lecture in your own words. You will have 40 seconds to give your response

English Speaker’s Response

The speaker said that some health messages about food are confusing. For example, there are
debates about whether fat or sugar is bad for you when in fact both are problematic. She said that dietary guidance to the public should shift away from a focus on individual nutrients such as protein and carbohydrate, towards guidelines relating to actual food, for example meat, vegetables or biscuits. Moreover, the issue isn’t about deciding which foods to eat or to abstain from. Instead, it’s about eating patterns as a whole, and the proportions of the different foods in relation to each other.

Listen to the three sample answers for this task. Each recording provides an example of a response given by test takers at a C1, B2 or B1 competence level.

The speaker said that we should not differentiate between different nutrients, such as protein, carbohydrates and fat. but rather betvæen different foods, such as meat. fish and vegetables in order to avoid public confusion regarding messages about healthy eating and achieve an understandin of our dieta atterns as a whole.


The response summarises the important points from the lecture accurately, but the test taker leaves out some supporting points such as the unhelpful debate about whether fat and sugar are more harmful. The test taker is able to retell the lecture in her own words by paraphrasing and using synonyms. The vocabulary is relevant and appropriate to the lecture. There are no grammar or vocabulary errors, which means the points that the test taker mentions are all clear. The response shows advanced fluency and native-like pronunciation: rhythm, phrasing (grouping words in meaningful units) and stress are appropriate. All words are easily understandable. The response is uenty-four seconds long.

According to the speaker, there is public confusion about some messages about food, for example. the debate about fat against sugar. Really, both are bad. While science looks at individual nutrients, the message to the public should be about food – meat, vegetables, etc. The important thing is to understand patterns of diets, and how much of each food group to eat.


The response re-tells the lecture accurately and gives enough detail to understand what the lecture was about. There are, however, some minor grammar and vocabulary mistakes, which do not affect our understanding.
The test takers speech has acceptable speed, but is slightly uneven because he hesitates twice.
Overall, the test taker’s pronunciation is good as only a few words are mispronounced. But this also does not affect the overall response negatively. The response is thirty-two seconds long.

The lecture is about foods. There is a debate about fat and sugar and what we should eat. We should talk more about foods – meat. fish, vegetables and so on. Some people say some foods are allowed and other foods are not allowed.


The response deals with only one main point from the lecture: (the) debate about fat and sugar and what we should eat. The rest of the response lists unconnected points, which don’t help the listener to understand what the lecture was about.
The response consists of simple sentences, which shows that the test taker’s grammar and vocabulary knowledge is still limited as it affects how much of the lecture she understood and is able to re-tell.
The test takers speech is uneven with two hesitations and one long pause. Although some words are mispronounced, the speech is clear enough to understand. She did not make use of the full speaking time available. The response is only thirty-two seconds long.

In this worksheet, you are going to focus on the skills and strategies needed for the Re-tell lecture task.

1. You need to be familiar with the way the task looks on screen and how you need to manage the equipment. It is important to know the timing of the task. Are the sentences true (T) or false (F)?

2. Note-taking is very important in this task because you probably won’t be able to remember everything you hear. Look at the two sets of notes. Which set is a good example of note-taking? Why? What is wrong with the other set?

Retell Lecture Worksheet Task 2
Retell Lecture Worksheet Task 3

3. You need to understand what you have to do during each stage of this task. Read actions 1–16 and put them in the correct part of the table.

1. Listening to lectures online
2. Taking notes
3. Paying attention to your intonation
4. Looking at the image
5. Thinking about the structure of the lecture
6. Becoming familiar with the instructions
7. Ignoring other people around you
8. Reviewing your notes
9. Deciding which details to include
10. Speaking as soon as the microphone opens
11. Creating vocabulary lists
12. Creating your own note-taking technique
13. Listening for signalling expressions
14. Following your plan
15. Checking the time
16. Paying attention to the speaker’s intonation

Retell Lecture Worksheet Task 4

Having a structure when you make notes will help you organise your thoughts. It also makes it easier for others to understand your summary of the lecture.

4. Put the parts of your response, a–d, in the correct order to give it a structure.

a. The first main point _____________________________________________________
b. An introductory sentence _____________________________________________________
c. A conclusion _____________________________________________________
d. The second main point _____________________________________________________

When you re-tell the lecture, try to link your points so that the structure is clear.

5.1. Listen to a lecture and read the transcript of its re-telling. Choose the correct linking words and phrases.

The speaker was talking about the impact of women’s participation on a country’s development. ¹ Even though / Even so, women’s participation could be greater, progress has been made everywhere. ² It is clear that / Fortunately, women being independent and having skills leads to better resources and conditions and more opportunities for girls to access education. ³ The conclusion is that / Finally, this will have great implications for the women of the future.

5.2. Look again at the parts of a response in Exercise 4. Match a–d in Exercise 4 with the correct sentence in the transcript in Exercise 5.1.

6. In the Re-tell lecture task, you are scored on content, fluency and pronunciation. Read the checklist and write C (content), F (fluency) or P (pronunciation).

1. Rhythm
2. Description of developments
3. Use of standard English sounds
4. Hesitation
5. Pace of speech
6. Ease of understanding each word
7. Appropriate words and phrases


7.1. Look at the photo. What do you think the lecture will be about?

Retell Lecture Worksheet Task 5

7.2. Practise describing the image, focusing on intonation. Record yourself and check that your intonation sounds natural. Remember that you have only forty seconds to deliver your response.

7.3. Listen to a test taker re-tell the lecture. Review their performance by answering the questions.

1. What main points did the test taker cover?
2. Did the test taker miss out any major points?
3. Did the test taker cover everything you noted when you listened to the lecture?
4. Did the test taker repeat any information?
5. Were there any hesitations or false starts? What effect did these have?
6. Was the test taker easy to understand and follow?
7. Did the test taker make any grammar or vocabulary mistakes?
8. How could this re-telling be improved?

7.4.Read the transcript of the test taker’s response and check your answers.

Uh. In this picture it is a rocket. Uh. And it is, um, it is a rocket which can have for space station which is built by Russian thirty years ago. And what is, uh, what is drawing our attention is the back field. Uh, half ago, uh, half a century ago, the Russian has have the, uh, technology to, uh, support a rocket.

8. Re-tell the lecture. Use your notes from Exercise 7.2. Remember to time yourself because you have only forty seconds to deliver your response. Use the checklist to compare your response with the test taker you listened to. Tick (✅) the statements that are true for you.