Summarize Spoken Text

Summarize Spoken Text

Reading Time: 10 minutes

Part 3: Listening


Made Easy

  • Type of recording: audio only, part of a lecture
  • Length of recording: 60 – 90 seconds
  • Number of words required: 50 -70
  • Listening & writing time: 10 Minutes
  • Number of these tasks: 1 - 2

Summarize spoken text tests how well you can understand the main ideas of a part of a lecture, then how well you can summarise those ideas. Because the summary has to be within strict word limits, you will also have to use grammar very carefully.

You will hear a short lecture. Write a short summary for a fellow student who was not present at the lecture. You should write 50–70 words.
You have 10 minutes to finish this task. Your response will be judged on the quality of your writing and how well your response presents the key points presented in the lecture.

  • Listening
    up to 15 points
  • Writing
    up to 15 points

Top Strategies for Success in Summarize Spoken Text


Your summary relies on the quality of the notes you take while listening.
Ensure you can take effective notes by:

focusing on the main points. Don’t try to write down everything you hear.

using a wide range of abbreviations and symbols that you are familiar with to save time.

using columns and tables to show different speakers or opposing views.

using arrows to show the relationships between points.

using different writing sizes, underlining, or circling, to show headings or key information.

  • Practice Tips
    Follow To Succeed

Practise note-taking with the lectures you have found.
• Take a short section of the lecture (around 30 seconds) and take notes on the main idea. Write down key words. Then, stop the lecture and try writing a sentence summarising what you heard.
• Repeat this with the next part of the lecture, and then the next, until you have written a summary of 50–70 words.
• Practise doing this until you can listen to part of a lecture for around 90 seconds without stopping, and then write a summary of what you heard. The summary should take you no more than 10 minutes to write.
• Finally, check your practice summaries carefully. Did you get the right amount of information from the recording? Did you include all the main details in a logical order? Did you use appropriate grammar, vocabulary, punctuation and spelling?

Practise writing simple, clear sentences. This is better in a summary than writing complicated sentences (and the risk of making mistakes is lower). Make sure you are aware of any common mistakes you make (e.g. with word order, punctuation, etc.).

Find examples of lectures on topics you are interested in (you may be able to find some online).
• Listen to short sections of these lectures and identify the main points, along with any supporting details.
• Pay attention to words that the speaker uses to signal a main point or a supporting detail (e.g. We need to focus on …, The main issue is …, For example …).

Arrow RL Icon- Process-steps- PTE School


Take notes as you listen using your erasable booklet.

  • Listen for the main and supporting ideas, not the minor details.
  • Don’t try to write everything you hear. You will miss important information if you try to write word-for-word.
  • Use abbreviations, symbols and arrows to help you remember the most important points and indicate how the ideas are connected. Pay attention to the linking devices in the recording (e.g. because, unfortunately, so) as they will indicate the relationships between key points.
  • When the recording is finished, start to think about how you will plan and structure your summary. Reorganise your ideas quickly if you need to in your notes.


Arrow RL Icon- Process-steps- PTE School

Using your notes, start with an overview sentence giving the main idea, and then add supporting details.

  • Imagine you are writing this summary for someone who has not heard the recording.
  • Use a range of appropriate grammar structures and vocabulary that you feel confident with. Try to paraphrase the recording rather than use words directly from it.
  • Move parts of the text around as much as you want using the ‘Cut’, ‘Copy’ and ‘Paste’ buttons.
  • Keep editing your summary until you’re happy with it. Check your word count (it should be 50–70 words).
Arrow RL Icon- Process-steps- PTE School


Aim to spend a minute at the end to check your finished summary to make sure it flows smoothly and logically.


Check the content of your summary.

  • Does it contain all the key information?
  • Does it have enough supporting detail?
  • Does it accurately reflect what you heard?

Adjust your summary so that it fits within the strict word limit (50–70 words).

Check the grammar, punctuation and spelling and make corrections where necessary.

  • Does each sentence begin with a capital letter and end with a full stop?

• Have you checked for any mistakes with grammar, spelling or punctuation that you often make?

Remember, What To Do What Not To Do In Summarize Spoken Text

Practise Summarize spoken text 2 here if you want to try Summarize spoken text without a time limit. Think about the strategies mentioned above. Then follow the task instructions and write your summary.

You will hear a short lecture. Write a short summary for a fellow student who was not present at the lecture. You should write 50–70 words.
You have 10 minutes to finish this task. Your response will be judged on the quality of your writing and how well your response presents the key points presented in the lecture.

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

Our current food system is unsustainable, especially our ways of sourcing protein. This contributes to global greenhouse gas emissions and takes up a large proportion of land for agricultural purposes. We can, however, reduce these negative effects by getting more of our protein from plant-based foods and lab-grown meat, provided that the public can easily access and afford them.

Common Mistakes Problems Errors In Summarize Spoken Text

Even though you can only listen once to the recordings during listening tasks, speakers often repeat important information. Don’t worry if you do not understand everything straightaway.

Summarize spoken text is the only task in the listening section which is timed individually. You will have 10 minutes to write each summary.

Most Repeated Summarize Spoken Text Questions in 2024






Quick Tips Strategies For Better Score!

While you listen to the recording, make sure you note down the supporting points as well as the main idea in your erasable note-board booklet. From your notes, you can then summarize the main point and refer briefly to the essential supporting points, which will gain you good marks for content.

In your 50-70 word summary, you will be scored on the enabling skills of grammar, spelling and vocabulary. So leave yourself one or two minutes after you have written your summary to check your sentences for things like subject/verb agreement, tenses and word order.

Use grammatical structures that you can use confidently, and words that you are sure you have spelled correctly. Finally, check your punctuation: check full stops and commas, and make sure you have begun each sentence with a capital letter:

Your response for Summarize Spoken Text is judged on your ability to comprehend, analyze and combine information from a lecture, and then summarize the key points in writing. You are also assessed on the quality of your writing and on how well your response presents the key points in the lecture.

Your score is based on five factors:

Content: Does your response summarize the main points in the lecture?

Content is scored by determining if all the key points of the lecture have been addressed without misrepresenting the purpose or topic. If your summary misinterprets the topic or the purpose of the lecture, you will not receive any score points for your summary on any of the five factors. Your summary will be scored zero. The best responses clearly summarize the main points and condense essential supporting points. They focus on the topic and include only key information and essential supporting points.

Form: Does your response meet the length requirement of between 50 and 70 words?

Form is scored by counting the number of words in your response. You will receive full credit if your response is between 50 and 70 words. Writing fewer than 50 words or more than 70 words will decrease your score. If your summary contains fewer than 40 words or more than 100 words, you will not receive any score points for your summary on any of the five factors. Your summary will be scored zero.

Grammar: Does your response demonstrate correct grammatical usage?

Grammar is scored by determining if the basic structure of the sentences is correct. The best responses use concise sentences that clearly communicate the intended meaning.

Vocabulary: Does your response demonstrate correct and appropriate word choice and Usage?

Vocabulary is scored according to its relevance to the lecture and its appropriateness in an academic environment. The appropriate use of synonyms is also scored. The best responses use words from the lecture appropriately, demonstrate an understanding of the context and use synonyms effectively to show variety in language use.

Spelling: Does your response demonstrate correct and consistent use of a single spelling convention?

PTE Academic recognizes English spelling conventions from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada. However, one spelling convention should be used consistently in a given response.

• Partial credit scoring applies to Summarize Spoken Text. No credit is given for no response or an irrelevant response. This question type affects the scoring of the following: listening; writing; grammar; spelling and vocabulary.
• Your speaking 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.