Summarize Spoken Text – A PTE Listening Guide For Success

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Summarise Spoken Text in the PTE Listening section is one of those tasks that tend to bring on a flurry of panic. But with plenty of PTE test preparation, writing practice and mock questions you will be feeling ready to tackle this question head-on.  

Today’s blog article is going to take a look at the Summarise Spoken Text task in detail. We will take you through the best method and strategies to use in approach to this task and apply these tips to a PTE mock prompt.  Finally, we will look at some main takeaways and ways to improve.  

Let’s get ready for PTE success!

What is the PTE Listening Summarize Spoken Text Task?

  • Listening: Summarise Spoken Text 
  • You will have to listen to audio and write a summary of the main points in the audio.

How long do you have to complete each item in this listening task? 

  • The audio is 60 – 90 seconds long.  
  • 10 minutes to complete your written summary with a word count of between 50 – 70 words. 

How many of these prompts will I have to complete?

  • 3 – 4 (this varies) 

How are you scored?

  • This task assesses your listening and writing. Your score for this task is based on 5 factors:  


  • This comes down to how well you listened to the summary and your note-taking skills.  
  • Did you take down all the main points and some supporting details?  
  • Make sure you include those key points in a way that represents the overall topic.  
  • The highest scoring responses clearly summarize the main points and refer to essential supporting points in brief.   
  • You will receive a zero if your summary misinterprets the topic or the purpose of the lecture.  


  • Remember the word count and stick to it.  
  • Writing less than 50 or more than 70 will decrease your score in relation to all of the five factors.  
  • You will score zero.   



  • Is the grammatical structure of your sentences correct? 
  • Don’t try to write overly verbose and complicated sentences. This way, unless you are very confident, you are more likely to make mistakes.  
  • You also won’t get extra points for doing so.  
  • Simple sentences without errors are good enough to get you a high score.  


  • Your summary must include a wide range of vocabulary which is suitable for the topic?  
  • Does it include vocabulary that is appropriate in an academic environment?  
  • It must have accurate synonyms?  
  • The highest scoring response will do all the above things, using words from the lecture appropriately, showing an understanding of the topic and using synonyms effectively to demonstrate a variety of language.   


  • Have you used accurate spelling and in line with one spelling convention? I.e. Do you spell your words consistently in British or American English?  
  • The PTE exam recognizes all English language conventions as long as your summary consistently uses the same one.   

Let’s take a look now at the method we can apply to PTE Listening: Summarise Spoken Text in order to achieve PTE success.  

First:  Listen and note down as much information as you can.  

Second:  Plan how you are going to organize your notes into a summary.  

Third:  Begin to write your summary but don’t repeat all the information you have noted down word for word.  

Fourth:  Review and edit any errors and make sure you are within the word count. 

*Make sure to watch our YouTube video PTE Listening: Summarise Spoken Text where we go into more detail on each of these steps.  

Let’s work through these steps in our first mock prompt.  

PTE Mock Exam: Prompt 1 

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. 

They will give you 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. 

Step 1 

  • Listen very carefully and take organized notes. Noting down the main points, content words and some essential supporting details.  
  • Here is an example of some notes when listening to this recording: 

animal language – communication – study 

chestnut babble 

produces two sounds – A + B 

flying call – AB 

feeding chicks – BAB 

sound combinations – linked to activity 

compared to humans 

exciting research 

Step 2 

  • Take up to a minute now to fill in your notes with any information you remember.  
  • Also, decide if there is any information you have noted down which is not important or you are not going to include in the text due to the word length.  

Step 3

  • Start writing your summary with well-connected sentences, making sure you don’t go over the word count.  
  • Here is a 79 -90 answer for this mock prompt.  

 The lecture discussed research which has shown developments in the area of animal communication. This research focused on an Australian bird called the chestnut babble. It made two different sounds, which they labeled A and B. The sound combination was AB when the bird was flying. So, researchers concluded that a combination of these sounds could be linked to the bird’s activity at the time.

Step 4  review and edit.

 Let’s have a look at this mock prompt sample answer, taking a look at good points and reasons why points have been lost.   The lecture discussed research which has shown developments in the area of animal communication. This research focused on an Australian bird called the chestnut babble. It made two different sounds, which they labelled A and B. Sounds Combination was AB when the bird was flying. So, researchers concluded that a combination of these sounds could be linked to the bird’s activity at the time. 

  • Missing comma before the non-defining relative clause. 
  • An incorrect name for the bird in the study – chestnut crowned babbler. 

Good points  

  • Starts with an opening phrase (The lecture discussed…) 
  • There is a topic sentence giving an overview of the summary.  
  • The answer addresses the main point and includes some supporting details. 
  • Good use of grammar and language – therefore and a non-defining relative clause  
  • 69 words. 
  • The response makes use of formal language, taken or paraphrased from the text. 
  • Good spelling and range of vocabulary.  

Tips for PTE success in PTE Listening: Summarise Spoken Text 

  • Develop an effective note-taking system.  
  • Focus on the main points of the argument presented in the prompt during your planning time. 
  • Paraphrasing them effectively is a way to gain extra points. 
  • Attempt to include some supporting details or examples for a high score.  
  • Keep your grammar simple.  Incorrectly used grammatical terms and structures could end up with you losing more points. 
  • Write a structured response beginning with an overview and make sure your sentences are linked together.  
  • Refer to the recording material only. Do not bring in any outside information and knowledge. 
  • Avoid including unnecessary information or the repetition of certain facts.  
  • Keep track of your word count and of the time.  Your response should be between 50 and 70 words. 

Wrapping Up our PTE Exam Preparation for Today 

Were you able to use this method during your PTE practice? Which step was the most difficult to apply? Which step do you think was the most useful? Please let us know your comments and suggestions. Don’t forget practice makes perfect. Take every opportunity to apply these strategies to this task in PTE practice tests and sample questions.  

Good luck with your PTE Listening: Summarise Spoken Text task practice!

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