For this item type you hear an audio recording and need to write a 50-70 word summary on what you heard.

You have 10 minutes to write your summary.

The audio begins to play automatically. You are only able to listen to the audio recording once.The Word Count at the bottom of the screen counts the number of words you write. Make sure to write a minimum of 50 words, but no more than 70 words.

There are also cut, copy and paste buttons which you may choose to use while constructing your summary.

Cut: Select text from your answer that you wish to remove and left-click “Cut”.

Copy: Select text from your answer that you wish to copy and left-click “Copy”.

Paste: Place the cursor where you wish to paste the cut/copied text and left-click “Paste”.

Some helpful tips

Make sure you summarize the main point and include the supporting points.

When you take notes using an erasable noteboard booklet, whilst you listen to the recording, make sure you note down the supporting points as well as the main idea. 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.

Remember to check grammar, spelling and punctuation

In your 50-70 word summary, you will be scored on the enabling skills of grammar, spelling and vocabulary. So leave yourself 1-2 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.

How is this question scored?

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 and 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, including 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 less than 50 words or more than 70 words will decrease your score. If your summary contains less 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.

ILearn PTE 2020