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Summarize spoken text is one part of the PTE Listening test. If you are looking for PTE material to study with, then this article will be a good guide for you.

I also recommend the weekly E2Language PTE mini mock tests to develop useful methods and practice for all the PTE tasks. 

Fill out the form below and we’ll send you a free PTE mini-mock test webinar to help put your skills to the test!

Summarize Spoken Text: The Task at Hand

The purpose of the summarize spoken text task is to test your ability to comprehend, analyze and combine information from a lecture and then summarize the key points in writing. It assesses both listening and writing skills. You will listen, take notes and write.

The instructions you will see are as follows:

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.

You will have 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.

Basically, you will reduce a 60-90 second spoken text to 50 to 70 words. You will have ten minutes to complete the task. The analogy that we like to give is that you are at a lecture that your friend is unable to attend so you are going to summarize it for them. You will listen, take notes and give them the important information from the lecture.

The speaker will speak for 60-90 seconds. While listening to the lecture you are going to write down the keywords. These keywords will be nouns, verbs and phrases mainly of one, two or three words. The important thing is that you write brief notes of the main ideas. You can write exactly what the speaker says word for word and paraphrase them later.

The great thing about E2Language is that when you become a member we will give you a structure to use in your summarize spoken text response. It is the same framework to use in retell lecture. Retell lecture, of course, is a speaking task, but the response structures are identical. Using the framework will help you to score 90.

Note Taking

Write quickly and VERY neatly as you will need to reread your own handwriting. Messy scrawl is impossible to read. I know, as my writing is often messy scrawl and impossible to read! So, take up a reasonable amount of space on the notepad with your notes and do not cram them into a corner.

While listening, take notes of the main ideas. Begin writing soon after the speaker begins in order to get the ideas down. Don’t wait until it starts to make sense—it may not!

Summarize Spoken Text
In the Summarize Spoken Text task, you need to ensure your writing is neat and organized!


My first advice is to use all ten minutes you are given, as you will not be given any credit for time not used. Use the time to refine your response so that it contributes to your overall score of 90! I recommend the following timing:

  1. Listen and take notes (using your pen and pad) for the 60-90 seconds.
  2. Recall the main ideas for another 30 seconds.
  3. Draft a response. Take four (4) minutes to do this.
  4. Review and rewrite for 3 minutes, checking the following:
    • Does your response include the main ideas from the text?
    • Does your response make sense?
    • Is your word choice correct?
    • Is your spelling correct? (Do not use words you cannot spell)
    • Is the grammar correct? Check: verb tenses; subject verb agreement; singular or plural verbs.

Writing Your Draft

After taking the best notes you can, refine them for 30 seconds by continuing to recall from the spoken text while it is in your memory. You need good notes to draw on. Group your ideas together. Now begin to write up the framework from your notes, paraphrasing the ideas into your own words where you can. Make sure that you include the topic in the first sentence. Each sentence must have a main noun and verb and is structured grammatically correctly.

Writing Your Good Copy

After the draft, and this should take about four minutes, DO NOT SUBMIT. Instead, spend about three minutes reviewing your writing checking for errors and improving your word choice to ensure your response is correct and contains all the main ideas. Check spelling and punctuation. You should be proud of the work you submit, and taking the time to do it thoroughly will ensure that you do not lose valuable marks for careless errors.

Keep an eye on the time. Make sure that you will finish the task and submit it before the ten minutes are up.

So, the keys are:

  • Listen well
  • Take great notes of the topic and main ideas
  • Write down what you can remember hearing after the recording has stopped
  • Complete the draft using the E2Language framework
  • Review the draft making corrections
  • Submit!

Our E2 PTE YouTube Channel has quick tips for the PTE tasks, including Summarize Spoken Text!

I recommend practicing as many summarize spoken text tasks from E2Language as you can and submitting assessment tasks for feedback once you are a member. The feedback will be provided by a qualified teacher whose advice will boost your score.

Feel free to leave a comment and I look forward to seeing you in a live class or a tutorial!

Written by David Williamson

All Comments 37
  • What will happen, if I write less than 40 words in summarise spoken text? The score remark as zero or less score will remark?

  • Preetha Kanthi says:

    With respect to “Summarize Spoken Text” question in PTE Academic- Listening module, if I finish it earlier than 10 minutes, can I use that saved time for any other question later or will the timer get decremented by 10 minutes irrespective of the real time that I take ? Pl clarify

    • Hello Preetha,

      You will lose the entire time of 10 minutes irrespective of how soon you finish it. We recommend making use of the entire 10 minutes to answer 🙂


      • I think it should be ” Speaker talked about “, to be precise.I tried to write the same, which you have suggested in one of the grammar checking software and it was flagged as incorrect usage.Please advise!!!!

        • Hello Neeraj,

          Well, you need to use past continuous in the first sentence (The speaker was talking about) and in the next sentence it needs to be simple past tense (He spoke about, he discussed, etc.)

          Hope this helps.


  • Hello
    I am wondering what if I complete one question before the time limit then submits it and move to next question. Is this save me extra time for remaining part of that section or it does not matter if we complete any question before time?
    My second concern is what If I am still solving question and time gets up, does the system save my partial response or it discards the response because I have not save/submit it myself?

    • Hello Sohaib,

      To answer your questions:

      1. You do not save any time if you complete before the time limit.

      2. The system will submit whatever has been recorded in the response box.


  • Dear AC,

    I took a test last night at Pearson Professional Centers-Melbourne Australia at 8 PM. During the test, in all my three Summarize Spoken Texts items, after 10 minutes and before I submit my summaries, I got a pop-up warning window indicating that the session is expired and I had to click “OK” to continue.
    I clicked OK and continued the next items. This happened a few times during the test and negatively affected my concentration.

    I would like to know if the system submits whatever I wrote in the response box or it discards the response because I have not pressed the Next/submitted it myself?

    Thanks a lot.

    • Hello Soby,

      If your session expires then the computer records whatever you have filled up in the response box even if you have not clicked the Next/ Submit button manually 🙂


  • Tara Rathnayake says:

    Dear Kaia,
    I have started to learn PTE 2 years ago, and I was trying to get 55 each. The first time I didn’t even get 55 each. However, now I am trying to get 65 each in PTE. I have tried all the methods in E2 language, google and youtube, but recently I got all in 65 each except listening. I also sign-up with e2 language. My recent score is R-70, W-70, S-76 and L-63. Many times I achieved more than 80 in speaking. Compared to previous scores, I have improved a lot, but still, I am not able to crack listening. Please give me advice.


  • Hello,

    Can I type to jot notes when the audio is playing, instead of writing? as its much faster for me.

    same question for other part of listening, like write from dictation.

    Thank you

    • Hello Nelson,

      You can type your notes if it works out faster for you. We wouldn’t recommend the same for the Write from Dictation section though.


  • Ramandeep kaur says:

    How to increase marks in summarized spoken text and summarized written text… How to start in summarize spoken text.. Is there any template to write the whole info.. Thanks

  • Hi,

    What if I let the time go off???

    Keep an eye on the time. Make sure that you will finish the task and submit it before the ten minutes are up.


  • KavitaGolen says:

    My tutor told me that don’t use format in summerize spoken in listening PTE it will not get you good marks what can I do?

  • Hi I have PTE exam 2 times and both times i got 73 in reading section. Other sections i got 79 plus marks. Can you please let me know which parts to focus to improve my scrore in reading?

  • Hi, is the rules are same for Summarize written text and Summarize spoken text? like no full stops until you complete the summary?

  • Hi, I had my test this morning, I finished my summary in listening but before I clicking to next the time was up. Just wander do they count this summary or deduct 10 marks?

  • Hi Jay, Does my summary will go invalid/no score if I write more than 70 words. Actually, I forgot the word count and written 80 words.

  • My tutor told me that, its better to start writing directly rather than to mention “The speaker was talking about..”. I don’t know which one to choose. Kindly help me by suggesting, would it be alright if I start writing directly?

  • Girlie Ronquillo says:

    Just recently I received my pte scores, and I got 62 for my writing and 59 for my listening. My reading is 79 and my speaking is 82 which are good enough. Can you give me advice on how I can increase/improve my scores. I need to get 79 each.

    Looking forward to your respond. Thanks.


  • William Peter Christopher Hamilton says:


    Does the Summarize spoken text count towards your writing score? if so what’s the point structure, or how many go towards writing?

    Many Thanks.

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