I remember the first time I encountered the “PTE summarize written text” task in the PTE writing section.

I stared at it for a good minute or two, severely cutting down on the precious 10 minutes I had to complete it. I was so confused- how the heck was I supposed to summarize all those ideas into a single sentence? And how the heck was I going to make this single sentence grammatically correct and well-organized? At first I felt defeated, and angry that I had been given such a seemingly impossible task. But then I realized that I wasn’t there to write the next literary masterpiece of our time, but rather to provide a brief summary of information I already had in front of me.

PTE Summarize Written Text
My face when I first saw the “Summarize Written Text” task!

Understanding how to write in a concise and organized way is crucial to succeeding on the PTE summarize written text task. With this in mind, I want to share with you some of the techniques I used to help me achieve my PTE 90 in writing (both times I took the PTE!).

PTE Summarize Written Text Tip: KISS (keep it simple, stupid!)

No, I’m not calling you stupid! I’m merely pointing out that the most common way that people lose points on the “PTE Summarize Written Text” task is by overcomplicating their sentences. People think that long, complicated sentences are what the PTE examiners are looking for. However, they don’t consider the fact that the more complex a sentence is- the more room there is for error. Once I saw an answer that had five commas, two semi-colons and two colons! That is ridiculous. Try not to use more than three commas MAXIMUM, and don’t you dare use a semi-colon unless you know exactly how to use it!!

 Here’s an example of a poor “Summarize Written Text” response:

Aversion therapy is the current way of treating people’s fears, but scientists have found a new way for patients to overcome their fear, it’s called “decoded neurofeedback”, and it’s through the use of brain scanning technology and artificial intelligence; the technology erases painful memories so that people don’t have to relive them the way they have to in fear aversion therapy.

And here’s a much, much better construction of the same ideas:

Scientists have found a promising alternative to fear aversion therapy that involves using brain scanning technology and artificial intelligence to create “decoded neurofeedback”, a method that essentially erases the fearful memories from one’s mind without needing to evoke them, making it less traumatizing for people who don’t wish to relive their fears through aversion therapy.

Notice how the second example contains only 2 commas, but is still a comprehensive summary of the facts.

PTE Summarize Written Text Tip: Summarize the most important points, not EVERY point.

This one is crucial to remember. So many E2Language students stress about “Summarize Written Text” because they’re worried that they won’t be able to address every point in the paragraph in a single sentence. Well, that’s true. But stop worrying! The PTE examiners aren’t looking for a word-for-word summary, they just want to know that you’ve pinpointed the most important ideas in the text to summarize. Once you get into the habit of identifying key points, it becomes easy to ignore extraneous information. It just takes practice.

PTE Summarize Written Text
When you are practicing for this task, write down the “gist” of a text, then make notes of the extra information that is NOT important. This will help you isolate the key ideas!

Let’s look at an example. Here is a text similar to one you might see on the PTE:

Recording artists are frequently the face of commercial products, and children and adolescents are frequently their target audience. Now, a new study by researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center finds that the vast majority of the food and beverage products marketed by some of the most popular music stars are unhealthy. And this type of advertising is contributing to the alarming rise in childhood and teen obesity in America, the authors warn.

Soda and other sugary drinks, fast food and sweets are among the most common food and beverage products endorsed by famous music personalities, according to the descriptive study, which publishes June 6 in Pediatrics. Equally alarming, none of the music stars identified in the study endorsed fruits, vegetables, or whole grains. Only one endorsed a natural food deemed healthy–pistachios.

Now, let’s think about the important information in this text. The “gist” of this article is that recording artists are frequently the face of unhealthy commercial products, and this is contributing to childhood obesity. Great! But there’s also some extraneous information here that we don’t need to cover in our summary.

For example:

  • It’s not necessary to name the medical center that conducted the study- instead we can just say, “a new study indicates that…”
  • We don’t have to mention the date the study will be published, as it’s the content of the study that interests us!
  • We also don’t need to mention that recording artist are the face of many commercial products, as what is important here is the unhealthy food products they are promoting.
  • It’s not essential to talk about the one celebrity who endorsed pistachios, although you could if you wanted to. It’s interesting information, but not really a part of the overall theme of the article.

Here’s what our response could look like:

Famous recording artists often promote unhealthy food and beverage products rather than fruits and vegetables, and a new study suggests that this promotion of fast foods, sugary drinks and sweets is adding to the childhood and teen obesity problem in America.

Bonus PTE Summarize Written Text Tips:

Less is more.

Don’t think you have to write 70 words to get full marks! As we discussed before, a longer sentence leaves you more vulnerable to grammar and sentence structure mistakes. For me, between 35 and 50 words was the magic length. I found that I could summarize the main ideas within this limit without my sentence getting too convoluted.

Use connectors!

Connectors are a great way to avoid overusing commas. To avoid using “and” too much, try to think about the FANBOY connectors. These are:

For

And

Nor

But

Or

Yet

So

Remember, when in doubt, “Fanboy it out!” Okay, I’ll admit it- I’m cheesy!

I hope this helps you on your journey to becoming a “Summarize Written Text” expert! Remember, E2Language.com has a method for this task, and it works. Also, when you sign up to one of our courses, we assess your writing and identify your areas in need of improvement. So if you’re struggling with this task, you should check us out!

Watch our “PTE Summarize Written Text” method on YouTube here:

What do you struggle with the most when it comes to “Summarize Written Text”? Let me know in the comments!

 

Written by Kaia Myers-Stewart.

46 thoughts on “PTE Summarize Written Text Tips

  1. Hi .i am applying for 457 visa . What test I have to do? PTE academic or general? And how many points I need? And what level . Thanks

    1. Hello there!

      You’ll need to take the PTE academic for any Australian visa. Ideally, a score of 79 will get you full points towards your visa application, and you need a minimum of 65 to get partial points towards your application. So, aim for 79- but understand as well that 65 might be enough if you satisfy all the conditions for immigration as well.

      🙂

    1. Hi Prash,

      You can head to our website (www.e2language.com) and sign up for one of our courses! If you’re not sure which one suits you best, you can set up a free information session with one of our experts by clicking here. Talk to you soon! 🙂

  2. Hi,

    I need score of 79 in each module to qualify for my PR Visa. I need guidance on which module to go for and approx timeline required for the preparation. I can share my earlier score card, if required. Please align someone to help me.

    Regards,

    1. Hi Gunja,

      My best recommendation is to set up a free information session with one of our experts. They can have a chat with you about your previous scores, check out your score card, and make a recommendation based on your needs. They will also help you figure out a timeline- but I’ll tell you now that unless you are at about a 75 right now- you’ll need about 4-6 weeks to prepare fully and reach your goal score.

      You can set up an infosession by clicking here.

      Hope this helps! 🙂

  3. Dear Kaia, I have a doubt regarding the read aloud, repeat sentence and short answer questions of speaking section. Is it advisable to click next immediately after answering these questions or wait for the recording to show ‘completed’ before moving on to the next question? In the past, I waited for recording to show ‘completed’ in all speaking questions and was unable to finish the section on time.

    1. Hi Neha,

      Thanks for the question! This seems to be a big topic of confusion for a lot of students (it was for me too, when I took the test!) and I made a video addressing that and some other speaking questions here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjqGINI_Prk

      In general, it’s best to hit the next button as soon as you are finished speaking. This saves you time, and also ensures that no ambient noise can interfere during the time when you are not speaking and waiting for the recording to complete. In Describe Image and Re-tell Lecture, you should pretty much be speaking until the time runs out- but for all others- hit that “next” button the second you finish! 🙂

      Hope this helped. Good luck!!

  4. Hii Kaia Myers-Stewart,

    Three times i’ll written PTE exams, but never to increase my marks. Give valubale tips to increase PTE marks.

    I have gathered some important information from this blog.

    1. Hi there! Sorry to here about the 53 🙁 . When are you planning on taking PTE again? If you haven’t booked it yet- I would recommend giving yourself AT LEAST 4-6 weeks to prepare again, and I would go for our second package (199USD). This package will include a study plan consultation to help get you on track, as well as 2 tutorials with a PTE expert where you can focus on your weaker areas and get some guidance and support. This package also includes 4 writing and 4 speaking assessments, which are incredibly helpful for improving your scores by pinpointing where you are going wrong and providing useful feedback. You’ll also have full course access until you pass the PTE and access to our pronunciation app (e2pronounce). If you feel like you need more than 2 tutorials, you can always add some on to your package too!

      You can definitely reach 66 on your next attempt, it sounds like you just need a bit of support! GOOD LUCK! Let me know if you have any more questions 🙂

      1. Hello Kaia, thanks a lot for your kind attention . Let me share some important information . I saw e2 PTE videos on YouTube. It’s more than worthful . As you and Jay said in videos , e2 provides a perfect METHOD . Before my 1 st attempt , I did a lot of exercises , but only this , has never worked . So , I am wondering for METHOD. Yes, I have not booked the test yet . Let me clear one thing ,Kaia , I m mechanical engineer . I work in a shifts . Can e2 coperate according with my shifts ? Please reply …Thanks..

        1. Hello again!

          I’m so glad you are finding our YouTube videos helpful! The methods definitely make tackling the tasks a lot more achievable.

          Your schedule is no problem! You book your study plan and tutorials at whatever time suits your schedule, and in the study plan consultation your tutor will help you work out a plan that fits with your schedule too! There are no deadlines or set times- you and your tutor will set up a timeline that works for you! 🙂

          Hope this helps!

          1. Hi there,

            I’m not 100% sure, but I’ll consult with the tech team and get back to you about that! 🙂

          2. Hi Gagendep, paid members have access to E2Pronounce for 3 months total.So if you finish our course before 3 months, you will have until the end of the 3 months to continue using E2Pronounce. Hope this helps!

      2. Hello kaia, I would like to know about the “Benefit from test tips and strategies
        20 video lessons “as you mentioned on site. Are these videos except from that videos which you uploaded on YouTube.

        Thanks

        1. Hi Gagandeep,

          The video lessons in our course are different from those on our YouTube channel. Although we include the “secrets for success” tips videos in both our course and YouTube, there are video lessons and webinars in our course that are not available on YouTube. Hope this helps! 🙂

          1. Hello kaia,
            Thank you very much. Today I want to get enrollment in 199 USD course. So, please tell me, how can I do ?

          2. Hi Deepgagen,

            Was there an error message that popped up when you tried to fill in a username? Can you please send a screenshot of the problem you had to hello@e2language.com? Our tech team can fix the problem and help get you signed up! I’m sorry to hear that you had difficulties! Let me know how it goes.

            Kaia

          3. Hi again!

            You should have received an email with a link to click so you can set up a study plan with your tutor! I’ve emailed you the link again just in case. If you do not receive an email, simply type into your “whiteboard” in your account and ask for the link to schedule a study plan. A teacher will send it to you so you can get started! Once you have your study plan sorted out, you can book your tutorials!

            Welcome!! 🙂

  5. Hi Kaia,
    “Nefertiti (ca. 1370 – ca. 1330 BC) was an Egyptian queen and the Great Royal Wife (chief consort) of Akhenaten, an Egyptian Pharaoh. ”
    I took this paragraph from a text. what does that an Egyptian Pharaoh means ? Nefertiti was an Egyptian Pharaoh ?

    1. Hi Tara,

      Nefertiti was NOT an Egyptian Pharaoh, rather she was the wife of an Egyptian Pharaoh. The wording is confusing here, which is why it’s good to pay attention to the punctuation and word order. Akhenaten was the Egyptian Pharaoh, and Nefertiti was his wife. The comma after “Akhenaten” was to illustrate a description of the subject (Akhenaten) as an Egyptian Pharaoh. Egyptian Pharaohs were like the Kings of Egypt (spiritual leaders), and were primarily men.

      That one was tough, in fact it tripped up a lot of people because of the tricky wording! I hope this explanation helped you out? 🙂

  6. Hi Kaia,

    In the speaking and writing section does the timer for first part (5 sections) is separate or is it clubbed with the writing section.

    1. Hi Hema,

      The clocks for the writing section are separate from the speaking section. So you’ll have a clock counting down 10 minutes for “Summarize Written Text” and another counting down 20 minutes for “Write Essay”.

      Hope that helps!

  7. Hi,

    I was actually trying to map the questions with the total overall mark 90 for each section.
    My friend told that he got some 17 questions in listening.
    And he didnot get one pattern in the listening which is typing the listened text.
    I tried to put all questions full mark and check if it reaches 90.But I am not able tally.

    So could please explain why it is not tallied?

    Also in writing section,he got 3 summarize and one essay.
    So what would be the mark for each item in the above case?

    1. Hi Raji,

      I’m not 100% sure of the various patterns used by Pearson for each task, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they change regularly! You can try to work out the different combinations using the score guide they use: http://pearsonpte.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/PTEA_Score_Guide.pdf

      It should be noted that just adding up the full marks for each task will not = 90, because 90 is the level, not the number of marks you receive.

      Good luck!

  8. A study claims that the most food products marketed by famous music stars are unhealthy and contribute to major cause of obesity in children in America, where products like Soda and Sugary drinks are most advertised than healthy foods like fruits and whole grains.

  9. Hi,

    In “summarize written text” is it expected to write the sentence in own words or can it be copy paste as well ?

    Jammi

  10. Dear Kaia,

    I took a test recently and during the test, in Summarize Texts (Spoken/written) items, after 10 minutes and before I submit my summaries, I got a time run out pop-up warning 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!

  11. Hi Kaia,
    I need 79 score in all modules for applying 189 Australian skilled visa.I haven’t appeared the PTE test before,but i have written ielts twice which gave me over all score 7 both the times:( which is not valid as i need 8 in all modules.i wish to start go for PTE and start with you as i can see so many good reviews.Please let me how can i start.Is it right to go for PTE or should i improve in IELTS itself?Is it possible to crack PTE in the first attempt?How long will it take?Am from India so what will be the timing if i go for a tutor session.It would be really helpful if you can explain.

    Regards
    Nimisha

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