PTE Writing has two question types – write essay and Summarize Written Text. This article focuses on how you can get a high PTE score on the PTE Summarize Written Text question you will see on your PTE exam. If you want to know more about PTE Write Essay, click here.
In addition to the PTE Summarize Written Text samples you will see below, this article contains links to other resources to master this question type and other PTE practice questions and activities. So, be sure to:
- Read this article, try the PTE SWT sample question and answer it yourself.
- Watch the PTE Writing video lesson below.
- Sign up to E2 Test Prep for our free trial and practice doing the SWT practice activities.
- Download the PTE writing word list to help expand your vocabulary.
PTE Summarize Written Text Basics
On PTE test day, you are sure to find at least one Summarize Written Text question in your PTE exam. This question type always follows the same format. You will see an instruction telling you to read the passage and summarize it in a SINGLE SENTENCE and that you have 10 minutes to complete the task. It will also tell you what your response will be judged on – the quality of your writing and how well your response presents the key points of the passage.
A key to getting a high score in PTE Writing for Summarize Written Text is writing a concise and organised answer. In this article, we will give you some tips & strategies to help you write a better answer, as well as Summarize Written Text sample answers to give you an idea what a good answer looks like.
Tip 1: KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid!)
The most common way people lose points on the PTE Summarize Written Text task is by overcomplicating their summary sentences. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that long, complicated sentences are better. In fact, the more complex a sentence is, the more room there is for error. One of our E2 teachers once graded a Summarize Written Text answer that had five commas, two semicolons, and two colons! Complicated answers like that are unlikely to get a high PTE score. Try not to use more than three commas MAXIMUM, and don’t use a semicolon unless you know exactly how to use it properly!
PTE Sample Answers
An example of a long and complicated Summarize Written Text response is: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.
A much better Summarize Written Text sample answer based on the same idea is:An alternative to fear aversion therapy uses brain scanning technology and artificial intelligence to create ‘decoded neurofeedback’, a method that erases the fearful memories without evoking them, making it less traumatizing for people than aversion therapy.
Notice how the second example contains only two commas but is still a comprehensive summary of the facts.
Tip 2: Summarize the Most Important Points (not EVERY Point)
Many E2 Test Prep students get quite anxious about Summarize Written Text and worry that they won’t be able to address every point in the paragraph in a single sentence. However, there is no need to worry. You don’t need a word-for-word recount – that is not a summary. PTE grades you on how well you pinpointed the most important ideas in the text. Once you get into the habit of identifying key points, it becomes easy to ignore extraneous information. It just takes practice.
When you are practicing this task:
- first, write down the gist of the passage,
- then make notes of the extra information that is NOT important.
This will help you isolate and focus on the key ideas. To demonstrate this, let’s look at an example. The sample question below shows the sort of passage you should expect to see in your PTE exam:
PTE Sample Question
First, let’s identify the gist of this PTE reading passage – that means the most important idea of the passage. The gist of the passage is that:Recording artists are frequently the face of unhealthy commercial products, and this is contributing to childhood obesity.
Second, let’s identify any 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 only the content of the study that is important.
- We also don’t need to mention that recording artists are the face of many commercial products, as what is important here is the unhealthy food and drink 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.
PTE Sample Answer
Here is a well-written sample answer for our sample question. Notice how the sentence is not overly complicated, and all key information is included, while unnecessary details are left out: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 3 and 4
Here are two more short tips you will find helpful for your PTE test.
Tip 3: Less is More
Don’t think you have to write 70 words to get full marks. As mentioned, a longer sentence leaves you more vulnerable to grammar and sentence structure mistakes. Between 35 and 50 words is the magic length.
Tip 4: Use Connectors
Connectors are a great way to avoid overusing commas. To avoid using ‘and’ too much, try to use these connectors where relevant:
We hope this helps you on your journey to becoming a Summarize Written Text expert! Remember, E2 Test Prep has a method for this task. To learn the method, sign up to E2 Test Prep for free and do the practice questions. Also, when you sign up to one of our courses, our expert teachers can assess your writing and identify your areas in need of improvement. So sign up today!
What do you struggle with the most when it comes to Summarize Written Text? Let us know in the comments!
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