First, spend 1-2 minutes reading the text starting from the beginning. With each sentence you will get a better idea of what the text is about. When you are reading, you can shortlist the sentences that you think represent the key points in the text. (normally in the beginning and end of a paragraph)
Once you have the key points, your next task is to combine them into a single sentence summary. There are two approaches you can take here.
If you are confident of your language skills you can just write down the gist in your own words.
But most of us do not have English skills at this level. We can then consider the second approach. In this approach, you write the key sentences one after the other. Then you rephrase them – change the language as much as you can by using synonyms etc., make them look like your own sentences. Finally, you can combine them into one single sentence. To do this you will use conjunctions and punctuation as appropriate.
Make sure to leave a couple of minutes in the end to review what you have written. First of all, you should review the content. Does the summary contain the main ideas contained in the text? Have you connected the different parts of the sentence in a logical manner? If the answer is yes, then great! you have captured all the key points.
If not, you need to add more information to what you have written and possibly also take out some information which is not needed.
Check your response to see whether it is within the word limit. It should be maximum of 75 words and not less than 5 words. An optimal length would be around 40~45 words, provided you can capture all key details in it.
Also review for grammar, spelling and punctuation. Since you have to write only one sentence, it is vital that you connect different parts of the sentence properly. Sometimes test takers just put commas between independent sentences and think they have converted it into one single sentence. That is wrong! It is proven that points will be deducted if more than commas are used in your response. Therefore, you have to use the appropriate punctuation and conjunctions.
1. Make sure your response is in the correct form
The idea here is to simplify the text into one grammatically correct sentence. Go through the passage given and understand what is being presented. When you have written your response, check to make sure that it is only one sentence, with a capital letter at the beginning and only one full stop at the end.
The summary sentence word count needs to be 5-75 words. If you write fewer than five words or more than 75 words, then you get zero score. Make sure your grammar and spellings are correct. A general rule is to avoid using any word of which spelling you are unsure.
2. Pick the key points only
The goal of your initial reading of the text should be to identify sentences which contain the key points. In other words, your summary should only capture the key points, rather than examples or minor details.
3. Don’t refer to the passage
Avoid beginning your summary with sentences such as “In the passage…” or “The author…”. Your summary is an independent sentence which should on its own convey the main points to the reader. Plus, you only have 75 words to convey your messages, there is no point to waste word limit by referring back to original transcript.
4. Practice using compound and complex sentences
Your response must be expressed within one sentence, so you will need to use a complex or compound sentence to be able to summarize the main point of the passage and also briefly mention the supporting detail. However, there may be several facts and figures presented, and you do not need to include them all in your summary. You should have one crisp sentence that conveys the general idea that the passage is trying to convey.
5. Don’t copy whole sentence from the paragraph
Please keep in mind that “paraphrasing” is very important. Don’t copy exact whole sentence from the paragraph; always rewrite the information in your own words. Below is a list of the most commonly used connectors.
||as soon as
||in order that
A key skill for the Summarise written text item type is writing complex sentences, connectors are a great way to avoid overusing commas and develop complex sentence.
6. Leave time for review
Use your time wisely and leave time in the end for a thorough review of what you have written. You review should cover:
• Content: Have I covered all main points?
• Grammar: Have I used correct sentence structures? Have I connected the different parts of the sentence properly?
• Vocabulary: Can I improve the vocabulary? Can I replace some words with synonyms?
• Punctuation: Have I used the correct punctuation while forming the single sentence.
Latest PTE Summarize Written Text repeated questions
Below are some samples of real exam questions for PTE Summarize Written Text. For full transcript and model answer, please subscribe to our PTE Exam Question bank.