The PTE Writing section has only two question types. One of them is the Summarize Text. In this question type you will read a text and then have to write a one sentence summary of it.
Having to write only one single sentence complicates this question type a bit. It puts spotlight on our grammar skills more than anything else.
This is also a test of your reading comprehension. Can you read a text and get the main ideas out of it? Can you separate a text into what is important and what is secondary information?
If you can do all of these things, you have a good chance of getting a high score in PTE Summarize Text.
Let’s first look at the basics:
|Number of questions||2~3|
|Scoring||Contributes to both Writing and Reading scores.|
|Time to answer||10 minutes for each summarize text. Unused time does not carry forward to other questions or sections.|
You will have 10 minutes to read the passage and write your response. It is vital how you utilize this time wisely.
First, spend a couple of 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.
When you read you should ignore the examples, supplementary information and any unnecessary details. For example, if the first sentence introduces a key point such as global warming and the second and third sentences are examples of the impact of global warming, then you don’t need to include the second and third sentence.
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 paraphrase them – change the language as much as you can, use 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 punctuations as appropriate.
Make sure to leave a couple of minutes in the end to review what you have written. You should first of course review for the content. Does the summary contain the main ideas contained in the text? If someone who has not read the main text reads your summary will he be able to correctly tell what the text is about?
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 that your response is within the word limit. It should be maximum of 75 words and not less than 5 words. An optimal length would be around 35~40 words, provided you can capture all key details in it.
Also review for grammar, spelling and punctuations. Since, you have to write only one sentence it is vital 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! You have to use the appropriate punctuation and conjunctions.
Here are some useful tips and tricks to help you get a high score in PTE Summarize Text.
Pick the key points only
The goal of your initial reading of the text should be to identify sentences which contain the key points. Ignore everything else. Your summary should only capture the key points.
Don’t use complicated language
Use simple sentence structures to avoid unnecessary grammatical errors. Using complicated sentences does not mean you will get a high score.
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. The reader does not know that there is a long text to go with this summary, so don’t give its reference.
Stick to the word limit
Don’t write more than 75 words. It is almost impossible to write less than 5 words which is the official lower limit for summaries. An optimal word limit is around 35~40 words as long as you can fit the key information in it. You can write more than that provided you don’t make grammatical mistakes.
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.
Learn from newspapers
In a newspaper article, often the main points are summarized in a blurb or a box. Look at the articles and see how they write the summaries, how they figure out the main points. You don’t need to make special time for this, this can be part of your daily core skills reading writing practice. Any newspaper will do, even Google News. Pick any article that is current and interests you.