Understanding PTE Part 1 Item type 7 – Summarise a written text

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What you have to do for this question type:

This is perhaps one of the most difficult question types in the PTE test. Even native speakers struggle with this one! To complete this question type, you need to read a text then write a one-sentence summary of the passage. The difficulty is reducing the main idea of the text down to a single sentence, but with practice (and good use of punctuation!), it does get easier.

Task length and timing:

The text you need to summarise can be up to 300 words long, and you have 10 minutes to read it and write your sentence. You need to make sure to include the main points of the reading passage in a full, single sentence of no more than 75 words. The Word Count at the bottom of the screen counts the number of words you write.  You will have either 2 or 3 of these question types.

More information:

Your response must be between 5 and 75 words so check the word count using the ‘Total Word Count’ counter below the response box. If you write fewer than five words or more than 75 words, your response will be scored as zero!

There are cut, copy and paste buttons which you may use while constructing your summary, but be VERY careful here – it can be tempting to cut long phrases from the text to use in your summary, and that will lead to a low score.

The scoring for this question type:

For this question type, you are assessed on content, form, grammar and vocabulary.  For content, you are awarded a score from 0 (if you miss the main point of the text) up to 2 (a good summary with all relevant aspects included). For form, you are given one point if your answer is a single sentence and contains between 5 and 75 words, but 0 points if it is more than one sentence or is too long or short. For grammar, you are awarded 2 points for correct structure, 1 point if some of the grammar is incorrect but it is still understandable and 0 points is your grammar makes the sentence unclear. Finally comes vocabulary – 2 points are given for an ‘appropriate’ choice of words, 1 point if the words are not always the best but the meaning is clear and 0 points if the word choice means the sentence is hard to understand.


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