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Acing Re-tell Lecture and Summarize Spoken Text

Acing Re-tell Lecture and Summarize Spoken Text

Acing Re-tell Lecture and Summarize Spoken Text

By Admin / Jun 11, 2019


Every question type of PTE Academic tests one or more than one aspects out of Listening, Writing, Reading and Speaking. That is what makes it harder and trickier. In my experience, Re-tell Lecture and Summarize Spoken Text, out of all the question types, are the hardest and require more attention. Both the question types are high-scoring and contribute a greater part to the total score.

Since both the question types require greater attention, I learnt some useful tricks during my preparation which proved helpful for me. Here they are:


In this question type, we listen to a lecture and then retell the most important parts of it in 40 seconds or less. Both listening and speaking skills are tested in this question type.

Tips for Re-tell Lecture

1. Study the image

An image will be displayed even before the audio is played. Take this time to get a general idea about the topic. The image can also help you to predict what you are going to hear about.

This prediction will not only help you to understand the topic but also help you in remembering the relevant vocabulary.

2. Take notes

You obviously cannot remember everything. So, do take notes.

While listening, take notes for clue words and short phrases (two-three words) on the erasable notepad. Don’t try to write down long sentences lest you miss out on main points to follow.

Also, take care of how you write. Sometimes the tension overpowers everything and it turns out that you are not able to understand your own handwriting. Write clearly!

To increase speed and understanding, you may also use flowcharts, algorithms etc.

Note down the keywords. These may be nouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs or any contextual details.

3. Plan your answer

A planned answer always turns out to be a better one. So, take the time allotted (10 seconds) for preparing your answer.

4. Avoid unnecessary pauses

Don’t stop for more than 3 seconds. The microphone would automatically stop and you won’t be able to record your answer. You can use fillers, such as ummm, eh…, etc to fill the pauses but try to avoid overuse of these sounds.

5. Use connectors

Sentences spoken without connections sound awkward. Use connectors like ‘furthermore’, ‘moreover’, ‘in addition to’ etc. These would form a flow in what you speak and would make your presentation better.

6. Re-tell all the points

Try not to leave any point. Describe characters, aspects and actions, their relationships and of course the conclusion.

Don’t forget to look at the ticking clock. You have only 40 seconds. Be brief and effective.


In this question, you have to listen to a recording and write a summary in 50-70 words. Both listening and writing skills are tested in this. There are generally 2-3 questions based on this question type.

Tips for Summarize Spoken Text

1. Take notes

To be on the safer side, take notes of what is being spoken. The way you take notes is also important. Use shorthand, symbols and pictures to record what is being spoken more effectively.

2. Plan

Don’t just go with the flow. Plan your summary and then start writing. You don’t want to lose points on the structure of your content.

3. Consider the Content

Since you have already noted down the keywords, it won’t be difficult to combine those keywords to create a short summary. Remember: A key point missed is a scoring point missed.

4. Form

Stick to the word limit (50-70 words). If you write less or more words than the lower/upper limit, you stand to lose a scoring point. If you write very short or very long, you stand to lose both the scoring points.

5. Grammar

This is indeed very important. Keep it simple. Use small sentences. Also, check and revise. If you commit even a single grammatical error, you stand to lose a scoring point. If you commit more than two grammatical errors, you stand to lose both grammar points.

6. Vocabulary

Avoid use of inappropriate words. If you commit even a single lexical error, you stand to lose a scoring point. If you commit more than one lexical error, you stand to lose both the scoring points.

Note: Do not use the same words as used in the script. Try to rephrase as far as possible.

7. Spellings

There is no in-built dictionary; you need to turn that off when you practice as well. Use words that you know well. Also, check and revise. If you commit a single spelling error, you stand to lose a scoring point. If you commit more spelling errors, you stand to lose both the scoring points.

All these pointers won’t really matter until you learn to do the essential thing. It is to understand to what you listen. So make sure to listen attentively! Practice as much as you can with PTE Academic Practice Tests and learn essential strategies from the question solutions and analytics. You must also seek help from an experienced mentor like those at BetterThink™ who can help you out knowing your strengths and weaknesses, and will be more than willing to work with you to reach your target score.

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Last updated on : Jun 23, 2024