Try This Easy Guide: Summarize Written Text

The PTE summarize written text test is an important component of the Speaking and Writing section.

Many people have difficulty with this section because it tests both your reading comprehension and writing skills. If you want to learn how to summarize written text properly, continue reading.

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What is the PTE Summarize Written Text Test?

The PTE summarize written text test is a comprehensive test that includes the task of reading, interpreting, and summarizing short text. It mainly caters to post-high school students looking for admission to a university program in the US. This test involves summarizing a 300-word long paragraph into one sentence.

Examinees must accomplish this task within 10 minutes, and the sentence must include between 5 and 75 words. The summary sentence must also cover all key points of the source material.

Scoring Method

The PTE academic summarize written test has different scoring points that represent an examinee’s writing skills.

Depending on the quality of the topic sentence, an examiner attributes corresponding values to an examiner’s overall score. The scoring system evaluates these key criteria:


Content refers to the substance of your summary and whether you were able to include all relevant points. The following section explains the type of content quality and its corresponding points.

  • When your summary covers all important points of the original text, it receives a score of 2 points.
  • If your summary covers most of the important points of an original text, it receives a score of 1 point.
  • If your summary covers only a few important points, it receives no points.


Form refers to the structure of your answer. As mentioned earlier, your summary must have only one sentence and 5 to 75 words. The scoring system for form is as follows:

  • When your answer is a single complete sentence, it receives 1 point.
  • If your answer comprises multiple sentences and does not meet the appropriate word count, it receives no points.


Grammar delves into your answer’s grammatical structure and whether it contains grammatical errors. The scoring is as follows:

  • When your summary has proper grammatical structure, it receives 2 points.
  • If your summary has a reasonable grammatical structure with a few errors, it receives 1 point.
  • If your summary has a poor grammatical structure that impedes comprehension, it receives no points.


Vocabulary evaluates whether the words in your answer are appropriate and accurate. This means that your words must represent the idea clearly. The scoring system is as follows:

  • If you use the words appropriately, your answer receives 2 points.
  • If words are inappropriate, but the message is still understandable, your answer receives 1 point.
  • When your words are inappropriate, and your answer fails to capture the essence of the original text, it receives no points.

Tips on How to Summarize Written Text

If you’re worried that you might not pass the summarize written text test, here are a few ways to help you improve your chances.


The first thing to keep in mind is that you need to practice your summarizing skills. Try to summarize different passages as though you were taking the test. By taking the time to practice, you also overcome test anxiety. 

Try to speak your words as you write. Listening to your words will help you identify any mistakes and points of improvement.

Start with Bullet Points for Each Key Idea

When you summarize written text, it’s important that you list all key information. Bullet point lists help you grasp the entire essence of the text. It also serves as a checklist for critical points in the original text. This ensures you don’t miss important information.

Summarize Bullet Points in a Single Sentence

The benefit of using bullet points is that they give you a complete overview of the source material. Many times, you can get away with stringing bullet points into a single sentence and editing it for grammar and readability. It’s easier said than done if you don’t try the next tip.

Use Transition Words

Transition words such as additionally, but, and instead are great ways to flow from one idea to another in the same sentence. They also mark a shift in thought, which improves the readability of your summary.

Write in the Third-Person Perspective

The third-person perspective is ideal for summaries because it gives your summary a formal tone and minimizes the risk of adding your personal ideas. A neutral tone is best because most summaries are narratives.

Stick to Familiar Words

Finally, make sure that you use only words that you’re familiar with. Your summary doesn’t need to be flashy, but it does need to be accurate. Some synonyms can have subtle contextual differences that change the meaning of your sentence. If you aren’t familiar with a work, avoid it. 

In Summary

Now that you know how to summarize written text make sure that you take the time to practice. Remember the scoring matrix and each corresponding score. This will help you frame your words in a manner that satisfies the conditions of the scoring system.

We can’t emphasize enough the importance of practicing before a test. We wish you well on your PTE test!

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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