The writing section of the PTE test is undoubtedly seen as the most difficult by the majority of students. Often students pass the other sections, but don’t quite make the grade when it comes to the writing. This is not just about writing ability but about knowing what is expected from you in your responses and learning effective strategies to approach the tasks. With that in mind, we have put together various guides looking at the different tasks in the writing section and giving you some fantastic methods for approaching them. This article will tell you everything you need to know about the summarize written text.
First, a quick reminder on the different areas of the writing test and the time is given to complete them.
1. 1 essay & 2 summaries – 40 minutes
2. 1 essay & 3 summaries – 50 minutes
3. 2 essays & 2 summaries – 60 minutes
PTE Summarize Written Text: The Basics
You are given a paragraph on a topic. After reading the paragraph, you must write a summary of the text using 5-75 words as one sentence. You will have 10 minutes for each task. The following instruction is given:
Read the passage below and summarize it using one sentence. Type your response in the box at the bottom of the screen. You have 10 minutes to finish this task. Your response will be judged on the quality of your writing and on how well your response presents the key points in the passage.
The 6 Summarizing Steps
This part of the written section may seem like the easiest and students often rush it. However, it is just as important as the essays and as there are summaries to complete, it is essential that you get them right. If you can develop this skill, it is also a relatively easy way to pick up marks. Here are some strategies to help you become a successful summarizer!
1. 1 sentence means 1 sentence
This sounds so simple that you may think it doesn’t need spelling out. However, this mistake is often made so it is worth mentioning. If there is more than one full stop, you have used more than one sentence! This will lead to you getting NO marks for the task as you have not followed the instructions, so please don’t make this mistake. There are many ways to increase the length of a sentence which we will cover further in the other tips.
2. Key points are key
As well as your written skills, your comprehension skills are also being tested here. It is simply impossible to write everything in the paragraph in a one-sentence summary. This is the point of a summary.
First, you need to make sure that you have an understanding of the paragraph as a whole.
Next, identify the most important information. A good way of thinking about this is to find the parts of the text which would not be necessary to get the point across and those that are essential.
Finally, you need to use your OWN words to put those key points into a sentence. This is where your vocabulary knowledge comes in as you will need to think of synonyms and clever ways of rephrasing.
3. Conjunctions come in handy
Once you get used to using a variety of conjunctions in your writing, they will come easily to you. It is a good idea to have a list of conjunctions that you frequently revise and use in your writing so that you have a mental word bank to rely on. This helps you to get past the difficulty of not being able to write in simple sentences, using elements of a compound sentence instead.
There are many conjunctions and you won’t be able to remember them all, so to begin with, choose some that you are comfortable using and commit them to memory. Here is a list of some conjunctions that you could use in your summaries but feel free to compile your own list.
4. Complex sentences don’t need to be complicated
Students sometimes get a bit mixed up when writing complex sentences by trying to include too many clauses and attempting more complicated sentences than they are comfortable with at their language level. Make sure that you only use a structure that you know makes sense when you read it back to yourself. Practice writing complex sentences, using a variety of opening and closing phrases until you feel that you have the hang of it.
5. Punctuation can be your friend
It makes sense that as you can only use one full stop in your sentence, you will need to include some other punctuation to break it up. This will mainly be in the form of commas to break up clauses but if you can include a correctly used colon, semi-colon, hyphen or brackets then great. However, it is very important only to use punctuation when you are confident that you are using it correctly. Basically, stick to what you know, and if that is just commas, that is better than getting the punctuation use wrong.
6. Practice makes perfect
If you try out all of the above tips for the first time in your exam, it is unlikely that you will succeed! Test them out using practice tests and samples.
We hope our 6 steps will help you along your way to becoming a successful summarizer! See which parts are more relevant to you and then make your own revised check-list as you work through practice materials so that you are fully prepared when it comes to the real thing.