PTE Writing: Summarize Written Text


Summarize Written text is a challenge for students as they often find this task extremely complex. This mainly happens due to a lack of grammar and vocabulary knowledge. The key thing required here is to use complex sentence structures with appropriate linking phrases besides ensuring that all the key points are covered.

The Hurray Online PTE Training sessions, guarantee an in-depth analysis of summarize written text; techniques, sentence structure, punctuation, grammar and vocabulary. Read further to understand what goes into writing effective summarize written text.

About the test

There will be a passage of about 300 words on the computer screen. Your task is to summarize the passage into a sentence of no more than 75 words.

You will be given 10 minutes to complete the task. 

The passage will be academic in nature.

The objective of the task, is to test you on the following:

  1. Content: does your sentence contain the main points?

  2. Form: is your sentence within the stipulated word limit?

  3. Grammar: does your sentence abide by the rules of grammar, particularly those related to sentence construction?

  4. Vocabulary: have you used the appropriate words and in the correct way?

Common problems

These are some of the stumbling blocks that we see our students face while answering this task.

  1. Students cannot identify/understand the main point.

  2. Students do not stick to the main points, and try to fit too many ideas into the single sentence.

  3. Students do not use punctuations and conjunctions appropriately.

These problems are easy to overcome – if you follow the steps given below!



You can apply the given tips to this example:

Despite ivory trade being banned 20 years ago, thousands of wild elephants continue to fall prey to poachers, each year. A recently published report has revealed that illegal hunting could drive the elephant to extinction across much of Africa in just 15 years, even as the survival of Asian elephants – which are relatively fewer in number – continues to be challenged. 

Trade in ivory was internationally banned in 1989. Initially, the ivory moratorium worked and there was a general decrease in elephant poaching, and ivory market prices plummeted. However, in 1997, ‘regulated’ stockpile ivory sale began, neglecting concerns raised by conservationists that illegal ivory would be laundered into the mainstream market.

As evidenced by numerous ivory seizures from across the world, and now, the report ‘The Ivory Trail’, poaching of elephants for ivory continues unabated. “It is obvious that these stockpile sales can only be detrimental to elephants. Although, the report speaks for African elephants, the threats to Asian elephants should be clear. They are as much in danger, if not more,” added Kumar.

Poaching can have serious implications on Asian elephants, which are already threatened by habitat loss, conflicts and accidental deaths in railway tracks in India. Only males bear tusks in Asian elephants; selective poaching of males causes imbalances in the gender ratio in Asian elephant populations. 

The International Fund for Animal Welfare is calling for urgent action to protect elephants. “20 years on from a ban on international ivory trade, elephants in Africa are still threatened by commercial poaching. The ivory trade must be banned once again, and comprehensively, if we want to prevent the extinction of elephants. The truth is that ivory trade anywhere is a threat to elephants everywhere. On the 20th anniversary of the ban, let’s do all we can to end the ivory trade and safeguard elephants for the future,” says IFAW.

(Source: Wildlife Trust of India)

Preparing for the task

  1. Build vocabulary

The better your vocabulary, the easier it will be for you to understand the passage, as well as construct the sentence appropriately.

Reading good material, including books, magazines and so on, is the best way to build vocabulary. 

  1. Hone your sentence construction skills

Familiarize yourself with the rules of sentence construction, including how to use independent/dependent clauses, punctuation and conjunctions.

The 3 main types of sentences are:

  1. Simple sentence

  2. Complex sentence

  3. Compound sentence

You can also construct a combined Complex-compound sentence. 

In this task, you will be required to construct either a complex, compound, or complex-compound sentence.

  1. Practice!

We recommend practicing with at least 3-4 mock tests – or as many as you can. Practice under exam conditions, including time limit.

Through practice, you will be able to familiarize yourself with the process of summarizing a passage and constructing sentences. You will also gain a better understanding of the types of passage-topics that appear.

Remember to get a teacher or trainer to review your work in order to highlight areas for improvement.

Performing the task

You will be given 10 minutes in which to complete the task. Spend about 3-4 minutes skim-reading the passage, and the remaining time on writing the summary.

While performing the task, keep note of the following tips. 

  1. Identify the main idea

As you skim-read through the passage, gain an understanding of the primary idea being communicated in this passage.

  1. Make note of key words/phrases

Only those words/phrases which are directly related to the main idea.

  1. Structure your sentence

Link the key words/phrases together, as per the rules of sentence construction.



Using these tips, we have solved the example-task for you.

Main idea: why should the sale of ivory be banned

Keywords: sale of ivory stockpiles, illegal ivory, poaching, ban

Solution: Sale of ivory stockpiles allows illegal ivory to enter into the market, encouraging poaching, and thus must be banned for the protection of elephants.

However, remember that there is never only one correct answer. So, once you’ve familiarized yourself with the rules of sentence construction, try to solve the example task yourself – and get your trainer to check its grammatical correctness.

At Hurray, our PTE trainers can help provide you more tips and practice opportunities, while also honing your language skills and working on problem areas. If you need more information our PTE Online Counselling team will assist you.

Reach out to us via email: or phone: 8971357938, for more details.

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