PTE-Speaking Retell Lecture

The PTE Speaking - Retell Lecture question requires candidates to listen to a short audio recording and then give a short summary of the given lecture in spoken form. This question assesses your ability to give a presentation on information from a lecture on an academic subject and it affects both your speaking and listening scores.


Retell Lecture Format


After listening to or watching a lecture of up to 90 seconds in length candidates will have to retell that lecture in their own words for 40 seconds. There might also be an image present about the topic you will hear. The topics of these lectures are usually about academic subjects such as humanities, natural sciences or social sciences.

Once the lecture is over, there will be a ten second gap before the microphone switches on. You will then have 40 seconds to summarize the lecture.

How Will This Question Be Displayed?


Instructions for this question will be the top of the screen, which may be followed an image.

There will also be two status boxes. The first status box is an audio box and the second is a recording status box. 

The audio box status counts down from 3 seconds and thereafter a recording is played. Once this happens the audio box status changes to ‘playing’ and an audio progress bar will show you how much of the recording is left. When the recording finishes, the status will change to "Completed."

The recording only plays once and there is no option to replay the lecture.

In the recording status box, the status will also count down at the same time as the audio status box while the recording is playing. Once the recording has finished you will have one second before the recording status box changes to ‘recording’ For this question type there is no beep before the microphone switches on. You will have 15 seconds to record your response

You have to start speaking before 3 seconds or else the microphone will automatically switch off. Make sure that you only start recording once the recording box status has changed.

Here is an example of how this question will appear on test day:


How Is This Question Scored?


  • Content – your lecture should describe all main points of the lecture, and also include any other important developments or conclusions of the lecture. You should not just list a number of unrelated points.
  • Oral fluency: Your response should demonstrate a smooth, effortless and natural rate of speech.
  • Hesitations, repetitions and false starts will negatively affect your score.
  • Pronunciation: – produce speech that is easily understood with correct intonation and stress.
  • Responses should also be immediately understandable to a regular speaker of the language.


Strategies For This Question


Scan the image, if one is included, quickly. The image will provide the general context for the lecture. The recording will play automatically after three seconds

Make sure that you focus when listening to the lecture. An erasable notebook and pen will be provided to you to make notes as you listen. Since time is scarce avoid making lengthy notes, as you might miss important information. Simply focus on keywords and phrases. Your notes should only serve to reinforce what you are listening to, so make sure that you focus on listening and not on note taking You will have 10 seconds to do this.

 Speak when you hear the tone.  

Make sure that that you speak clearly and confidently into the microphone.

Speak at a normal speed. The best way to avoid this is to speak slowly and clearly into the microphone. Make sure to enunciate in the correct places and do not mumble or combine (blend)words into each other. Of course, the speed at which you speak might naturally increase due to test day jitters. Again the best way to avoid this is to practice, practice, practice!

Retell the lecture using your notes as a guide. You will have 40 seconds to give your response.

- Include all of the key points presented in the lecture. - Try not to repeat information.

If you happen to make a mistake, you are allowed to correct yourself, provided you do so quickly. If you take too long, the microphone might not capture your corrected response.


Tips For This Question


  • Notice the keywords, they can help you understand the context of the topic.
  • Instead of complete full names, you can use titles, like – Dr. Says or the professor mentions etc.
  • Try to capture the best 3-5 sentences. They should be enough to retell the lecture.
  • Use the 3 seconds before the recording plays to quickly scan any images present. The image will give you a general idea about the content of the lecture.
  • Use the erasable note board to make quick notes. Just focus on keywords and do not make your notes too lengthy, as this will waste valuable time.
  • Written Discourse –produces pieces of writing that are well structured and cohesive