PTE Writing – The Number One Method To Answer Summarize Written Text (SWT) Questions

In this article you will learn all the basics about the summarise written text PTE writing question as well as use tips and strategies on how to solve this question. I’ve also included some helpful sample questions and answers at the end for you to try out on your own.

Summarize Written Text - Format

For this question you will be asked to write a summary based on paragraphs about a particular topic. The text can be up to 300 words long and you will only be given 10 minutes to complete this task. The summary should only be one sentence long. The length of this sentence should be between 5 to 75 words and it should begin with a capital letter and end with a full stop. Sentences that are under or over the recommended word count will not be graded.

Common topics for this question type include science, technology, art, history and politics.

You will be assessed on the quality of your writing as well as how many keywords and main ideas you cover. You will not be assessed on your knowledge of the subject matter.

You can get up to 3 summarise written text question based on the combination of tasks you are asked to perform in this section.

Important Points To Note:

Your summary should only include the main points of text. This means you should be familiar with general paragraph structure and methods on how to locate the main ideas of a paragraph.

Your sentence should not include any supporting points of examples.

How Is This Question Scored?

This task is scored using partial scoring

What Is Partial Scoring?

Some questions do not have a simple correct or incorrect answer and these questions require subjective responses. Their level of correctness depends on a variety of factors, such a quality, task response, use of grammar or vocabulary.  These answers require a different method of scoring called Partial Scoring.

Questions that require a varied response, like essay or summary writing are score using partial scoring. In such cases, every candidate would have a different response, but their answers still have to meet some common and fixed criteria. These question types are called partial credit questions, and the correctness of their answers are weighed against certain formal aspects like using the correct answer format as well as the quality of the candidates response. These formal aspects also depend on the type of question, for example a speaking question type would depend on pronunciation and word stress, while writing questions formal aspects would include something like the correct use of punctuation.

What Skills Do You Need To Score Well?

The writing test is designed to test your ability to produce pieces of writing that are well organised, on topic and accurate in terms of grammar and spelling. To score well you also need to be able to comfortable use uncommon vocabulary and phrases that are related to the topic you are writing about.

For summarise written text questions the following criteria are taken into consideration:

  • Content
  • Vocabulary
  • Development, structure and coherence
  • Form
  • General linguistic range
  • Connectors
  • Written Discourse

Let’s take a more detailed look at these criteria and what you need to do in order to score well in these areas.  

1. Content

Your summary should address all points mentioned within the text. All aspects of your summary have to be topic related. Your summary should be to the point and should not include unnecessary details like supporting points and examples. If you fail to meet this requirement you will receive a score of 0 for your entire essay.

2. Development, Structure And Coherence

Development, structure and coherence refers to your ability to organize and present your ideas so that your essay is easy to read and understand.

In order to do this test takers must write an essay with clear ideas that are logically laid out and easy to understand.

Coherence refers to how well a reader can understand what you write. There are several things can affect this, such as, grammar mistakes, the use of inappropriate words and phrases or the illogical ordering of sentences and ideas.

Development and structure refer to your ability to link ideas, sentences and paragraphs logically using a fixed structure and cohesive devices like linking words or discourse markers to produce a well-developed response.

To do this while writing a one sentence summary, you must use complex sentences with relative clauses and conjunctions.

A simple way to remember how to separate clauses is to use the anagram FANBOYS (For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet So) wherever necessary.

3. Form

This refers to the candidates ability to write a formal summary within the specified word count, between of between 5 to 75 words. Summaries that above or below these targets will receive a score of zero.

4. General Linguistic Range

General linguistic range is a measurement of how well the language used in your summary conveys or communicates your ideas. This means that whatever you write should be clearly communicated with accurate descriptions, correct emphasis, and no ambiguity. Your responses should highlight key ideas

To achieve this I recommend that you use complex sentence structures and a wide range of vocabulary to express the complexity of the subject matter. Complex ideas are often best expressed using complex sentences.

5. Vocabulary

Vocabulary refers to the words and phrases you use in your summary. In order to score well in this are students must demonstrate a wide range of topic specific vocabulary that is used correctly and appropriately. You should also use paraphrases and synonyms where possible. Avoid repeating the same words from the paragraph.

You must also be able to spell these words correctly. Do not switch between British and American spellings, choose one type and stick with it throughout your summary

6. Grammar

This refers to your ability to use a range of grammatical structures and to use them accurately. In order to maximize your score in this particular area you must be able to produce complex and error free sentences. Remember to use the same form and tense used in the text.

Time Management For Summarise Written Text

Divide your time as follows:

  • 2 minutes for skim reading the text
  • 6 minutes for writing your summary
  • 2 minutes to recheck your answer

Making use of the cut, copy and paste buttons can also help you save valuable time.

Strategies To Solve Summarise Written Text Questions

Read the question twice. Read the passage first in detail to understand what the text is about. The second time you read the text you should note keywords and main ideas. Use this time to differentiate between main ideas and supporting ideas.

You should spend about to 2 minutes reading the text. Make a note of the important sentences.

Remember that in most paragraphs, the first and last sentences are usually the most important.

The first sentence of a paragraph usually introduces that paragraphs main idea. The last sentence of a paragraph usually emphasises the main idea or provides an idea about the next paragraph might be about.

Take a look at the following example:

Focus on finding keywords and phrases, as these will help to understand the main ideas of the text.

Once you have gathered all of the main ideas, you can begin writing your summary.

You also need to be aware of how to rephrase or paraphrase. Use the keyword phrases that you have gathered from the summary and try to rephrase them using synonyms. This will ensure that you do not repeat exactly the same phrases as in the text, and that your summary will appear as if you have written it by yourself

You can then combine them to form a logical and coherent sentence. To do this you need to have sound knowledge about sentence structure, grammar, punctuation. You need to be especially familiar with the use of conjunctions.

Use the remaining minutes to review your work. Make sure that you have only included main ideas and not supporting points or examples. Check to see if your sentence sounds logical and is punctuated correctly. It would be a shame to have put in so much effort only to lost points for forgetting to add a comma or adding a comma when it is not needed!

Lastly, make sure that your summary falls within the specified word count.

Tips For This Question

  • Try to keep your word count between 25 to 35 words long. Sentences that are longer than this tend to be fairly complicated and there’s a greater chance for errors.
  • You should also only include information that is mentioned in the text. Refrain from using your own opinions and knowledge on the subject matter.
  • Let’s take a look at the following sample question.
  • Do not type in all Caps
  • Do not refer to the paragraph. Do not write things like ‘the paragraph states…’ or ‘it is mentioned in the paragraph that…’ This will also eat into your word count.
  • You should have only one sentence, beginning with a capital letter and ending with a full stop
  • Do not use any words unless you are 100 per cent sure of its spelling.

Once you have learnt all the necessary skills needed to solve this question type, you can begin to practice. Take regular timed practice tests to improve your speed and make sure that you use authentic Pearson PTE materials.

Lets take a look at the following sample question:

Sample Summarize Written Text Question

Diasporas-communities which live outside, but maintain links with, their homelands-are getting larger, thicker and stronger. They are human face of globalization. Diaspora consciousness is on the rise-diasporas are becoming more interested in their origin. And organizing themselves more effectively; homelands are revising their opinions of the diasporas as the stigma attached to emigration declines, and stepping up their engagement efforts: meanwhile, host countries are witnessing more assertive diasporic groups within their national communities, worrying about the fifth columns and foreign lobbies, and suffering outbreaks of ‘daisporaphobia’.

This trend is the result of five factors, all of them connecting to globalization: the growth in international immigration; the revolution in transport and communications technology, which is quickening the pace of diasporas’  interactions with their homelands; a reaction against global homogenised culture, which is leading people to rethink their identities; the end of cold war, which increased the saliency of ethnicity and nationalism and created new space in which diasporas can operate; and policy changes by national governments on issues such as duel citizenship and multiculturism, which are enabling people to lead transitional lives. Diasporas such as those attaching to china, India, Russia and Mexico are already big, but will continue to grow; the immigration flows which feed them are likely to widen and quicken the future

Model Answer:                                                                                      

Diasporas communities are continuously expanding with increasing consciousness of connecting to the homelands despite host countries concerns, which is caused by numerous globalization associated factors including increasing migration, transport and information revolution, as well as governmental policy change.