PTE Writing: Summary & Essay Tips

It’s already decided that you go with the PTE exam, and you need to start getting ready. Don’t know what to begin with?

There are four parts of the test that check different skills:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Listening
  • Speaking

Ideally, it would help if you practiced all of them regularly. However, if you have particular struggles with writing, this article by our experts is for you! The key to successfully gaining the score you’re aiming for is good preparation. Here, you will find the description of the exam’s structure. It is especially useful since you get accustomed to the format and rules. Then, there are also examples and valuable tips on dealing with different parts of PTE writing.

Let’s start!

❓ PTE Writing Section: What Is It Like?

Let’s begin by looking into the structure of the PTE writing part. Students find it much easier and less stressful to deal with this exam when they know how to navigate through the tasks. Besides, it saves a lot of time which is precious! Don’t forget that PTE is designed as an integrated skills type of test, so the writing part is merged with speaking. Besides, you will need to use your speed-reading technique.

The picture contains a description of the two PTE writing tasks: summarize a text & write an essay.

There are two tasks where your writing skills will be tested.

  • For the first one, there is quite a lengthy text, but don’t panic. The prompt should not be longer than 300 words. Your objective is to write a summary. Be aware of time. You can’t spend more than 10 minutes on this one. However, there is some good news. The answer should be only a single sentence up to 75 words.
  • The second part might seem a bit more intimidating. Your goal is to write a whole essay of 200-300 words. However, nothing is impossible if you are well-prepared. There are a few sentences that are meant to give you the directions for writing. You get 20 minutes to complete this task. Since it’s a computer-based exam, editing options in your answer box are available.

➕ PTE Writing: Summary (Task #1)

To understand the task better, you need to know how it looks like. Under the instructions, you will see a text on a specific topic. During the time you have, you need to read it and pinpoint the main ideas. It is important because the objective of this task is to write a short summary of the text. Therefore, your reading skills will come in handy.

The exam was created to carefully test your ability to integrate different skills while dealing with one type of task at a time. No wonder such reading techniques as skimming and scanning can help you gain extra scores in the PTE writing summary section.

After you analyzed the prompt, you should be able to produce one simple sentence that can summarize it. Even though 75 words might seem like a lot for one sentence, some tips you can learn below will help you nail this task. It gets much easier with practice!

PTE Writing: Tips for Summarizing the Text

If this task seems impossible to complete in just 10 minutes, we suggest you look through the following tips and practice:

✔️ Make it complex Writing such a long sentence gets more manageable if you use complex or compound structures. Not only will you be able to fit all the information you in the word count limits, but you improve your chances to get a higher score.
✔️ Find the main ideas Scan the prompt for the main ideas. If you are not familiar with skimming and scanning reading techniques, have a look at them as soon as possible.
✔️ Find a topic sentence The prompt text might include a topic sentence. Usually, you can find it at the beginning, but it may as well go in the middle or at the end. It is not guaranteed that it’s there, but you should try looking. In case you find it, the paraphrase of the topic sentence would be your answer.
✔️ Don’t make it too complex Even though you should use a complex or compound sentence, don’t make it overwhelming so that it’s hard to read. Moreover, it increases the risk of making grammatical mistakes.
✔️ Paraphrase Do not copy the main ideas of the prompt text word to word. Use paraphrasing.
✔️ Practice We can’t highlight it enough – practice! It helps you get used to the format and develop an automatic response to this type of task.

How Is the Section Scored?

First of all, it should be noted that the answer gets scored based on its correctness. It means that if your summarizing sentence is inappropriate, it receives a zero score. There is no additional credit for incorrect but well-structured sentences, for example.

  1. Content. The answer is considered correct when it includes all the text’s main points that do not misinterpret the topic.
  2. Form. Your sentence has to meet the word count criteria, which means it needs to be 5-75 words long. Fewer or more than that will be marked zero. Also, it has to be a single sentence.
  3. Grammar. You need to follow all the grammar rules. The best option is considered to be a sentence that includes a main clause and a subordinate one.
  4. Vocabulary. The choice of words is also scored. This factor looks at how appropriate and relevant your vocabulary is. It’s always better to add some variety by using synonyms. However, make sure you understand them first.

PTE Writing Summary Task: Sample

Read this sample and compare the two summaries below:

Example:

Nowadays, HR managers are actually recommended not to reject job applicants with too much experience. Of course, such a decision would go against the typical strategy of most hiring managers. However, this case deserves your closer look.

The newest research shows that overqualified workers don’t quit their job as soon as we might think they would. Moreover, there is a managerial strategy that can eliminate any dissatisfaction they may face.

There is widespread prejudice against potential employees that are too good for the position. Companies prefer to find a perfect fit to hiring someone who can bring more experience, knowledge, and growth opportunities to the team. At first glance, it makes sense as some studies showed higher levels of discontent in overqualified employees. However, some of the recent findings indicate that it can be easily fixed. Over-educated workers feel less dissatisfied and less prompt to quit when they were given autonomy in the decision-making process.

❌ A bad summary:

Example:

The new research shows that too good workers are less satisfied with their jobs than those who are perfectly fit, they tend to be rejected.

✔️ A good summary:

Example:

Even though overqualified candidates are rejected more often due to the high rates of their dissatisfaction at the jobs that they are too good at, they may bring great opportunities, such as education and critical thinking based on more experience, to the businesses if managers give them more freedom in decision-making to help those employees feel empowered.

What is bad about the first summary?

  • First of all, it is more than 5 words, but still quite short
  • Then, the main point is completely missed there
  • In addition, the phrases are copied from the prompt text, which shows poor use of vocabulary
  • Then, the last clause seems to be unrelated to the rest of the sentence; in this case, it’s a grammar error, which reduces the score as well

Overall, the bad example would be scored zero, while the improved version has all the chances of getting the highest score.

The second example includes all the main points of the text, has relevant and various vocabulary, and presents acceptable grammar and complex structure without exceeding the word limit.

🖊️ PTE Writing: Essay (Task #2)

Even though you get more time for completing the second task, it is not without reason. There is no long text to read, but there is a long text to write. You will only get a few sentences as the instructions that should be strictly followed. The prompt for this task is not a recommendation but a requirement that dictates the scoring process.

Then, you need to create a whole argumentative essay in response to it.

PTE essay should be at least 200 words but no longer than 300. It is pretty enough to test your writing skill. It helps to understand how good you are at producing sensible and coherent standard English in the written form. There is always a counter on the screen, so no need to wonder about the approximate length of your answer. Besides, you may edit your PTE essay as much as you want with the cut, copy and paste buttons.

PTE Essay Writing Tips

The first and the most important thing you need to do is analyze the instructions. Even though there are guidelines available for practice, there is always a possibility that the requirements may be changed for the next PTE writing exam.

✔️ Choose the topic Look through the task to find out what should be the topic of your essay and the key points you need to highlight in it.
✔️ Read the instructions Check with the prompt again to decide what type of essay you are supposed to write.
✔️ Follow the structure Don’t forget about the standard essay structure:
  • introduction
  • main body of three paragraphs
  • conclusion
✔️ Make an outline The key is in management. If you spend just a few minutes creating an outline, it will help you tremendously during the process of writing the essay itself.
✔️ Don’t make it too complex Try to avoid overcomplicating your essay with complex grammatical structures and posh vocabulary. Your main goal is to present a sensible, supported with sound arguments and coherent point of view.
✔️ Stick to the topic Always stick to the topic. If you have a topic sentence, keep going back to it. It helps you stay on track with relevant thoughts.

How Is the Section Scored?

This task is eligible for partial scoring, which means if you write something at least a little bit relevant, you get some scores. You should be able to provide an argumentative or persuasive essay and meet all the following criteria to get the highest grade:

  1. Content. This one is the most important because if your writing is not relevant to the topic mentioned in the prompt, you get zero. Besides, you need to provide sufficient and appropriate examples and supporting arguments.
  2. Structure and coherence. The ideas you present should be organized organically and logically, and the transition between them should be smooth. As we mentioned in the tips, creating an outline helps with this challenge.
  3. Form. Your PTE essay has to be over 200 words but less than 300.
  4. General linguistic range. This factor looks into how well you can communicate your ideas in English. Therefore, plain and straightforward sentences won’t get you a high score.
  5. Grammar, vocabulary, and spelling. You need to avoid grammar mistakes, use appropriate and broad academic vocabulary. Don’t forget to double-check the consistency of your spelling.

PTE Essay Prompts

Of course, it is hard to predict how PTE essay prompts will look like this year. They are changed every time, so you should expect them to be the same. However, we prepared a list of prompt samples that resemble the most specific topics used for this task:

  1. Some people argue that starting a career or a family before graduating high school is not a wise choice. Do you agree with them?
  2. What do you think will be the future of the English language considering the speed of globalization?
  3. Is there any reason to ban extreme sports? Provide arguments.
  4. Do you think the environment matters for the child’s development and future achievements? Give an example.
  5. Is studying abroad overrated? There are brilliant scientists who finished local educational institutions. What is your opinion?
  6. Do you agree that media has too much influence over people’s lives? Provide arguments.
  7. With technological development, more and more people use smartphones. How can smartphones be helpful for the older population?
  8. Write about one latest invention that you think is beneficial for society.
  9. Learning foreign languages needs to be compulsory starting from primary school. Do you agree or disagree?
  10. What are the benefits of producing things in other countries and import them?

PTE Essay Sample

Here is a PTE writing essay template that meets all the essential criteria and can gain a satisfactory score.

  • First of all, it sticks to the topic provided in the prompt and includes three strong arguments.
  • Then, it follows a standard essay structure and has 275 words.
  • The language is clear, and ideas are easy to understand.
  • Vocabulary is sufficient, and there are little to no grammar and spelling mistakes.

Do you agree that media has too much influence over people’s lives? Provide arguments.

Example:

The human race is facing the most rapid development of mass and social media nowadays. Technological development promotes the growth of more and more information and communication channels. Even though it is generally seen as a good thing, media gains too much power over people’s lives.

Being an influencer may become a new career choice on the job market. Following popular users on social media is a routine for many people. It is hard to imagine how much power influencers have over their fans. They present themselves as happy, wealthy, and accomplished, which is what everyone desires. Social media users spend their time, money, and efforts to try and have it all. Usually, such attempts end with disappointment.

Marketing campaigns use psychology to manipulate the target audience. Commercials are designed to attract customers by presenting what they want exactly. No matter how useless the product might be in reality, those who get in the trap of marketing strategies are likely to purchase it.

TV, radio, and social media are full of so-called “trustworthy” sources. It is proven that the audience is more likely to believe a piece of information if it is presented by scientists, likable political leaders, or other authorities. Those figures are easy to follow and support. Whether they are frauds spreading false news is another question.

To sum up, media is an overpowered tool of control over populations. Social media influencers set unrealistic expectations, commercials use psychological tricks to be successful, and information the audience receives from media is broadcasted by seemingly reliable providers who are easy to believe. It proves that media controls almost all aspects of people’s lives without them noticing.

This mini-guide on the PTE writing section is sufficient enough to make you confident. Go through the tips for the two tasks which can help you get through the exam with ease. And, once again, you should practice as much as you can if you want to nail the writing part!

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