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PTE listening: note-taking strategies for summarize written text

The PTE Listening section assesses your ability to comprehend written passages and extract key information from them. One of the question types you will encounter in this section is "Summarize Written Text" where you are required to write a concise summary of a given passage. Note-taking plays a crucial role in effectively summarizing written text, as it helps you capture and organize important details while listening. In this blog post, we will explore effective note-taking strategies specifically tailored for the "Summarize Written Text" question in the PTE Listening section.

Skim and Scan the Passage:

Before the audio begins, quickly skim through the written passage to get a general understanding of the topic, main ideas, and supporting details. Pay attention to headings, subheadings, topic sentences, and any keywords that provide an overview of the content.

Identify the Main Idea:

As you listen to the audio, focus on identifying the main idea or the central theme of the passage. This will help you determine the key point that needs to be summarized in your response. Listen for repeated information, emphasized points, or any statements that provide a clear indication of the passage's main idea.

Use Abbreviations and Symbols:

Develop a system of abbreviations and symbols to simplify your note-taking process. This will allow you to jot down information quickly and save time. For example, use arrows to indicate cause-and-effect relationships, asterisks for important details, or abbreviations for frequently mentioned terms. Find a method that works best for you and practice using it during your preparation.

Focus on Key Supporting Details:

While listening, pay close attention to supporting details that enhance the main idea of the passage. These details can include examples, statistics, definitions, or explanations. Capture them in your notes using concise phrases or keywords. Remember, you don't need to write complete sentences during the note-taking process.

Organize Information:

Organize your notes in a logical and coherent manner. Use headings, subheadings, or bullet points to structure your notes and create a visual hierarchy of the information. This will make it easier for you to reference specific details when summarizing the passage later.

Practice Summarizing:

After the audio ends, refer to your notes and begin summarizing the written passage. Aim to capture the main idea and the key supporting details in a concise and coherent manner. Focus on conveying the essential information without getting caught up in unnecessary details. Ensure that your summary is grammatically correct and reflects the central theme of the passage.

Time Management:

Effectively managing your time is crucial in the PTE Listening section. Allocate sufficient time for note-taking, summarizing, and reviewing your response. Practice under timed conditions to improve your efficiency and accuracy in completing this question type within the allocated time frame.


Mastering note-taking strategies for the "Summarize Written Text" question in the PTE Listening section can significantly enhance your performance. Skimming and scanning the passage, identifying the main idea, using abbreviations and symbols, focusing on key supporting details, organizing information, practicing summarization, and managing your time efficiently are all essential aspects of effective note-taking. Regular practice and familiarization with this question type will boost your confidence and enable you to summarize written texts accurately, leading to success in the PTE Listening section.