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PTE listening: note-taking techniques for summarize written text

The Listening section of the Pearson Test of English (PTE) assesses your ability to comprehend and summarize written texts. One task in this section is "Summarize Written Text," where you need to condense a longer passage into a shorter summary. Effective note-taking is crucial for capturing key information and creating a concise summary. In this blog, we will explore note-taking techniques specifically tailored for the "Summarize Written Text" task in the PTE Listening section.

Skim the Passage:

Before the audio begins, quickly skim through the written passage to get an overall understanding of the topic and structure. Identify the main ideas, subtopics, and supporting details. This initial skim will help you focus on the essential points during the audio recording.

Use Abbreviations and Symbols:

Develop a set of abbreviations and symbols that you can use to represent common words or phrases. This technique allows you to write more quickly and capture key information efficiently. For example, use "&" for "and," "->" for "leads to," or "*" for important points. Experiment with different symbols and abbreviations to find what works best for you.

Focus on Keywords:

Listen attentively for keywords and phrases that convey the main ideas, arguments, or important details. These are the words or phrases that carry the most weight and should be included in your summary. Write down these keywords in your notes to ensure accuracy and capture the essence of the passage.

Identify Relationships:

Pay attention to the relationships between ideas and concepts presented in the passage. Look for connecting words like "however," "although," "because," or "in contrast" that signal contrasting or supporting relationships. Note down these relationships in your notes to help structure your summary effectively.

Listen for Repetition or Emphasis:

If certain words or phrases are repeated or emphasized in the audio recording, it signifies their significance. Listen for these repetitions and emphasize them in your notes. Repetition often indicates key ideas or important supporting details that should be included in your summary.

Capture Supporting Examples:

FSupporting examples and evidence in the passage strengthen the main ideas and arguments. Listen for specific examples mentioned in the audio and jot them down in your notes. These examples can add depth and credibility to your summary.

Maintain Clarity and Organization:

While taking notes, strive for clarity and organization. Use headings, subheadings, or bullet points to categorize different ideas or subtopics. Ensure that your notes follow a logical flow and are easy to understand when you revisit them during the summary writing phase.

Practice Summarizing:

Regularly practice summarizing written texts using your notes. Time yourself and aim to condense the passage into a concise and coherent summary within the allocated time frame. This practice will improve your note-taking speed and ability to extract essential information.

Review and Refine:

After the audio recording ends, review your notes and make any necessary refinements or additions. Ensure that your notes capture the main ideas, supporting details, and relationships between different concepts accurately. Revise your notes if needed to create a comprehensive and well-structured summary.

Polish Your Writing:

During the summary writing phase, use your notes as a guide to craft a cohesive and concise summary. Focus on paraphrasing and synthesizing the information while maintaining the original meaning. Pay attention to grammar, vocabulary, and sentence structure to ensure clarity and coherence in your final summary.


Effective note-taking is a valuable skill for excelling in the "Summarize Written Text" task in the PTE Listening section. By developing appropriate abbreviations and symbols, focusing on keywords, identifying relationships, capturing supporting examples, and maintaining clarity and organization in your notes, you can create a solid foundation for writing a well-structured summary. With practice and refinement, you can enhance your note-taking skills and confidently tackle this task in the PTE Listening section.