PTE: summarize written text..method and example

pte summarize text

Ok, following yesterday’s post about the PTE essay, it’s time to look at another task, summarize text. In this task you have ten minutes to read and summarize a passage of around 300 words into a single sentence of between 5 and 75 words. Your response must be expressed in one sentence, so you will need to write a complex or compound sentence to summarize the main point and mention in brief some supporting details.


although it says 5 to 75, in reality any sentence of more than 30 or so words is going to so long and convoluted that it will be a nonsense. So aim for 35 +, that will allow you to express the main idea and a couple of supporting points. To avoid nonsensical writing, you want to have no more than three clauses, with two commas, in your sentence. anything more will be unreadable. And, you don’t have to include every detail, that’s the “trick” or skill, I should say, knowing what to include and what to exclude. As long as you have written about the key features (in this regard it is similar to IELTS Task 1 Academic) then you will be fine. So in your practice sessions, this what you need to do, see the method below.


  1. read for 1 min for gist (overall understanding)
  2. read again for 1 min, this time highlighting key nouns and verbs
  3. Organise ideas, think, who did what, what happened, where?..etc…
  4. write, for 7 mins (summary, in 35 words or thereabouts)
  5. edit for 1 min

Example Passage


A large new study has found that people who regularly took a siesta were significantly less likely to die of heart disease.

“Taking a nap could turn out to be an important weapon in the fight against coronary mortality,” said Dimitrios Trichopoulos of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, who led the study published yesterday in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

The study of more than 23,000 Greek adults — the biggest and best examination of the subject to date — found that those who regularly took a midday siesta were more than 30 percent less likely to die of heart disease.

Other experts said the results are intriguing. Heart disease kills more than 650,000 Americans each year, making it the nation’s No. 1 cause of death.

“It’s interesting. A little siesta, a little snooze may be beneficial,” said Gerald Fletcher, a cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., speaking on behalf of the American Heart Association. “It’s simple, but it has a lot of promise.”

While more research is needed to confirm and explore the findings, there are several ways napping could reduce the risk of heart attacks, experts said.

“Napping may help deal with the stress of daily living,” said Michael Twery, who directs the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute’s National Center on Sleep Disorders Research. “Another possibility is that it is part of the normal biological rhythm of daily living. The biological clock that drives sleep and wakefulness has two cycles each day, and one of them dips usually in the early afternoon. It’s possible that not engaging in napping for some people might disrupt these processes.”

Researchers have long known that countries such as Greece, Italy, and Spain, where people commonly take siestas, have lower rates of heart disease than would be expected. But previous studies that attempted to study the relationship between naps and heart disease have produced mixed results. The new study is first to try to fully account for factors that might confuse the findings, such as physical activity, diet, and other illnesses.


Despite more research being needed, a major new study of Greek adults appears to show that a regular midday nap could significantly reduce the possibility of death as a result of heart disease, by helping to deal with the stress caused by daily life.

44 words

So there you are, it’s that simple, you will note that all the detail is missing, only the absolute bare bones essential ideas are included in the summary. That’s all you need to do, just the main idea and some support. You can practice this yourself, there are lots of sample texts available online, just find some and try to summarise using the technique outlined above…

Good luck with your study…