Useful tips for PTE Part 1 Item type 5 – Retell a lecture

On this page, we will look at some useful tips for PTE Part 1 Item type 5 – Retell a lecture. The first point to note is that this is an extremely different question type, even for native speakers, so you need to have some very clear techniques to follow. Here are tips you can use to help you.

Make sure to use the notepad you are given

Depending on your test centre, you will either be given an erasable notepad or a paper based notepad. This is essential for this question type! However, you need to avoid trying to write about EVERYTHING you hear. Not only is this not possible, it also means you will then be reading your answer using the same phrases and vocabulary as the audio you heard, and that won’t give you a good score.

Number the points you hear

Each time you hear something that you think is important, write it down in a numbered list. By the end of the audio (which can be up to 90 seconds) you should have between 10 and 15 main points numbered in your notepad. This will make it much easier for you use the 10 seconds preparation time to organise what you are going to say, and help you avoid repeating your main points

Listen out for signpost words

Signpost words are very important as they will help you organise your responses and differentiate between main ideas and supporting ideas and exams. Words like ‘As I mentioned’, ‘To clarify’, ‘In addition’ are all examples of signpost words, and being familiar with them will improve your skills not only for this question, but also for the listening section of the PTE test.

Have a clear idea of how much you can say in 40 seconds

It can be very hard to estimate how many words your need to say to fill the 40 seconds you are given, so you need to practice a lot. You don’t even necessarily need to use PTE test resources for this – just get a stopwatch and a book, newspaper or website and read aloud for 40 seconds. Wen the time is up, count the number of words you’ve read to give some idea of your speaking speed.

Don’t get caught up with any mistakes you might make

It’s inevitable that during the test, you will make occasional mistakes (even native speakers do!). However, you need to balance the cost of the error versus the cost of hesitating, making corrections or repeating yourself – most of the time it’s better to just keep on moving forward and forgetting the mistake.