PTE Retell Lecture Practice Tips, Templates & Strategy

pte retell lecture practice tips

PTE retell lecture is the 4th section of the Speaking task, assessing your speaking and listening skills.

You should retell the content in your own words during the short time given without missing the main content.

It’s considered a hard task to complete as it requires “good ears,” good understanding skills, and the ability to deliver a speech with given information. No matter your English level, you need some practice before the real test.

Below is the explanation of what will happen in the sections and some useful PTE retell lecture tips to be confident and achieve the highest score.

Let’s find out right now!

Key Takeaways

  • In the PTE Retell Lecture section, you should retell the content in your own words during the short time given without missing the main content.
  • This part will affect your score in both listening and speaking, taking up to 10 points and 11 points, respectively.
  • This is a hard task requiring a lot of PTE retell lecture practice. See the detailed strategies below.


An Overview Of The PTE Retell Lecture Test

pte retell lecture practice tips

PTE retell lecture task will ask you to listen or watch a lecture of up to 90 seconds in length. Then, you’ll be given 10 seconds to prepare your words before the recorder starts and 40 seconds to deliver a full response. Your answer should be at least 38 seconds with the highlighted points in the lecture. 

While speaking, you should watch out for the progress bar and finish your talk before it ends. The recording will stop if you’re quiet without a response for more than 3 seconds.

The section layout is generally divided into 4 parts. On top is the Task prompt with instructions on how to complete the task. Sometimes, you may see an image related to the lecture’s content appear on the left of the screen. On the right side, the audio player progress bar is shown at the top, and the audio recorder with a time countdown is displayed at the bottom.

You’ll have 3 seconds before the audio plays to understand the content. Then, you’ll hear a short tone indicating you should start your answer. Don’t speak before that, as the recorder will miss your spoken words before it’s on.  

PTE Retell Lecture Scoring Guidelines

This part will affect your score in both listening and speaking, taking up to 10 points and 11 points, respectively. The three criteria of the section include Content, Oral Fluency, and Pronunciation. Your answer will be judged to see how smoothly you speak and cover all the main points.


The content of your speech will be evaluated to see if you have mentioned all main points and keywords and included conclusions. Some important information you should mention in your speech (if any) are dates, numbers, and other main ideas emphasized during the lecture. 

You should only tell what you‘ve heard without adding irrelevant information. All ideas should be connected; otherwise, disjointed thoughts can affect your result.

Oral Fluency

Oral fluency criteria include phrasing, stress, and rhythm. You should make your speech as smooth as possible with a constant, natural pace. Idea repetition, hesitation, or correction of mistakes will cause you to lose some points. Also, avoid using filler words such as eeh, uhm, etc.


Your pronunciation should be appropriate and understood by regular (native) speakers. Producing wrong sounds or stressing on the incorrect syllables will decrease the score. If you sound like a native, you can get a total of 5 points. 

PTE Retell Lecture Practice Tips & Strategies

As mentioned above, it’s a hard task requiring a lot of PTE retell lecture practice. While practicing, follow our tips below to make your preparation effective and achieve a high score on the real test. The strategies include the following steps:

Before The Audio Starts

It’s a preparation step when you’ll have 3 seconds to prepare your mind for what will be played. During this short time, you should look at the given picture and brainstorm some vocabulary that might appear in the audio. It will help you somehow predict the content and have a general idea about the listening topic.

During The Audio Playing Time

While the audio is played, you do not only listen but do some other jobs to capture the idea of the lecture. Make sure you have a pen and note to write down the main points during the test. 

Take Note

You can’t write all the content down, so choose the keywords and key phrases only. The number of noted-down words should be from 7 to 9. So, how do you decide what to note?

The answer is simple. You should listen to the words mentioned many times by the speakers in the lectures. They usually are nouns, verbs, adjectives, and other key ideas (names, dates, and numbers). Don’t include some words such as is, for, the, etc., so you can save your time.

Symbolizing the word can help you take notes quickly. For example, an up arrow for increasing and a down arrow for decreasing. However, this method needs time to practice as you need to (logically) create your symbols and remember them without confusion. The more you practice, the faster you can take notes.  

Use A Template

Using a template is considered a useful method for fast note-taking. It will help you to organize your thoughts, put the information in the correct place, and have a complete answer without interrupting or missing any data.

You should memorize the template and write it down while reading the instructions. If you are not allowed to do so, practice more to remember better and write at least the first few words of each sentence so you can brainstorm faster.

We’ll discuss more examples of templates in the following section. 

After The Audio Stops

The PTE retell lecture strategy after the audio ends is to organize and connect your ideas. During 10 seconds before the microphone starts recording, you should quickly look at what you’ve noted and identify the central idea, main points, etc. Also, you should mainly focus on how you will deliver it smoothly and coherently at a moderate pace.

An Effective PTE Retell Lecture Template

A good PTE retell lecture template should include an Introduction, Body, and Conclusion. Remember that you should deliver all these parts in your answer to make it coherent and smooth. The Conclusion, which can be a summary or implication, should be completed so your record will not sound interrupted and unfinished.

Here is the template for your reference: 

  • The speaker was talking about/ The main idea of the lecture is about <central idea>
  • Firstly, he mentioned/ talked about the <keyword 1>
  • Then, he explained/discussed about the <keyword 2>
  • Lastly, he described <keyword 3> 
  • Overall, he suggested/ implied that <central idea> should be…/ provided useful information on the <central idea>

Let’s go further to an example to understand how to use the template. You can even put it in a chart to display the idea.

The speaker was talking about
Firstly, he mentioned
Then, he explained
Lastly, he described 
Plastic additives for PVC
The application of the additives
How the additives are processed 
Different types of plastic additives

Overall, the speaker provided useful information on plastic additives for PVC, and it’s an ideal choice for many industries. 

Mistakes To Avoid When Doing The Tasks

Most test takers tend to make some of the following mistakes during the task. Let’s go through it to ensure you can avoid it by paying more attention and practicing better!

  • Misunderstanding the requirement: When you see the image appearing in the question, it’s unnecessary to do the Describe Image task. Therefore, read the instructions carefully before forming any thoughts about the content in your mind.
  • Capturing too much unnecessary information: Many people fail to form an outline for their speech or make it too long, even exceeding the given speaking time of 40 seconds. Thus, avoid this mistake and get only key phrases. Using a template is a good solution to complete the task within 38 seconds. 
  • Poor handwriting: Handwriting is underestimated until we can not read our own. It’s especially important when you’re taking a test and under the pressure of time limitations. Make sure you practice your handwriting well before getting into the exam room.
  • Lack of practice: Most of the mistakes are caused by insufficient practice. For example, you’ll be given a marker and notepad in the exam to take notes. So buy for yourself at home and practice to make sure you can use the marker quickly with readable handwriting.


Getting a full score for the PTE retell lecture is difficult. Yet, with practice, you can pass the test at a nearly native level. While practicing, don’t forget to follow our strategies above to improve your results time by time.

Remember, the first 3 seconds before the audio starts is for predicting the content based on given information. Stay focused while the speaker speaks in the audio and apply taking note tactics. Then, use your 10 seconds after the audio stops to organize coherent and related content. Within 40 seconds, deliver your speech as smoothly and clearly as possible.

Wish you the best of luck in your exam!

Last updated on 29/05/2024

I am a firm believer that the best teachers educate with their hearts not just their minds.

Moni | PTE MAGIC International Founder

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