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Predicting Content

Learn more about predicting content and selecting missing word questions.

Predicting Content

The listening method in the video for predicting content will also help during Select Missing Word questions, as the topic of the text you listen to is given in the instructions.

From a set of options you have to predict what words the speaker will say based on contextual clues in a recording.

Here’s an example:

Predict the content by reading the topic and skimming the options quickly to gain an idea of the aspect of the topic the speaker might talk about. Next, think about what words you expect to hear.

Now listen to the audio in the Select Missing Word task and select the correct option to complete the recording.

Remember, thinking about the recording before you hear it spoken is an important strategy for many PTE items in Part 3 of the test as it helps you listen more effectively.


In the video, John also introduced signposting. These are the words and phrases speakers use to signal what they are about to say next. Identifying and understanding signal language helps to indicate structure, link arguments and signal key ideas.

Here are some examples of signposting language that are commonly used in talks, presentations and lectures.

Function Signposting words and phrases
Introducing the first topic or argument: let’s start by talking about, to begin with, first of all, it is well-known that, it’s significant that, in the first instance
Paraphrasing, clarifying and reformulating ideas in other words, in a manner of speaking, io put it simply / another way, as can be seen, generally speaking, to sum up
Explaining, giving examples for example, for instance, to illustrate, case in point
Contrasting instead, conversely, on the contrary, but, nevertheless, on the one hand, on the other hand, alternatively, however, yet, although, unlike
Cause, reason, result, consequence accordingly, as a consequence, as a result, consequently, in light of this/that, therefore, hence, because, because of, due to, on account of, owing to
Timing afterwards, meantime, in the meantime, meanwhile, eventually, subsequently, then, after, that

For the Listening: Summarize Spoken Text item type you hear an audio recording and need to write a 50-70 word summary on what you heard. You need to use signal language to determine how the parts of the lecture relate to each other and to identify the most important information to include in a summary.

Your summary should contain the main idea and most important supporting details but should not contain specific facts, statistics, a lot of details, examples or opinion.

To identify the main idea and key supporting details, listen for signposting language for introducing the main ideas. The main idea will be repeated throughout the talk so the speaker may use signposts to signal paraphrasing, clarifying and reformulating the argument. You should also listen for the signals that show the relationship between ideas. Note down these key points on your erasable noteboard. If you hear signal language for introducing an example you don’t need to note it down as it should not be included in your summary.

Your task

Listen to an example of Summarize Spoken Text and listen for the signposting language. Take notes on the main points and supporting details.

Summarize Spoken Text Recording

From your notes, you can then summarise the main point and refer briefly to the essential supporting points, which will gain you good marks for content. Post your summary in the Comments.

For more information on how Summarize Spoken Text is scored, watch the video tutorial in the SEE ALSO section.


Pearson. (2019). Score Guide (Version 11). Retrieved from here

Disclaimer: The question prompts are for practice purposes only and are not official PTE Test materials.

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PTE Success: The Skills You Need

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