PTE Speaking Strategies to Improve PTE Retell Lecture Score.

Jan 27,2021

PTE Speaking Strategies To Improve PTE

Hello folks, let’s discuss today everything about Retell lecture on the PTE academic test. Those who have attempted this question found that it’s not easy to answer in a timed manner. Many students struggle to give accurate responses while attempting Retell lecture questions in PTE academic exam.

Of course, the concerning factor is preparation time. The candidate will be given only 10 seconds of preparation time once the audio completes. This is too short even to recognize our own handwriting, isn’t it? Well, It is and for the very reason, it seems difficult to the students, especially those who are lacking fluency and confidence or who’s English hold is a little bit poor.

This blog will help you to understand the criteria to clear retell lecture questions successfully. It will help you to understand what strategies you should opt for in order to give your response within the time provided.

Let’s break the blog into 3 different segments.

In 1st segment, I will provide you basic information about the question type, prompt length, etc.

In the 2nd segment, I will discuss the traits that are going to be accessed from your response.

And lastly, I will proffer some tips and strategies to overcome the difficulties of a particular question type.

So let’s begin the 1st part.

Segment 1

What is Retell Lecture?

You will hear an audio lecture of about 45 to 90 seconds. Mostly, the length of audio would not exceed above 2 minutes.

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Exam Prompt

Don’t be surprised. Please have prior knowledge of how exam questions actually look like in a real exam. Get acquainted with the exam prompt and its appearance first.

Exam Prompt


You may encounter an image or video along with an audio lecture.


Another factor to consider while attempting Retell Lecture is timing.

There are basically 3 different time slots.

The first one is Audio length of about 45 to 90 seconds.

Here you will hear an audio lecture describing something.

Listen carefully, note down keywords or phrases in the rough book provided.

The second one is the preparation time of 10 seconds.

Here you will be preparing yourself with the data you have gathered during listening.

Take a deep breath and get yourself ready.

And, the last one is a Response time of 40 seconds.

You need to start giving your response to Retell lecture you’ve just heard.

Be fluent

Cut short your response within 35 seconds. Don’t stretch till the 40th second. That may lead the recorder to abruptly cut your few words spoken at the 40th second. And you may lose marks for grammar as you might not have completed your entire sentence.

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Segment 2

Now that you know what exactly the question type is and its requirement. It’s time to actually get deeper into it. Let’s see what we really get when we attempt Retell lecture question.

You will be assessed based on three traits or attributes:

1. Content

Content means the audio script that was just played as a lecture. You need to extract information in form of keywords or phrases of sentences from audio explaining what actually speaker has said. When you cover the content in your speech, you will be given a score out of 5.

5 Covers all points of an audio and explains characters, theory and its relationships and developing conclusive statement
4 Covers all points of an audio and explains characters, relates few theory and its relationships and developing conclusive statement
3 Covers most points of an audio and explains characters with conclusive statement
1 Only describe few or less key points from an audio without any correlation and logical conclusion
0 Unrelated predetermined elements of an audio

2. Oral Fluency

Big contributor!!

Oral fluency means speaking with the natural speed of words per time. It doesn’t mean that you should speak too fast to score high fluency. It means you should have not too fast- not too slow fluency ratio throughout.

Oral fluency will also be assessed out of 5.

5 Native-like
4 Advanced
3 Good
2 Intermediate
1 Intrusive
0 Non-English


Please be consistent. I mean you cannot be fast where you feel it’s easy to speak and then deteriorate yourself when you encounter any hard word in the same retell lecture.

3. Pronunciation

Yes, pronunciation matters too. It’s not true that you need to speak in a native English accent to score high. Pearson has included 126 countries with as many as 90 different regional accents of test-takers’ from around the world in order to feed its automated software to detect your accent. But that said, you should pronounce words as closely as possible to the defined pronunciation in the dictionary.

Try “phonics sounds of Alphabets” to improve your pronunciation. Get your accent recognized by any of the free available text to speech analyzer. You can try “web speech analyzer” by Google too.

 The pronunciation will also be assessed out of 5.

5 Native-like
4 Advanced
3 Good
2 Intermediate
1 Intrusive
0 Non-English
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Segment 3

Great work. You now have all the essential knowledge to get set to the final step of the blog. Those will be the Tips and strategies to uncover treasure from this question type.

Students always search for a good piece of format that can bring them perfect scores in Retell lecture. I would say, there is no such thing at all. If it works for all students for the same academy, then everybody should get almost similar marks in the exam, right?

Here is the take-home advice:

Create your own structure of sentences that makes you comfortable in pronouncing. Even a simple set of sentences will work. Just get it verified by your trainers to ensure there are no grammatical mistakes. Then practice using the same template till you finish your final exam. 

Sample Re-tell lecture format:

The main topic of the lecture was on…..(Topic name)

The speaker has mentioned some significant information about k1, k2, and k3.

Furthermore, he has described some key elements like k4, k5, and k6.

In addition to that, he has also highlighted some facts about k7, k8, and k9.

In conclusion, the lecture is very accurate and informative.

Note: Here k1,k2…k9 are keywords you have found after listening to audio. So the catch here is that you are actually going to brief the audio lecture with some key information in it and not the purpose of the lecture itself.

Why So?

Trying to explain the lecture itself after 10 seconds of preparation will not be going smooth as you think. And thus, you will probably lose marks for fluency and because you may fumble speaking immediately on the topic you’ve just heard unless and until English is your first language.

So better you keep the fluency by explaining only important keywords from the lecture and amend them in a pre-defined template. So, logically, you will get marks for content as you identify keywords from a lecture. You will also gain a good score for fluency and pronunciation as you have practiced it using the same template many times. Logical, isn’t it?

So, fellas, I hope the information provided in the blog will help you to build strong Re-tell lecture strategies. We at Aspire Square, have expert faculties to help you crack your desire score with flying colors. We offer PTE, IELTS, CELPIP, and DUOLINGO online and classroom coaching services plus all sorts of immigration and study visa processes at our head office at Ahmedabad and branch offices at Baroda and Surat.

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    Written By

    Himani Dave

    Himani Dave is an IELTS and PTE tutor with over three years of experience. She is a Cambridge and Pearson IT-certified tutor and has helped hundreds of students ace the exams and achieve their dream scores. With her friendly and approachable teaching style and a knack for making even the most difficult concepts easy to grasp, she is a rockstar among peers and students.


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