PTE, Articles, PTE Speaking

Getting Started with the PTE Describe Image Question

The describe image section of the PTE Academic may seem like one of the easiest, but it’s actually one of the more difficult question types to get just right. The main reason for that is because you have a very short amount of time (25 seconds) to review the information you’re given and then another short period of time (40 seconds) to record your description of the image on the screen. But with the right plan in place ahead of time, you may be able to better prepare for the describe image question type of PTE speaking section.

Step 1: Look At the Top of the Chart

The first thing you should do when you sit down is look at the top of the chart. This is where the title is and that’s one of the important components that you want to mention when you describe the image. Read through the title and make sure you understand what it actually says.

Step 2: Look at the Axes

The bottom of the chart and the left-hand side of the chart are going to tell you the two factors that are being measured if it’s a graph. If it’s a table, you’ll find the axes on the left-hand side and along the top, under the title. These factors are also important when you’re describing the image.

Step 3: Look at the Chart

Check the main part of the chart at this point. You’ll want to look for the largest number (or highest mark on a graph) and the lowest number (or lowest mark on a graph). These are two of the most important factors for you to mention when it’s time to describe the image. You’ll also want to find one other point to mention, whether it’s a cluster at one end or the other (high or low) or a median number.

Step 4: Determine a Conclusion

The final piece that you’ll need when you describe your image is a conclusion. The conclusion could be a summary of the information on the graph or a prediction based on what you see in the table. You can analyze and draw conclusions of your own from the information as long as you can present it quickly and clearly.

Step 5: Prepare Yourself

You only get 25 seconds to look at each of these different points. That means you need to know where each of the first few are located to make sure you know the points you need to make. You also need to be able to draw a conclusion quickly without compromising the information. During your 25 seconds you want to be as prepared as possible so you’re not trying to figure out what to say while you’re saying it in the second part of this module.

Step 6: Get it Out

The final part of the module is the 40 seconds that you get to talk about each of the different points we mentioned above. During this 40 seconds you need to highlight each of these areas, but you also need to make sure that you keep your voice clear and even. You don’t want to get too nervous or anxious because it could cause you to speak too quickly. You also don’t want to speak too slowly as this could cause you to run out of time.

What to Keep in Mind

It’s important to keep in mind that you are being scored on your ability to speak and describe something like a native speaker. You need to have a good tone and phrasing as well as intonation and description. But you don’t need to spend too much time trying to describe what you see or what the graph explains. If you try to put too much detail in, you might run out of time.

Take a look at the PTE speaking describe image examples and practice questions we have available to get a better idea of the PTE describe images section. You’ll find plenty of different charts and graphs of different styles that can help you understand what you need to focus on and where you’ll be able to get the best score. That way, the PTE speaking describe image format won’t be too difficult.

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