One of the key language skills is the ability to look at a visual and understand it and describe it to others. In your studies or in your work you will often find yourself in situations where you have to interpret visual data. For e.g. you might be required to make a presentation, with some graphs and charts in it. Or you might have to understand a map and explain it to others.

This is essentially what the PTE Describe Image question type is about. You will see an image on your screen and then describe what it is about. The software will assess your response on a number of parameters.

The question type can appear quite daunting in the beginning, but with a well-developed strategy and well-practiced method and templates, you can soon start to do very well in it.

Let’s look at the basics!

Number of questions5~6
ScoringContributes to your speaking score.
Negative markingNo
Time to answer30~40 seconds to understand the image and prepare your response

30~40 seconds to record your response

You will find a variety of images in your exam. The most common types are:

  1. Pie-charts
  2. Bar graphs
  3. Line graphs
  4. Maps
  5. System diagrams
  6. Process diagrams
  7. Photos
  8. Table
  9. Mixed type images

Mixed type images are graphics that contain multiple image types. For example, a question that has a bar graph as well as a table.

Your score in these PTE Describe Image questions will depend upon how well you are able to identify the key information in the image and then how well you frame that in your response.

You can find plenty of academic images in business and economic sections of newspapers such as The Australian.

PTE Describe Image MethodIt is important that you speak about the key information in the image. This is not a test of your analytical skills, so don’t worry about capturing each and everything.

Your response to PTE Describe Image questions should follow a proper structure and your speaking should display good quality of pronunciation and fluency.

In our PTE coaching program, we go through each and every point in detail.

  1. In the 30~40 seconds that you have, first of all try to understand the overall theme of the image. This will give you your opening sentence.
  2. Next, capture 2~3 main points. These are the points that capture the key trends, the comparisons, the highs and the lows of the image.
  3. Finally, if you have some time, give a smart insight as your conclusion. If you are running out of things to speak, you can give a general conclusion corresponding to the image type.

PTE Read Aloud Tips and Tricks

The describe image question type is something, which with sufficient practice can ensure you a high score in the PTE exam.

Don’t get lost in details

Too many test takers try so hard to capture each and every detail in the image that they lose focus and fail to deliver a strong response. You don’t have to sound like someone who is confused and, in a hurry, to read a long list of points. Capture a few points, connect them properly and deliver them in a well-structured response. That will get you a much better score.

Speak at the right

Some of you think speaking too fast is all you need to do to achieve a high speaking score. Others think speaking slow and putting a lot of stress on each word is needed.

However, what is most important is that you speak naturally! What is natural coming from you might not be the same for someone else.

So, you must practice, practice and practice to determine what is the optimal speed at which you should speak to sound most natural.

Give a structured response

Your response to PTE Describe Image questions should have a well-defined beginning, a middle part and a conclusion if possible. It shouldn’t be like someone has taken separate sentences and is just reading them one after. The points should follow each other naturally and should be well connected grammatically.

Use templates with care

Template answers to PTE Describe Image questions give you a good way of structuring your response. Since you already know how to begin and end your response, you won’t have to spend time figuring that out. The mistake that test takers make is – they don’t use the templates properly. For example – don’t use the same template for each describe image question which says – “This image describes…”. Instead try to have different templates for each describe image type question. This will make your response much more targeted, giving you a better score.

Get timed practice

Always make sure that you practice only in a timed environment. Responding to a describe image question in 2 minutes is very different from responding in 40 seconds. The quality of your response depends directly on the time you spend. So, if you want the best outcome form your practice, keep a timer near you.

Take this FREE Practice Test to experience Describe Image questions in a software just like the one in PTE Exam.