Conquering PTE Speaking Describe Image: A Strategic Approach

PTE Speaking
  • The Dreaded Task: PTE Speaking Describe Image is often feared among the 20 tasks in the PTE Academic Test.
  • Action Over Fear: Dwelling on your fears without taking action won’t yield results. Remember, “Thinking Will Not Overcome Fear, But Action Will.”
  • Our Mission: We aim to help you overcome your fears regarding the PTE Academic exam. While you might already be using various tips and strategies, we’ll show you how to effectively apply them and identify what works best for you. Let’s begin by listing these tips.

Effective Strategies

  1. Scoring Method and Criteria Awareness: Thoroughly understand the Scoring Method and Criteria, including all the tested subskills.
  2. Time Management: Keep track of your speaking time and focus on presenting only the main ideas.
  3. Structured Responses: Employ a structured approach to simplify the task.
  4. Image Types Familiarity: Be well-acquainted with the different types of images typically presented.
  5. Vocabulary Utilization: Use diverse vocabulary, especially statistical terms, suitable for charts, graphs, maps, diagrams, and more.
  6. Trend Description: Learn to describe trends effectively and emphasize key image points.
  7. Word Variation: Don’t feel compelled to use the same words as in the image. For example, employ terms like “quarter,” “half,” or “nearly double” when discussing percentages.

Subskills Assessment


  • Content, Pronunciation, and Oral Fluency: While this task primarily assesses speaking skills, it hones in on three essential subskills: Content, Pronunciation, and Oral Fluency.
  • Accent Neutrality: Your native English accent is not a priority; clear pronunciation is. Avoid prolonged pauses and filler words, as they can negatively impact your score.


Logical Explanation


  • The Essentials: Regardless of your accent, a logical explanation is crucial.
  • Pronunciation Clarity: Clear pronunciation takes precedence over accent.
  • Timing Matters: Avoid long pauses and filler words; they can harm your score.

Crafting a Winning Response


  1. Introduction: Start with an introduction that presents the topic and the image.
  2. Main Points: Focus on presenting the main ideas, emphasizing trends and significant data points.
  3. Conclusion: Summarize your observations concisely in the conclusion.

Succeeding with Graphs

  • Key Element Identification: Quickly spot essential elements such as axes, data points, and labels.
  • Graph Description: Begin by explaining the graph’s purpose, e.g., “This bar chart illustrates…”
  • Trend Emphasis: Highlight significant trends, e.g., “The data reveals a steady increase in…”
  • Vocabulary Utilization: Employ specialized vocabulary when necessary, particularly for percentages, comparisons, and specific data points.
  • Concise Closure: Conclude your response succinctly, e.g., “In conclusion, it is evident that…”

Additional Tips

  • Erasable Notepad Usage: Utilize an erasable notepad to jot down ideas or create shorthand sketches.
  • Measurement Awareness: Understand the units of measure or entities being measured and mention them accurately.
  • Vocabulary Variety: For pie charts, tables, maps, and processes, diversify your vocabulary to match the context.

Time Management

  • Stay Aware: Maintain awareness of your speaking time.
  • Countdown Awareness: You have 25 seconds to study the image before a brief tone signals the start of your 40-second speaking time.
  • Beep Significance: Do not speak before the beep, as your response won’t be recorded.
  • Completion Deadline: Ensure you finish your response before the progress bar reaches ‘completed’ status.

Diverse Vocabulary

  • Explore Diversity: Experiment with diverse vocabulary, especially statistical terminology suitable for various image types.

Describing Trends

  • Graph Emphasis: Pay attention to the X and Y axes and stress any evident trends.

Variety in Expression

  • Enhance Content: Use different words to convey the same ideas effectively.

Practice and Feedback

  • Continuous Improvement: Regularly practice with these tips and utilize feedback from assessment services to enhance your speaking responses.

Now that you’ve familiarized yourself with the format and gained a sense of the question, the crucial inquiry remains: How should you effectively articulate an image description? Is there an ideal or standardized approach?

In all honesty, there exists a structure that can become second nature to you, allowing you to consistently handle this task proficiently. The concept is straightforward. Consider how, in everyday conversations, you naturally introduce a topic, discuss its key points, and then conclude. This is something we do unconsciously. So, the next time you practice, pay close attention. The key steps involve introducing the topic, elucidating the main trends or highlighting key aspects, and concluding.

Smart Tip: Employ specific vocabulary that signifies whether you are introducing, concluding, or emphasizing key points. For instance:

  • The Line graph illustrates that…
  • The Bar Graph portrays…

Understanding Image Types: It’s essential to recognize the various image types you might encounter, including Bar Graphs, Line Graphs, Pie Charts, Demographic Charts, Organizational Charts, Venn Diagrams, Tables, Maps, Pictures, Flowcharts, Life Cycles, and others.

In the Describe Image Task of PTE Speaking, you may encounter instances where two of these types are combined into a single question, with both being related. In such cases, you must respond accordingly.

In our forthcoming discussions, we will delve into each image type within this task category. We’ll explore the recommended structure for describing them, suitable vocabulary, and styles for various scenarios. While there are no shortcuts to achieving a perfect score, these strategies can certainly alleviate the task’s level of difficulty.

Familiarize Yourself with Varied Terminology, Particularly Statistical Language Applicable to Charts, Graphs, Maps, Diagrams, and Similar Visuals…

Out of the 6-7 images presented, you are likely to encounter graphs or charts, which predominantly present statistical data. Pay close attention to the X and Y axes. Furthermore, it’s crucial to elucidate any discernible trends.

For example:


Regarding graph

  • For pie charts, you have the opportunity to employ comparative and superlative vocabulary. For instance, you can use terms like “largest of all,” “least famous in the group,” or “smaller than the other two.”
  • When describing tables, you will frequently encounter comparisons between two or even multiple entities. The nature and quantity of comparisons can vary depending on the information presented in the question.
  • In the case of map images, you can leverage geographical aspects, including locations, directions (such as East, West, North, and South), and even shapes to enhance your description. If the map is in color, you can provide specific details using colors.
  • When dealing with process diagrams, the task is relatively straightforward: describe the process step by step according to its flow.


Master the Art of Depicting Trends and Employ Language to Highlight Crucial Aspects of the Visual Representation.


Now that we’ve introduced the concept of describing trends, let’s delve into the specific techniques for doing so effectively.

Let’s closely examine this graph depicting a Yearly Comparison of Monthly Expenses. It features three colored lines: red, blue, and yellow, representing Online Mobile Recharge, Online Food Ordering, and Online Ticket Booking. The X-axis denotes the years, specifically 2015, 2016, and 2017, while the Y-axis signifies the prices in Rupees (Rs.).

Notice the orange line, which descends from 2015 to 2016 and then ascends from 2016 to 2017. This constitutes a discernible trend. You can describe it by stating that the annual expenditure on Online Food Ordering experienced a rapid decline until 2016, followed by a steady increase in 2016-2017.


Similarly, observe the blue line representing Online Mobile Recharge. You can articulate, “The monthly expenses for Online Mobile Recharge consistently decreased over the three years, starting from 2015 and reaching less than 400 rupees in 2017.”

As for the Yellow line, you can characterize the trend by explaining, “Between 2015 and 2016, the Monthly Expenses for Online Ticket Booking exhibited gradual growth, followed by a sharp increase.”

There’s no obligation to consistently employ identical terminology as depicted in the visual representation. For instance, when conveying percentages, you have the flexibility to utilize terms such as “quarter,” “half,” “nearly double,” and similar expressions.

What we’re emphasizing here is that, in order to score well on content, strive to elucidate key points using a diverse vocabulary. By vocabulary, we don’t imply overly intricate words; rather, we’re referring to the variety of ways you can articulate the same concepts. Allow us to clarify with an example.

Graph 3

The provided Pie chart illustrates people’s preferred modes of commuting, comprising Metro (depicted in blue), Car (in orange), Bike (in yellow), and Local Bus (in green). Upon a careful examination of the pie chart, it becomes evident that the Metro garners the highest percentage at 42%, while the combined percentage for Bike and Local Bus stands at 24% + 23% = 47%. In the context of describing this, you could express it as follows:

“As evident from the data presented in the pie chart, the majority of individuals opt for the Metro as their preferred mode of commute. It’s noteworthy that the percentages for those who choose to commute via Bike and Local Bus are almost identical, namely 24% and 23%, respectively. This observation highlights that the number of people utilizing the Metro is equivalent to the combined count of those using Bike and Local Bus, leaving a smaller portion, approximately 11%, who prefer commuting by car.”

The key takeaway is the necessity to articulate your response with precision, a well-structured approach, fluency, and accurate pronunciation. It’s important to note that a specific accent is not required, as the PTE Assessor employs advanced technology and an intelligent system with a wide range of accent inputs for word interpretation. Concentrate on the aforementioned points and be sure to incorporate the tips we’ve provided.

We understand that self-evaluation can be challenging, often leading to the oversight of minor errors or difficulties in identifying repeated patterns. Therefore, it’s crucial to practice with these guidelines consistently and utilize the feedback obtained from services to enhance your speaking responses.

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