How to Ace the PTE Academic - Describe Image

How to Ace the PTE Academic - Describe Image

By Admin / Apr 25, 2019

In the Speaking section of PTE Academic, the third item type is the Describe Image. It tests your ability to describe the important points of a given image in a limited amount of time. If you've prepared well, you'll find it as the easiest portion of the Speaking section. All you need to know is some tips and tricks to ace this question type.
You get 25 seconds to prepare during which you can jot down a few key points from the given image, and once you hear the beep tone you have to start describing the image for 40 Seconds. For describing it like a pro, you need to be well-prepared with the defined structure of describing the image.


In the exam, you can get several kinds of images such as line graphs, bar graphs, maps, tables, pie charts, Venn diagrams, pictures, or flowcharts. You will need to know how each one illustrates data graphically. In other words, you should know how to read them.


To start with, let's take a look at what PTE wants from the test takers. The PTE evaluation algorithm will check your content, pronunciation and oral fluency for this item type. A correct description of any image or graph comprises the vital three components -introduction, description of key points, and the conclusion. If you structure or divide your response into these three points while describing, you will definitely get a nice score because it will help you become more fluent and remove hesitations (because you will know what to speak next).

The format you should follow to describe the image:

  • Introduction: The given (kind of image, e.g. bar graph, line graph) represents/shows/displays/ depicts … (mention the title and then the X-axis and Y-axis, or what the image is all about)
  •  Highlight Key Points: Target and compare the highest and the lowest points or quantity with each other. State their relationship or any other important point. If it is an image describe the most important things that you see using the 5W's and 1H (who, what, where, why, when and how).
  • Conclusion: Wrap up with a strong conclusion stating the overall trend or implication.

Do's and Don'ts:

  • Prepare and practice over and again to gain the required momentum and fluency
  • Divide your time for speaking:
    • 10 seconds for induction (1 sentence)
    • 20 seconds for highlighting key points (3-4 sentences)
    • 6 seconds for conclusion (1 sentence)
  • Stop when the recording progress indicator reaches 34-35 seconds instead speaking for entire 40 seconds.
  • Cover all the important aspects of the image. This doesn't mean you have to describe everything you see. Select, Analyze and Speak.
  • Be natural.


  • Avoid adding 'err' and 'umm' while speaking. Although they are fine for filling in the gap, but overusing them will affect your score in oral fluency and lower your overall marks.
  • Avoid making grammatical and vocabulary mistakes while speaking.
  • Avoid repeating yourself when you realize that you've made a mistake.
  • Don't assume anything or add something that you know. Describe what you see.
  • Don't add any vague information

The 'describe an image' task is easy when you practice it well. Although a lot of test takers face issues describing it accurately, you must remember that you have to be logical while describing what you see.  You shouldn't just concern yourselves with just completing the task, but also about doing it right!
However, you must remember that Content is Supreme! Focus on what the image is trying to depict. Ensure that you take notes and try to frame sentences using key words and ideas that seem helpful. You should also use relevant terms while describing images.

When you have to describe an image, keep your rate of speech moderate. Next, make sure you have a rhythm in speech: there should be smooth flow of words and you must speak at a steady pace. You don't need an accent, be natural.PTE Academic takes into consideration the accents of speakers from the several different regions. As long as it is clear and understandable, you're good to go.
But a little help from someone doesn't do any harm. If you need someone to assess your speaking or help you speak well, you can join any PTE coaching center that can assist you to score well in PTE. But choose the one that offers you not only PTE classes, but also PTE online tests so that you can ace the test with more practice. Find a BetterThink center near you to receive excellent training!
To summarize, there are no shortcuts to achieve high scores unless you do focused practice with the excellent test material. It will help you know the task and ace it. Practice is the key! So, prepare well and master the stroke.
All the best!

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Last updated on : Jun 17, 2024