PTE Speaking Test: Tips and Techniques-Part 3


07 Jan, 2020

Describe Image

What is the task?

A diagram or graphical representation of information will be given to you. You will have time to look at it, following which you will have to speak into the microphone, describing what is conveyed by the image. There will be 6-7 such tasks. The purpose of the task is to test your ability to comprehend information presented in graphical form (rather than just verbally), and to summarise the most important information.

Tips and Techniques

A. Types of images: There are generally 2 types of images that usually appear in the task.

  • Diagram – a diagram is a type of image in which a particular phenomenon, object, or scene will be illustrated. There may or may not be words labelling certain parts of the diagram (if there are such words, you should use them while describing the image).
  • Graphical representation – such an image represents data about a subject in such a way that the data and the relationships between the data can be seen in a single image. There are various kinds of graphical representations including:
    • Bar graph – it appears in the form of thick bar(s) standing on one axis, and parallel to the other axis.
    • Line graph – it appears in the form of a line connecting points between the 2 axes.
    • Pie chart – it appears in the form of a circle, divided into segments (like a pie!), where each segment represents an element of the whole.
  • In order to figure out how these graphical representations work, refer to mock tests.

B. How to describe the image?

  • Your description of the image must be well-structured, in order to summarise it accurately. The following is an example of such a structure, based on which the necessary information can be found, organised and then spoken:
    • What type of image is it? (see point a.)
    • What is the image talking about or what is it showing? (i.e. the topic of the image)
    • What are the main elements of the image? – describe the elements briefly (if necessary to understanding the information given by the image)
    • How are the elements connected? – some ways they could be connected include comparison (e.g. object A is bigger than object B), or causal relationship (e.g. event A causes event B)
  • To help understand the importance of having a structure, imagine that there is a person listening to you describing the image – you must describe the image in such a way that the person gets all the information he would require to understand what the image is portraying, even though he cannot see the image himself.

C. Take notes: During the time given to examine the image, take note of the information organised according to the structure given above. As you will not be given a lot of time, take down the information in point-form only – even single words will suffice, so long as you understand what you have written.

D. Time limit:

  • The first 2 points in the given structure should be described within the first 10 seconds, with the remaining 30 seconds left to describe the other important details.
  • In order to finish within the given time-limit, avoid giving unnecessary details about the image – unnecessary details are those which will not reveal anything important about the main topic of the image.