Does speaking in English fill you full of dread? How about discussing technical graphs and images in detail for a long period of time? That is exactly what PTE’s Describe Image requires from you and, due to the technical subject matter, many students have problems with this task and can attempt it completely in the wrong manner. So PTE speaking practice guide describes exactly what the task is, outlines strategies for you to tackle it, gives you some general and specific-to-the-task speaking tips and lets you attempt some practice prompts with the information and knowledge you have acquired.

What is Describe Image?


What is the task? (Describe Image)
  • This is a long-answer item form that evaluates speaking skills and necessitates exam participants to describe an image from an academic source such as a graph, map, chart, table or picture. 
How long do you have to complete this task?
  • 40 seconds per image.
Do you have time to prepare before speaking?
  • Yes, 25 seconds per image.
How many images do you have to describe?
  • 6-7.


Here is this article’s first prompt:


Strategy 1


  • You have 25 seconds to evaluate the image. Strive to develop an understanding of the main features and trends of the image.

In the above prompt, think about the following three factors to gain an overarching understanding of your graph:

  • What is happening? 
  • Then, what are the smallest numbers? 
  • And then, what are the biggest numbers? 

Once you have done that, identify two to three main ideas represented in the graph. Here is some information that can be derived from the graph:

  • 1 – During the first 60 weeks, the songs purchased increased gradually.
  • 2 – There was a rise in week 60.
  • 3 – Sales shot up in week 90. 

Next, you want to support each idea with some information from the graph. Here are some potential responses but feel free to use your own:

  • 1 – During the first 60 weeks, the songs purchased increased gradually.
  • 2 – There was a rise in week 60.
  • 3 – Sales shot up in week 90. 


Strategy 2

It is important to use appropriate vocabulary to describe statistical information. Consider the following vocabulary when describing trends on a line graph.

Movements up: rose, grew, increased, went up

Movements down: decreased, declined, dropped, went down

Adjectives: gradual, sharp, slight, steady, sudden

Adverbs: slightly, gradually, sharply, suddenly, steadily

No movement: remained steady/stable, was unchanged, stabilised

Prepositions: from/between week 1 to/and week 6

Can you make any sentences to describe the graph with any of these phrases? Here are a few examples.

  • Between weeks 0 and 15, the amount of songs of songs purchased remained steady with little increase.
  • There was a slight rise in songs purchased between weeks 30 and 60.
  • Between weeks 135 and 150, the rate of purchase songs increased sharply.


Strategy 3 

Let’s now put it all together into a coherent logical structure.

Introduction: The graph shows/displays the number of iTunes songs bought…In this graph, we can see the number of iTunes songs purchased…The photo/image shows a (scene/buildings, place) from a distance.

Main Body: Take your 2/3 features and describe with the relevant vocabulary discussed.

Conclusion: The information indicates… From the chart/graph, we can conclude that… In summary, the chart/graph, picture has illustrated…

Take this information away and attempt your own response at this line-graph prompt.

Further Practice

Here is a picture, pie-chart and line graph to attempt in your own time and presents good practice for the implementation of the strategical process for this task.

Wrapping up

Were you able to use these strategies? Which PTE Speaking practice questions were the most difficult? And which tips did you find the most useful? Please let us know any comments and suggestions.

Remember, practicing with these strategies with each summarization will eventually routinize to the point that you may use them on autopilot. Check out the other PTE review materials and resources on Swoosh English for even more practice that can help you get a higher score.  I wish you all these best with your PTE Describe Image section.