PTE Academic Mastery: Describe Image

The Describe Image question assesses speaking skills, and requires you to describe an image from an academic source such as a graph, map, chart, table or picture.

Number of items 6-7
Time to answer 40 seconds
Scoring Partial credit
Communicative skills, enabling skills and other traits scored Speaking

Oral fluency, pronunciation


Subskills tested Speaking: Speaking for a purpose (to repeat, to inform, to explain); supporting an opinion with details, examples and explanations; organizing an oral presentation in a logical way; developing complex ideas within a spoken discourse; using words and phrases appropriate to the context; using correct grammar; speaking at a natural rate; producing fluent speech; using correct intonation; using correct pronunciation; using correct stress; speaking under timed conditions.
  1. Learn how to interpret a graph and study its various types. Basic knowledge about graphs is enough to make simple interpretations. You must know the X and Y axes and the different types of graphs such as line graph, bar graph, pie graph, etc. Also, the image can be a chart, process diagram or simply, a picture.
  2. The task will give you 25 seconds to study the graph and its trends before the microphone opens. Use this time to look for the most obvious and striking features. Practice this method so that the graph will not look like a complex puzzle to you.
  3. Structure a complete and logical description. An ideal description has an introduction, body and conclusion. The body must contain at least two significant points or features.
  4. Identify the extremes. The areas of a graph that are usually easier to define are the highest and lowest points and the largest and smallest chunks. An example description for a demographic graph is, “The country with the highest population is…; while the country with lowest population is…”
  5. Make use of the words commonly used to describe a graph.

Intro: “The graph shows/ represents/ illustrates/ projects/ indicates/ depicts/ reveals…”

Movement: increased, decreased, has risen, lowered down, dropped, has grown

Presenting features: “It is interesting to note…”, “It seems surprising…”, Meanwhile…”


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