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What is the Describe Image task?

This item tests your ability to think quickly and speak fluently in English – while under pressure. You have 25 seconds to look at an image and then you have 40 seconds to describe it. It could be a graph, table, map or picture. You will get 6 or 7 of them in the test.

If you can relax with it, PTE’s Describe image section is actually fun, but it is challenging. It would be a challenge to do it in your native language. It’s a challenge in English. Think of it as a puzzle. Do your best.

The Recording box counts down from 25 seconds during which time you should be looking at the image to pick up some basic ideas. Then there is a short tone and you need to speak for up to 40 seconds. During that time you will see a progress indicator. Your goal is to speak for more than three-quarters of the time and to have finished before the indicator stops at 40 seconds.

If you need more Describe Image examples check out this post, or log into E2 Test Prep for interactive practice questions.

What method should I use for Describe Image?

There is no time for note-taking in this item. You need to focus. Look at the top, bottom (and perhaps) the right side of the screen. Any information there can be used in your one-sentence introduction. Then note just two or three things in the picture. Usually, you can talk about ‘highest’ ‘lowest’ and one other thing. Most of the time you won’t need any more.

Finally, you need to signal your conclusion. It just needs to be one sentence and ideally it will start with clear words like ‘In conclusion’ and you can then make a prediction, give a reason or give a summary.

Intro: (One sentence – top and bottom of image usually works) 

This bar chart shows xxx.

Body: (Two or three sentences) 

The highest x … while the lowest x …  /  Another important feature is …

Conclusion: (one sentence – predict, give a reason, or provide a summary) 

In conclusion, …

If you decide to take the PTE, make sure you visit the E2 PTE YouTube channel for FREE content uploaded frequently.

How is PTE Describe Image scored?

There are three elements that make up your score.

What you say needs to be relevant to the image. It doesn’t need to be perfect and it doesn’t need to explain everything that you see. Just aim to talk about a few main points. Do your best and don’t panic.

Oral fluency:
Aim for fluency; even if your content isn’t perfect, you can do well on fluency if you speak smoothly and naturally.

Doing well in this section of describe image is all about the work you do before the test. In the test you just do your best. You will be scored on how easy your speaking is to understand and the degree to which it could be classified as ‘native-like.’

Our final pieces of advice to you

  • Don’t panic! You can do this.
  • You don’t have to be perfect. Keep calm and just do your best.
  • If you mess one up, it’s okay. Do your best on the next one.
  • If you make a mistake in content, just keep speaking. Don’t go back to correct it.
  • Do lots and lots of practice.
  • Create an E2 Test Prep PTE account, you can get started for free today! 

Do you need guidance and advice on Describe Image? Want more practice? Come and join our live classes, take a private tutorial, or work independently on our authentic, native speaker-test materials at E2 Test Prep.

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