WHAT’S TESTED IN PTE ACADEMIC
SPEAKING DESCRIBE IMAGE TIPS
The purpose of this task is to assess your ability to describe an image related to an academic theme drawn from the humanities, natural sciences, or social sciences. Only speaking skills are assessed. You will see an image (a graph, picture, map, chart, or table). You will have 25 seconds to study the image. When you hear the tone, you should begin describing in detail what is shown in the image. You will have 40 seconds to give your response. There are six or seven images.
• Identify the type of image. Is it a graph, picture, map, chart, or table? The approach for handling each image type is slightly different. • Take notes if you need to. Use the Erasable Note board Booklet and pen provided. Do not write full sentences; briefly list any important features you see.
• For graphs, charts, and tables, be sure you understand what is being measured and in what units it is being reported.
• Try to determine what the main point of the image is. You should be able to answer the question, “What is the image mainly showing?”
• Maps and pictures will often have obvious features highlighted. Use words and phrases that describe the locations of features within the image, for example, on the leftjright, next to, above, below, and so on. If objects are particular colors, these may help you identify them, for example, the countries marked in yellow. The same is true for sizes and shapes, for example, the large square, the smaller circle.
• Graphs, charts, and tables often show trends or changes. Use words and phrases that describe the trend or movement. For example, increase, decrease, rise, fall, remain stable/steady, and so on. Use phrases to describe the speed at which the changes happen, for example, a sudden increase, a slow decline.
• Pie charts show proportions. The size of the “slices” indicates the relative size of whatever is being measured or counted. The actual numerical values for the slices are usually provided. Be sure to mention these values. If the slices are equally sized, say so, using words and phrases such as equal, the same, about the same, similar. If the slices are different – the usual case- use comparatives and superlatives to describe them, for example, the smaller of the two export categories, the largest group of people, the most popular option, the least common answer, and so on.
• For all graphs, charts, and tables, look for a pair of extreme values – for example, the highest and lowest, the largest and smallest, the most expensive and cheapest – identify them by name and describe them using the values for their measures or counts.
• While you are speaking, if you lose your train of thought, or find yourself at a loss for words, do not remain silent. The microphone turns off automatically if there is no sound for three seconds. lf you need to pause to think or check your notes, use pause fillers such as um, uh, Let me see, and so on. Saying something – anything – is better than saying nothing because once the microphone turns off, you cannot turn it on again.