doctorielts | PTE Speaking – talking about lots of data in Describe Image
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PTE Speaking – talking about lots of data in Describe Image


PTE Speaking – talking about lots of data in Describe Image

We frequently hear PTE candidates provide too much information in Describe Image when we assess or train them.

While some graphs give many categories and numbers, sometimes 10, 15, or even 20 of them, it is crucial to avoid trying to describe them all.  There are three main reasons for this:

  1. Perhaps most importantly, attempting to describe everything in 40 seconds forces you to hurry, causing you to speak quickly.  As we mentioned in a previous post on Read Aloud, this results in you mispronouncing sounds and your voice sounding flat, and this negatively affects your Pronunciation and Oral Fluency, which represent two thirds of your total score.
  2. Saying too much leads to poor organisation, confusion, and even incoherence.  This means you are unable to highlight key content features, which lowers the other third of your score: Content.
  3. Finally, by doing this, you run the very serious risk of not including a clear and relevant conclusion, which PTE explicitly requires.  This can lead to a score of 1 or 0 for Content.


To eliminate these problems when presented with a lot of data and improve your performance in Describe Image, you should:

  • Reduce how much you say – use your 25 second preparation time to quickly identify an obvious conclusion statement, and around three key elements.
  • Use clear, simple sentences – organise your description into around five relatively simple sentences, including an introduction based on the title of the graph
  • Have a easily recognisable conclusion – make sure your final sentences contains a clear conclusion statement, beginning with a word like ‘Overall’
  • Focus on pronunciation and fluency – avoid words you can’t pronounce properly and use those you comfortably can, while at the same time speak at your natural speed, emphasising key words and numbers and leaving clear pauses between sentences.  Ensure figures are pronounced accurately.


Look at the chart below along with its description, noting the key features identified and the simple organisation of the sentences.  Then listen to the description and pay attention to the speed, pronunciation and fluency.


“The graph shows the most populous urban regions in the world.  Tokyo has by far the highest population at 35 million people.  It is followed by Mexico City at 20 million, while the figures for New York, Sao Paulo and Mumbai are all slightly lower.  The remaining cities range between 15 and 12.5 million, with Buenos Aires being the lowest.  Overall, it is clear that the majority of the world’s most populated cities are in developing nations.”

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