Cambridge Assessment English: B1 Preliminary
Practical English for everyday use
B1 Preliminary also known as Preliminary English Test (PET) is an intermediate level qualification in English that opens the doors to opportunities for work, study and travel.

 B1 Preliminary FAQs
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  • Overview
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Real-life language skills

General and
higher education leaflet

B1 Preliminary is set at Level B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). Preparing for B1 Preliminary will give you the practical English skills to:
  • deal with everyday event.
  • read simple textbooks or magazine articles.
  • write letters on familiar subjects.
  • take notes in a lesson.
It shows that you can use English to communicate with native speakers for everyday purposes. For example, at B1 level, you can expect to:
  • understand the main points of straightforward instructions or public announcements.
  • deal with everyday situations when going out.
  • ask simple questions and take part in factual conversations with friends, family and at school.
  • write letters or make notes on familiar matters.

Preparing for B1 Preliminary gives these kinds of practical language skills.

Backed by the largest research programme of its kind, Cambridge English exams provide the most reliable reflection of your language skills.

Choose when and how you take your exam - B1 Preliminary is available as either a paper-based or computer-based exam, allowing you even more choice over how you take your test.

Cambridge English exams cover all major varieties of English and are designed to be fair to users of all nationalities and linguistic backgrounds.

Globally Accepted
More than 3,000 employers, universities and colleges, government departments and other organisations around the world rely on B1 Preliminary. It is accepted wherever a high level of English language is required.

Fast results
Get your results in just two weeks with our computer-based exams.

A Cambridge English qualification
Once you have earned a Cambridge English certificate, you hold one of the most valuable English qualifications in the world.

What does B1 Preliminary involve?
B1 Preliminary is an intermediate level assessment of English for people who want to use English for work and study situations. It consists of four papers: Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. The Speaking exam uses a face-to-face test with two candidates and two assessors. This creates a more realistic and reliable measure of your ability to use English to communicate.

B1 Preliminary has four papers:

Reading: 45 minutes
The B1 Preliminary Reading paper shows you can read and understand the main points from signs, newspapers and magazines. It has six parts and 32 questions. There are different types of texts and questions. This paper accounts for 25% of the total mark.

  Number of parts:
  Number of questions:32
  Type of questions – Reading tasks:

  • Part 1: Multiple choice short texts
    Read five real-world notices, messages and other short texts for the main message.
  • Part 2: Matching
    Match five descriptions of people to eight short texts on a particular topic, showing detailed comprehension.
  • Part 3: Multiple choice
    Read a longer text for detailed comprehension, gist, inference and global meaning, as well as writer’s attitude and opinion.
  • Part 4: Multiple choice cloze
    Read a longer text from which five sentences have been removed. Show understanding of how a coherent and well-structured text is formed.
  • Part 5: Multiple choice cloze
    Read a shorter text and choose the correct vocabulary items to complete gaps.
  • Part 6: Open cloze
    Read a shorter text and complete six gaps using one word for each gap.

Writing: 45 minutes
The B1 Preliminary Reading paper shows you can use vocabulary and structure correctly. It has two parts and 2 questions. There are different types of texts and questions. This paper accounts for 25% of the total mark.

 Number of parts:2
 Number of questions:
 Type of questions – Writing tasks:

  • Part 1: Writing an email
    Write about 100 words, answering the email and notes provided.
  • Part 2: Choice between an article or a story
    Write about 100 words, answering the question of their choosing.

Listening: 30 minutes
The B1 Preliminary Listening paper has four parts. For each part you have to listen to a recorded text or texts and answer some questions. You have to be able to follow and understand a range of spoken materials including announcements and discussions about everyday life. Each recording is heard twice. You will need to show that you can listen for gist (the main point), listen for specific information and recognise the attitudes and opinions of the speakers. You will hear individual people talking (monologues) and two people talking to each other (dialogues). This paper accounts for 25% of the total mark.

Number of parts:4
 Type of tasks:

  • Part 1: Multiple choice short texts
    Identify key information in seven short monologues or dialogues and choose the correct visual.
  • Part 2: Multiple choice short texts
    Listen to six short dialogues and understand the gist of each.
  • Part 3: Gap fill
    Listen to a monologue and complete six gaps.
  • Part 4: Multiple choice short text
    Listen to an interview for a detailed understanding of meaning and to identify attitudes and opinions.

Speaking: 12 minutes per pair of candidates
The B1 Preliminary Speaking shows how good your spoken English is as you take part in conversation by asking/answering questions and talking, for example, about your likes and dislikes. The test has four parts and will be conducted face-to-face with one or two other candidates. This makes your test more realistic and more reliable. There are two examiners. One examiner (the interlocutor) talks to you and the other examiner (the assessor) just listens. Both examiners decide your grade but the assessor gives more detailed marks than the interlocutor. The Speaking test accounts for 25% of the total mark.

 Number of parts:4
 Type of tasks:
  • Part 1: Interview
    Respond to questions, giving factual or personal information.
  • Part 2: Extended turn
    Describe one colour photograph, talking for about 1 minute.
  • Part 3: Discussion
    Make and respond to suggestions, discuss alternatives and negotiate agreement.
  • Part 4: General conversation
    Discuss likes, dislikes, experiences, opinions, habits, etc.
Choosing your Speaking Test partner
If you would like to be paired together with a friend/classmate you can request this when you register for the exam. Please note however that research has shown that there are both advantages and disadvantages in taking the test with someone you know and that in the end it doesn’t matter. What is important is that the test judges you on your own performance.
Paper and pencil tests
Try a paper-based sample B1 Preliminary exam paper.
 Download B1 Preliminary sample papers
 Download B1 Preliminary vocabulary list

Computer-based exams
Watch this Tutorial before to start
Try a Reading sample test
Try a Writing sample test
Try a Listening sample test

Information for Candidates
A guide to the exam, with an overview of what’s involved and examples of papers.
 Download Information for Candidates

Guide to exam day tips
Practical information about the session.
 Paper-based exams
 Computer-based exams

Summary Regulations for Candidates
All the important information you need to know when taking the exam.
 Download Summary regulations for candidates

Cheating warning
Cheating is treated very seriously by Cambridge English and if you cheat you will not get a result or a certificate.
 Please view this poster and make sure that you understand what it says.

Your results
If you are successful in the exam you will receive two documents: a Statement of Results and a certificate. Universities, employers and other organisations you apply to may ask you for either of these documents as proof of your English language skills.

'Statement of Results'
Your Statement of Results contains the following information:
  1. Your score on the Cambridge English Scale for each of the four skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking)
  2. Your score on the Cambridge English Scale for the overall exam
  3. Your grade (A, B, C, Level A2) for the overall exam
  4. Your CEFR level for the overall exam. Depending on which university, college or organisation you are applying to, you may be asked to achieve a specific score or grade, either overall or for a particular skill.
For B1 Preliminary for Schools, the following scores will be used to report results:
Cambridge English Scale Score
CEFR level
120-139Level A2

The exam is targeted at Level B1 of the CEFR. The examination also provides reliable assessment at the level above (Level B2) and the level below (Level A2).

Scores between 120 and 139 are also reported for B1 Preliminary. You will not receive a certificate, but your Cambridge English Scale score will be shown on your Statement of Results.

Please click on the image to the left of this text to find out the relationship between the CEFR levels, the Cambridge English Scale and the grades awarded in B1 Preliminary.

You can access your results through the
Cambridge English Results Online website.

Your certificate
If a candidate demonstrates that he/she has achieved level A2 or above of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR), one of the following certificates will be awarded:

B1 Preliminary - Level B2
Exceptional candidates sometimes show ability beyond B1 level. If you achieve an A grade in your exam, you will receive the B1 Preliminary certificate stating that you demonstrated ability at Level B2.
B1 Preliminary
If you achieve a B or C grade in your exam, you will be awarded the B1 Preliminary certificate at Level B1.
Level A2 Certificate
If your performance is below Level B1, but falls within Level A2, we will recognise your achievement with a Cambridge English certificate stating that you demonstrated ability at A2 level.

Results Verification Service
If you want a university, employer or other organisation to verify your result, you must provide them with the information on your Statement of Results and two additional pieces of information:

1.- Your ID Number (a sequence of nine letters and numbers).
2.- Your Secret Number (a four-digit number).

Both of these pieces of information can be found on your Confirmation of Entry, which you receive when you register for the exam.
They can then verify your result by logging in to
Useful resources to help you to prepare for your B1 Preliminary exam
Free Practice Tests
Computer tests
Try a computer-based sample B1 Preliminary exam paper:
Watch this Tutorial before to start
Try a Reading sample test
Try a Writing sample test
Try a Listening sample test
The CB sample test is only compatible with Mozilla Firefox. The reason is that this browser is packaged to the Connect Plus program which is used for Live Computer Based Exams. You can download Firefox for free here. Once downloaded, open Firefox and use the links below to view the tests.
Paper and pencil tests
Try a paper-based sample B1 Preliminary exam paper.
Download B1 Preliminary sample papers
Download B1 Preliminary vocabulary list
Preparation resources, games and Cambridge activities
Cambridge English resources to prepare your exam...
Online tools and materials to practice the different exam papers and to improve the candidate preparation for the test.
Social media
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Join the Cambridge English Facebook page for help with exam preparation.
Exams Catalunya YouTube Channel
Watch videos featuring English learning and exam tips on our Exams Catalunya YouTube channel
Cambridge English YouTube Channel
Watch videos featuring English learning and exam tips on Cambridge English TV YouTube channel

Visit the Cambridge English: Preliminary support page here:

Are you a private candidate?
It’s easy to register for B1 Preliminary
in just three steps:
Step 1  Find an exam date

You can take the Cambridge English exams most months of the year.
Use our online search to find an exam date.

Step 2  Complete the registration form

You can complete the exam registration form online or come to our offices to register for an exam.

Step 3  Make payment

Payment for the exam must be made before the registration deadline. If you register after the deadline a late fee of 40 Euros will be applied.
You can choose to pay for your exam via the following payment methods:

  1. By credit/debit card

    Preparation Centres may also make payments by credit card through the Exams Catalunya Online portal.

  2. By bank transfer to any of the following accounts:
    Banco Santander
    Account holder: Assessment and Certification Services, S.L.
    Account number: 0049 4754 89 2516056032
    IBAN: ES9400494754892516056032
    Banco Sabadell
    Account holder: Assessment and Certification Services, S.L.
    Account number: 0081 0053 54 0001180228
    IBAN: ES7300810053540001180228
    IMPORTANT: If you pay for your exam by bank transfer you should clearly state the name and surname/s of the candidate and the level and date of the exam session. All transfers must reach us free of bank charges or interest. Exams Catalunya will not be responsible for these charges. You must send us the payment receipt by email to so that we may trace your payment with the bank. Your place on the exam will not be confirmed until we receive a payment receipt for the exam fee.

  3. At our offices:
    Registration and payment for exams may also be made at our offices. If candidates choose this option payment should be made on registering. Payment may be made in cash, by bank transfer or credit/debit card.

    C/ Freixa, 5-9
    08021 Barcelona
    Tel: 934 111 333
    Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9am - 5pm
    The candidate may register directly or send someone to register in his/her name.
IMPORTANT: After we receive the exam registration form a confirmation of receipt will be sent to the candidate. Once the exam fees have been settled the candidate will receive confirmation that he/she is registered to take the exam.
If you do not receive confirmation of your exam registration within 3 working days please phone us on tel.: 934 111 333. You should also check that our email has not been sent to your junk/spam mail folder.