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B1 Preliminary for Schools

Exam format

B1 Preliminary for Schools is made up of three papers developed to test students’ English skills. You can see exactly what’s in each paper below.

Paper

Content

Marks (% of total)

Purpose

Reading and Writing
(1 hour 30 minutes)
See sample paper

9 parts/ 56 questions

50%

Shows a student can understand simple written information such as signs, brochures, newspapers and magazines. They will also have to fill gaps in simple sentences and write a short message or note.

Listening
(36 minutes including 6 minutes' transfer time)
See sample paper

4 parts/ 25 questions

25%

Students need to show they can understand the meaning of a range of recorded spoken material, including announcements, interviews and discussions about everyday life. They will also need to be able to understand the attitudes and intentions of the speakers.

Speaking
(10–12 minutes per pair of candidates)
See sample paper

4 parts/ 56 questions

25%

Students take part in a conversation, asking and answering questions, and talking freely about their likes and dislikes. They take the Speaking test with another candidate or in a group of three.

What’s in the Reading and Writing paper?

The B1 Preliminary for Schools Reading and Writing paper has five parts for Reading and three parts for Writing. There are different types of text and questions.

Summary

Time allowed:

1 hour 30 minutes

Number of parts:

Reading: 5; Writing: 3 

Number of questions:

Reading: 35; Writing: 7

Marks:

50% of total

Reading Part 1 (Multiple choice)

What's in Part 1?

Five very short texts (they may be signs and messages, postcards, notes, emails, labels, etc.). Students have to read them and answer a question choosing one of the three options (A, B or C). 

What does the student have to practise?

Reading notices and other short texts to understand the main message.

How many questions are there?

How many marks are there?

One mark for each correct answer.

Reading Part 2 (Matching)

What's in Part 2?

Five short descriptions of people and eight short texts to read. Students have to match each person to a text.

What does the student have to practise?

Reading a lot of short texts to find specific information.

How many questions are there?

How many marks are there?

One mark for each correct answer. 

Reading Part 3 (True/False)

What's in Part 3?

A long text and 10 sentences about the text. Students have to read the text and say if each sentence is true or false.

What does the student have to practise?

Reading a text quickly to find some information.

How many questions are there?

10

How many marks are there?

One mark for each correct answer.

Reading Part 4 (Multiple choice)

What's in Part 4?

A long text and five questions. Students have to read the text and choose the right answer (A, B, C or D) for each of the five questions. 

What does the student have to practise?

Reading to understand the detail of a text.

How many questions are there?

How many marks are there?

One mark for each correct answer.

Reading Part 5 (Multiple-choice cloze)

What's in Part 5?

A short text with 10 numbered spaces. Each space represents a missing word and students have to choose the right answer from a choice of four (A, B, C or D). 

What does the student have to practise?

Understanding vocabulary and grammar.

How many questions are there?

10 

How many marks are there?

One mark for each correct answer.

Writing Part 1 (Sentence transformations)

What's in Part 1?

Five questions which are all about the same theme. For each question there is one complete sentence and a second sentence which has a missing word or words. Students have to complete the second sentence so that it means the same as the first sentence.

What does the student have to practise?

How to say the same thing in different ways in English, e.g. ‘not warm enough’ means the same as ‘too cold’.

How many questions are there?

How many marks are there?

One mark for each correct answer.

Writing Part 2 (Communicative message) (Open cloze)

What's in Part 2?

The instructions tell students who to write to and what they should write (a postcard, note, email, etc.).

What does the student have to practise?

Writing short messages.

How many questions are there?

1

How many words does the student have to write?

35–45 words

How many marks are there?

This question has a total of 5 marks.

Writing Part 3 (Continuous writing)

What's in Part 3?

Students have a choice of two questions: an informal letter (for example, to a friend) or a story.

What does the student have to practise?

Writing letters and stories.

How many questions are there?

1

How many words does the student have to write?

About 100 words

How many marks are there?

This question has a total of 15 marks.