B1 Preliminary

Exam format

B1 Preliminary is made up of three papers developed to test your 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

Reading: 5 parts/ 35 questions Writing: 3 parts/ 7 questions

50%

Shows you can read and understand the main points from signs, newspapers and magazines, and can use vocabulary and structure correctly.

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

4 parts/ 25 questions

25%

You have to be able to follow and understand a range of spoken materials including announcements and discussions about everyday life.

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

4 parts/ 56 questions

25%

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. Your Speaking test will be conducted face to face with one or two other candidates and two examiners. This makes your test more realistic and more reliable.

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.). You have to read them and choose which of the three sentences (A, B or C) is the best description of the text.

What do I have to practise?

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

How many questions are there?

1

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. You have to match each person to a text.

What do I have to practise?

Reading eight 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. You have to read the text and say if each sentence is true or false.

What do I have to practise?

Reading a text quickly to find out 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. You have to read the text and choose the right answer (A, B, C or D) for each of the five questions. 

What do I 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 you have to choose the right answer from a choice of four (A, B, C or D). 

What do I 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. You have to complete the second sentence so that it means the same as the first sentence.

What do I 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 you who to write to and what you should write (a postcard, note, email, etc.).

What do I have to practise?

Writing short messages.

How many questions are there?

1

How much do I 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?

You have a choice of two questions: an informal letter or a story.

What do I have to practise?

Writing letters and stories.

How many questions are there?

1

How much do I have to write?

About 100 words

How many marks are there?

This question has a total of 15 marks.