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B1 Preliminary

B1 Preliminary, formerly known as Cambridge English: Preliminary (PET), is one of our Cambridge English Qualifications. It is the English language exam that shows you have mastered the basics.


A B1 Preliminary qualification shows that you have mastered the basics of English and now have practical language skills for everyday use.

This exam is the logical step in your language learning journey between A2 Key and B2 First.

Key facts

CEFR level: B1 What's this?

Scale score: 140–159  What’s this?

Test format: Computer or paper-based

No. of papers: 3

Exam length: About 2 hours 20 minutes

Exam updates 2020

To make sure our exams are up to date with the latest research in language learning and teaching, we update them regularly. A2 Key, A2 Key for Schools, B1 Preliminary and B1 Preliminary for Schools have undergone a thorough review to ensure that our exams continue to remain relevant to the needs of schools and learners.

The new exam formats will start being used from January 2020. The changes include:

  • new and updated tasks across all of the papers
  • better alignment between the exams, showing clearer progression from one exam to the next
  • an update to the way that grades are reported, bringing the exams in line with higher level Cambridge English Qualifications
  • the separation of the Reading and Writing papers in B1 Preliminary and B1 Preliminary for Schools.

You can find out more about the changes, including information on preparation materials, on our dedicated Key and Preliminary 2020 update website. You can also sign up to receive information and updates about the changes to the exams.

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A B1 Preliminary qualification shows that a student can:
  • read simple textbooks and articles in English
  • write letters and emails on everyday subjects
  • take meeting notes
  • show awareness of opinions and mood in spoken and written English.
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Reasons to choose B1 Preliminary:
  • Develop your ability to communicate in English for practical tasks and situations.
  • Gain a valuable qualification that is accepted worldwide.
  • Improve your work, study and travel prospects.