B1 Preliminary (PET)

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What is the B1 Preliminary?

B1 Preliminary, also known as Preliminary (PET), is the natural progression after your A2 qualification. It proves you now have practical language skills for everyday use as when travelling for example. It is aligned with the Common European Framework of Reference

At B1, you should be able to:

  • understand the main points of straightforward instructions or public announcements
  • deal with most of the situations they might meet when travelling as a tourist in an English-speaking country
  • ask simple questions and take part in factual conversations in a work environment
  • write letters/emails or make notes on familiar matters

A B1 Preliminary qualification proves that students have mastered the basics of English

Is B1 Preliminary for me?

In Portugal B1 is aligned with the 9º ano according to the Metas Curriculares de Inglês. In some cases, strong 7º and 8º ano students with the necessary background take B1 Preliminary. However, they should opt for the “for Schools” version of the test.

Read more about the difference between the for Schools (fS) and standard versions of the exams.

Adults decide to prepare for and take B1 Preliminary mainly if they have acquired English language skills in the workplace or need to use it in areas such as hospitality, as proof of their language ability. This exam is the logical step in your language learning journey between A2 Key and B2 First.

Are not sure if this exam is for you? Test current English level.

What is the structure of the exam?

There are four parts:


  • Duration: 45 minutes
  • Content: 6 parts with 32 questions
  • Percentage of total marks: 25%
  • Purpose: Shows you can read and understand the main points from signs, newspapers and magazines.


  • Duration: 45
  • Content: 2 parts with 2 questions
  • Percentage of total marks: 25%
  • Purpose: Shows you can use vocabulary and structure correctly.


  • Duration: 30 minutes including 6 minutes of transfer time for paper-based exams
  • Content: 4 parts with 25 questions
  • Percentage of total marks: 25%
  • Purpose: You have to be able to follow and understand a range of spoken materials including announcements and discussions about everyday life.


  • Duration: 10 to 12 minutes per pair of candidates; 15 to 17 minutes per group of three
  • Content: 4 parts
  • Percentage of total marks: 25%
  • Purpose: Shows how good your spoken English is as you take part in the conversation by asking/answering questions and talking, for example, about your likes and dislikes. Your Speaking test will be face-to-face with one or two other candidates and two examiners. One of the examiners talks to you and the other examiner listens. This makes your test more realistic and more reliable.

This last part is done with two examiners and another candidate.

Depending on the date and format you choose it may be on a computer or on paper.

Preparation material

Feel free to browse our range of official preparation materials and also the Cambridge English free resources and samples.

More information

Computer Vs Paper. What’s the difference?

Computer based testing

B1 Preliminary | Cambridge English

Next exam sessions

Enrolment open
Paper Based
Exam date - Saturday, 23 November 2024
Estoril, Lisboa, Portugal
Enrolment Deadline - Thursday, 17 October 2024, late enrolment deadline - Saturday, 16 November 2024 (+55.00 €)
Paper Based
Exam date - Thursday, 5 December 2024
Estoril, Lisboa, Portugal
Enrolment Deadline - Thursday, 31 October 2024, late enrolment deadline - Thursday, 28 November 2024 (+55.00 €)
See more
Enrolment open

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