Practical English for everyday use

Cambridge English: Preliminary, also known as Preliminary English Test (PET), is an intermediate level qualification. It shows you are able to use your English language skills for work, study and travel, and that you can use English to communicate with native speakers for everyday purposes. The exam will help you improve your language skills so you can:

  • deal with everyday events
  • read simple textbooks or magazine articles
  • write letters on familiar subjects
  • take notes in a meeting.

What level is Cambridge English: Preliminary?

Cambridge English: Preliminary is set at Level B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). Reaching this level means you can:

  • understand the main points of straightforward instructions or public announcements
  • deal with most of the situations you 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

What is assessed in Cambridge English: Preliminary?

The exam consists of three papers:


Reading and Writing



Time allowed

1 hour 30 min.

36 min., including 6 minutes' transfer time

10-12 minutes per pair of candidates


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

4 parts / 25 questions

4 parts


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

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

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.

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