B1 Preliminary Exam - Information & Structure Of The Exam

Go to B1 Preliminary section to find exercises to help you prepare for the exam.

1. B1 Preliminary Exam: Overview

Paper Content Duration
Paper 1
Multiple choice for real-world notices, messages and texts; Matching people descriptions to texts; Multiple choice for detailed comprehension; Gapped text for text coherence; Multiple choice cloze; Open cloze. 45 minutes
Paper 2
Writing an email based on given notes; Choice between writing an article or a story. 45 minutes
Paper 3
Multiple choice for key information from short dialogues; Listening for gist; Gap fill; Detailed comprehension and attitude from an interview. Approximately 30 minutes
Paper 4
Conversation with the examiner and another candidate; Discussion of photographs and various topics. 12–17 minutes

The B1 Preliminary exam is an intermediate-level qualification that showcases a candidate's ability to use English for practical communication.

2. Who Takes The Exam?

This exam is designed for learners who have mastered the basics of English and are ready to progress to the next level. It is suitable for individuals seeking to build on their ability to communicate in English in everyday situations.

3. Summary of the Exam Structure

The B1 Preliminary exam is structured into four components: Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking. Each section evaluates the candidate's proficiency in different aspects of language use.

Marks (as % of total)

4. B1 Preliminary Exam Format

Paper One: Reading

Part Task Questions Marks
1. Multiple choice Understand the main points from short real-world notices, messages, and texts. 5 1 per correct answer
2. Matching Match descriptions of people to the correct text from a selection, demonstrating detailed understanding. 5 1 per correct answer
3. Multiple choice Read a longer text for in-depth comprehension, including inference and the author's perspective. 5 1 per correct answer
4. Gapped text Restore a coherent text structure by filling in missing sentences. 5 1 per correct answer
5. Multiple choice cloze Choose appropriate vocabulary items to fill gaps in a text. 6 1 per correct answer
6. Open cloze Complete gaps in a text using one word for each. 6 1 per correct answer

Paper Two: Writing

Part Task Questions Marks
1. Email Compose an email of roughly 100 words based on provided prompts. 1 Up to 20 marks
2. Article or Story Write approximately 100 words in the format of either an article or a story, selecting one option from a pair of questions. 1 Up to 20 marks

Paper Three: Listening

Part Task Questions Marks
1. Multiple choice Identify the main information from several short monologues or dialogues and match with the correct picture. 7 1 per correct answer
2. Multiple choice Listen for the main point in short dialogues. 6 1 per correct answer
3. Gap fill Fill in the gaps while listening to a single longer monologue. 6 1 per correct answer
4. Multiple choice Understand a detailed conversation or interview for attitudes, opinions, and information. 6 1 per correct answer

Paper Four: Speaking

Part Task Duration
1. Interview Give personal information in response to direct questions. 2 minutes
2. Extended turn Speak about a single photograph for approximately 1 minute. 3 minutes in total
3. Discussion Engage in a discussion, negotiating and suggesting various options. 4 minutes
4. General conversation Talk about personal preferences, experiences, and opinions. 3 minutes

5. Scoring/Grading

The B1 Preliminary exam results are presented on the Cambridge English Scale. Examinees are awarded individual scores for each of the four papers—Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking—and they also receive a composite score ranging from 100 to 170. To successfully pass the examination, candidates generally need to attain a score of approximately 140 or higher. Achieving a score between 160 and 170 indicates that the candidate has shown proficiency at Level B2.

Cambridge English Scale Score Grade CEFR Level
160–170 A B2
153–159 B B1
140–152 C B1
120–139 Level A2 A2
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