A guide to the exam, with advice on preparing for the exam, tips for exam day and useful links.
Download B1 Preliminary information for candidates
B1 Preliminary is made up of four papers developed to test your English skills:
The B1 Preliminary Reading paper has six parts. There are different types of texts and questions. This paper accounts for 25% of the total mark.
The B1 Preliminary Writing paper has two parts. You have to show that you can write different types of text in English. This paper accounts for 25% of the total mark.
The B1 Preliminary Listening paper has four parts. For each part, you have to listen to a recorded text or texts and answer some questions. You hear each recording twice. This paper accounts for 25% of the total mark.
The B1 Preliminary Speaking test has four parts and is taken with another candidate. Exceptionally the test may be taken with 3 candidates. There are two examiners. One examiner talks to you and the other examiner listens. Both examiners give marks for your performance.
If you would like to be paired together with a friend/classmate, you can request this when you register for the exam. Please note however that research has shown that there are both advantages and disadvantages in taking the test with someone you know and that in the end it doesn’t matter. What is important is that the test judges you on your own performance.
Almost all A2 Key Speaking Tests are conducted in groups of two candidates. However, if there is an uneven number of candidates at an exam session there will be one test with a group of three candidates, normally at the end of the day or before a long break. The test format is exactly the same but will last a little longer. Please note that you cannot request to take your test in a group of three.
B1 Preliminary FAQs
Exam day tips – paper-based exams
Exam day tips – computer-based exams
Exam day tips – Speaking test
B1 Preliminary paper based sample tests
Watch this tutorial before you start to help you understand what you need to do.
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Reading sample test
Writing sample test
Listening sample test
Reading & Writing answer key
Listening answer key
There is no answer key for Writing Parts 2 and 3 of the Reading and Writing paper, but there are sample answers and examiner comments in the relevant pages of the B1 Preliminary handbook.
This list gives teachers a guide to the vocabulary needed when preparing students for B1 Preliminary and B1 Preliminary for Schools.
Download B1 Preliminary vocabulary list