The Cambridge B1 listening exam lasts for 20-25 minutes and consists of 4 parts.


Listening Exam Advice

“The value of repetition as a means of achieving fluency has also been acknowledged in the recent literature on task-based learning. When learners repeat a task, even a relatively long time after its first performance, gains have been shown in both fluency and linguistic complexity” (Scott Thornbury)



Listening: (part 1)

In this part of the exam, you need to listen to a short recording and choose the best option (image). There are things called ´distracters´, this is usually when they recording mentions more than one of the options to try to confuse the listener. The key is to answer the question, which image answers it?

Improving your listening: the effort involved


Listening: (part 2)

A really important part of listening part 2 is to know how to follow the recording. As we know the questions are answered in order. Of you just need to listen out for prompts, this can be in the form of pauses or questions. The preparation of the information in the questions before listening is essential. This will give you a clue about what to expect from the text and also you can relate this information to the synonyms or antonyms in the recording. It is also important to know how to discard incorrect answers.



Listening: (part 3)

Note taking is the key; you need to write down all of the possible options to the answers. The first thing to do is to prepare the information you are given in the question (while they are explaining the activity). You should identify the type of information needed to fill in the gaps. When you are writing your answers you can only use 1-3 words, it is usually with only one or two words.

The Importance of Listening: Comprehensible Input


Listening: (part 4)

There are two things you need to listen for.

  1. Who is the speaker?
  2. Vocabulary – synonyms, similar words

To confuse the listener, the dialogue in the recording will give the answers with synonyms and similar expressions. This is a test of your vocabulary and ability to link vocabulary.

Improving listening skills: advice for students and teachers

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