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This is a simple review of the tasks in the Cambridge Assessment English Preliminary English Test, also known as the B1 PRELIMINARY, This exam is for level B1 in the EUROPEAN FRAMEWORK FOR LANGUAGES


Key Data:

CEFR level: B1

Scale score: 140-159

Test format: Computer or paper based

Number of parts: 4

Exam length: 2-2:30 hours


The B1 Preliminary demonstrates that you can:

  • Communicate basically and effectively
  • Handle everyday situations
  • Express yourself at an elementary level to native speakers


Changes 2020 to the B1 Preliminary

It is important to note that there are some important changes to the reading and writing part of the B1 Preliminary exam.


The main changes that have been made to the B1 Preliminary are to the reading and writing sections. the reading has two new parts and the true/false section has been eliminated. The writing has also seen the letter and the rephrasing removed and an article included. From 2020 onwards the reading and writing are actually considered different sections of the exam and last 45 minutes each.


Reading (45 minutes) from 2020 onwards:





Part 1 (5 questions)

Multiple choice texts. This part of the exam has not changed. In this part of the exam you need to read 5 short texts, they are normally messages, notes or short emails. You must understand the text and choose the best answer A, B, C for each of them. You need to look at the options and think, which of the options A-C has the same meaning as the text, discard the obviously incorrect answer and then evaluate the vocabulary to see which the best answer is.


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Part 2 (5 questions)

Matching. This part of the exam has not changed. This is probably the most difficult part of the reading exam. My suggestion is to leave it until the end as it takes the most time. The key is to identify the 3-4 key words for each person that seems the most important. This will give you a base to look for information in the 8 texts (A-H). Search for option that completes ALL REQUIREMENTS. There are always 2 easier (or more obvious) answers, look for these first and then the others. Obviously, DON´T REPEAT AND OF THE OPTIONS (A-H). NEVER LEAVE ANY OF THE QUESTIONS IN BLANK, AT LEAST GUESS!


Part 3 (5 questions)

Multiple choice. In this part of the exam candidates need to read for gist, meaning, attitude and feelings to answer simple questions A, B, C, D. The same as the old part 4.


Part 4 (5 points)

Multiple-choice gapped text. In this part of the exam, candidates need to understand gist and text structure. They need to fill in the gaps in the text with the correct option. Similar to part 6 of the B2 First.


Millions of workers under 30 in limbo with their parents

Over more than two million workers under 30 in the U.K. live with their parents because they cannot buy or rent a home as housing prices have __________ (1) Newspapers call them the “clipped wing generation” because ___________ (2) House prices are so high that many young people cannot afford to buy one, and as there is a high demand for rented properties,  __________ (3) A quarter of young adults have been made to live with their parents or grandparents. Almost 50 per cent of people said the biggest problem was housing costs. Many young people in the U.K. move away from the family home when they start working. __________ (4) A young woman said that she has been trying to save money for over ten years for a new apartment. She said it was very difficult as house prices keep going up and this is not relative to the rate in how salaries rise. __________ (5) She told reporters she didn’t want to rent, saying: “If I move out now, I’ll be stuck paying expensive rents for the rest of my life….The thought that I’m going to be living like a teenager well into my late 30s or even 40s is really disheartening.” A charity for homeless people said Britain needed to build more homes and sell them at a price that young people can afford.

A. Rising house prices are now making this trickier.

B. houses are cheaper nowadays.

C. they are like birds with cut wings.

D. easy to buy a house.

E. those prices have also gone up.

F. if you get a house as a gift.

G. gone through the roof in recent years.

H. She is worried about the future.


Part 5 (6 points)

Multiple-choice gap fill. Read the text and choice the missing words from the options A, B, C, D. The same as the old part 5 but with fewer gaps.


Hanging out with friends or enjoying your own company

This is a question of personal preference, but it is clear that there are two types of people when it comes to socialising; introverts and extroverts. For example, do you prefer your own company or are you a ____ (1) person? There are some great ways to spend time with your friends. The ideal thing to do is to get ____ (2) to do what you enjoy and have in common. Our friends usually have similar tastes to us; this is probably why they became our mates in the first place. This article is going to look into some of the ____ (3) that we have on hand to find a great excuse to spend time with others. Firstly, let’s take a look at sport. Many sports as a requirement need more than one person, climbing for example. It is well noted that working out with others has its ____ (4) advantages as well as the social benefits. Next, how about preparing a meal in company? When we cook together we need to collaborate with those around us. Not only do we eat together and have a nice friendly ____ (5) but also we achieve something special that can be appreciated by all. Lastly, there are arts and crafts. An awesome way to hang out is to do something ____ (6) like paint or model making. This way we can share our ideas with friends in a friendly way that will help you to open your mind and relax This form of relaxation is essential to avoid stress and health problems. Our friends are important and you should value the time that you have with them.


Choose the best word from the following options:


  1.       A. sociable      B. lonely           C. talkative      D. lazy
  2.       A. along            B. around        C. out                D. together
  3.       A. problems   B. options        C. ways             D. issues
  4.       A. lots               B. much            C. many           D. few
  5.       A. meal             B. food             C. plate             D. dish
  6.       A. entertained  B. interested  C. fun                D. funny


Part 6 (6 points)

Open gap fill. Read the short text and fill in the gaps with one word.



When tourists come to Japan the chances are that _____ (1) visitors will fly into Tokyo’s most popular Narita airport. Tokyo is a mega-megacity _____ (2) nearly 40 million people living in the metropolitan area, which is more than Madrid, London and Paris combined. The skyscrapers are enormous and there seems to be an endless amount of them, and the city shines with neon lights, but behind the modern parts there is a city with a long and illustrious history of tradition and culture that needs to be seen. The Imperial Palace, still home to the Emperor of Japan, sits amongst formal gardens; there are numerous Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples; and Tokyo National Museum and the city’s _____ (3) galleries have world-class collections on show. The modern look to Japan is only a recent phenomenon that started with the arrival of the USA’s influence after the 2nd world war. It is important to get around _____ (4) public transport to see the entire city, and to see what it has to offer, not just follow the modern tourist _____ (5). Allow lots of time to walk around the city. Look for the various shopping centres such as Ameyoko Arcade, the city’s only open-air pedestrianised market and the shopping centre at Hachiman-dori for its enjoyable mix of expensive and reasonably priced shopping. Also, well worth a visit are Shinjuku with its luxury shopping or the _____ (6) bohemian region of Shibuya for vintage and second hand shops.


Find out more about this part of the exam and download our high frequency answer list HERE

Writing (45 minutes)


There is no longer any rephrasing in the B1 Preliminary exam.


Part 1 (100 words)

Write an email to respond to the information given in the question. You will be given a short piece of information that you need to read and using the key parts of the text, respond to the email.


Part 2 (100 words)

Write an article or a story on the given topic. The article option is new and candidates need to learn this new structure.

For more information, example questions and answers, click on the buttons below.


The Listening (25-30 minutes). There are 4 tasks to complete. You can read the questions as you listen and you have a short time before to prepare.

There has been one small change to the listening: Part 2 Multiple choice short texts consists of 6 short texts in which the candidate needs to listen for attitudes and opinions. They need to choice the best option A, B or C. In the past it was 6 questions on one text, but now they are separate texts.

For more information, example questions and answers, click on the buttons below.

Speaking (12 minutes)

The speaking (10-12 minutes). There are 4 tasks to do and they are always the same. Only the topics and vocabulary change.

The speaking exam is essentially the same, but the order of the exam is the only change. The old part 3 (Long-turn) in which you describe an image is now part 2 and the old part 2 (collaborative task/conversation) is now part 3.

For more information about the speaking exam, practice questions and answers, click on the buttons below:

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Showing 6 comments
  • Redjona

    Where can I find the answer key for these?

    • Marc

      They are in the PDF document

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