PEARTREE LIFE: Experiencing Languages

Thinking about taking a Cambridge exam? Find detailed information about your options here...

What is B1 Preliminary? 

B1 Preliminary, formerly known as Cambridge English: Preliminary (PET), is an intermediate level qualification (B1). This exam focuses on basic everyday communication skills and tests listening, speaking, writing and reading skills.


Who needs this qualification? 

The B1 Preliminary is for people who want to gain basic real-life English skills in order to communicate with people in English-speaking countries in everyday situations. The exam is an official certification that you are able to communicate in everyday conversations in English, write emails/letters on common subjects and read and understand basic reports/articles.

What’s in the exam? 

Reading and Writing (worth 50% of total marks): 1 hour 30 minutes The Reading part of the exam consists of 35 questions divided into 5 parts. The Writing part of the exam consists of 7 questions divided into 3 parts. This exam shows you can read and understand the main points from signs, newspapers and magazines, and can use vocabulary and structure correctly.

Listening (worth 25% of total marks): 36 minutes, including 6 minutes to transfer your answers This part of the exam is split into 4 parts and consists of 25 questions. This exam shows you can follow and understand a range of spoken materials, including announcements and discussions about daily life.

Speaking (worth 25% of total marks): 10-12 minutes This section of the exam is divided into 4 parts. You will take the speaking test with one or two other candidates, this part shows you can communicate in face-to-face situations.

B1 Preliminary scores 

The chart below shows how scores relate to the CEFR (Common European Framework) levels A2 - B2:


What is B2 First? 

B2 First, formerly known as Cambridge English: First (FCE), is an upper-intermediate level qualification. This exam focuses on everyday communication skills and tests listening, speaking, writing and reading skills.


Who needs this exam? 

B2 First is for people who want to gain real-life English skills in order to work in an English-speaking environment or study English at a foundation level. The exam shows you have the skills to live independently in an English-speaking country and is suitable for student visa application to the UK and Ireland.

What’s in the exam? 

B2 First exam is supported by a dedicated research programme to ensure the exams are fair to people of all nationalities and linguistic backgrounds. The exam covers all four language skills (Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking) and knowledge of grammar and vocabulary.

Reading and Use of English (worth 40% of the marks): 1 hour 15 minutes This part of the exam consists of 52 questions and is separated into 7 parts. Shows understanding of different types of texts from publications such as books, newspapers and magazines.

Writing (worth 20%): 1 hour 20 minutes This section of the exam requires you to produce 2 text types such as an essay, report or a letter.

Listening (worth 20%): 40 minutes This part of the exam is split into 4 parts and consists of 30 questions. Shows you can follow and understand a range of spoken materials, such as news and everyday conversations.

Speaking (worth 20%): 14 minutes This section of the exam is split into 4 parts. You will take the speaking test with one or two other candidates, this part shows you can communicate effectively in face-to-face situations. You can download sample papers at www.cambridgeenglish.org/first 

How is it scored? 


You will receive a separate score for each of the four skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking) and a fifth score for use of English, giving you a clear understanding of your performance. These five scores are averaged to give your overall exam score. You will also be given a grade and a Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) level. The score, grade and level will appear on your Statement of Results. If you pass you will also get a certificate.

B2 First:


This chart shows how B1 Preliminary and B2 First relate to other international English exams on the CEFR scale:

Images taken from: http://www.cambridgeenglish.org/exams/advanced/results/ and http://www.cambridgeenglish.org/exams/first/results/ 

What score do I need? 

It depends on what you are taking the exam for. If you are taking the exam for professional or academic reasons, you should check which scores are required by the relevant company or university. If you are taking the exam in order to get a visa you should check with the appropriate immigration authority. Different types of visa require different scores. To have a clear idea you can look at this part of the Cambridge English website: http://www.cambridgeenglish.org/why-cambridge-english/visas-and-immigration/uk/ 

Where can I take the test? 

You will need to take the exam in a registered exam centre. There are over 2,800 centres in 130 countries around the world. You can find your nearest centre using this website: http://www.cambridgeenglish.org/find-a-centre/find-an-exam-centre/ 

You can take both exams in Cardiff, or nearby cities, including Bristol and Swansea. Both B1 Preliminary and B2 First are available in different formats: paper or computer-based.
If you are taking the exam as part of your UK visa application you must take it in a centre which is approved to offer Secure English Language Tests (SELTs). A list of these can be found here: http://www.cambridgeenglish.org/images/167323-uk-and-ireland-cambridge-english-exam-centres.pdf 


How do I apply? 

Step 1 - Find an exam centre.
Step 2 - Contact your exam centre.
Step 3 - Choose when and how you would like to take your exam.
Peartree Languages are very familiar with the application process and can help you through these steps.

How much does it cost? 

It depends on the exam and where you will take it. B1 Preliminary (PET) would be around £150, while B2 First (FCE) would be around £165.

When do I get my results? 

Two weeks after the exam (or four weeks if you take the paper-based test). The quickest and easiest way to get your results is using their FREE online results service. You will be given more information on how to do this when you register!

Where can I get more information? 

You can come and speak to us at Peartree Languages! We have staff with extensive knowledge of these exams who can answer any of your questions. Pop in and see us at: 2A, Llandaff Rd, Cardiff. CF11 9NJ
Send us an email: info@peartreelanguages.com
Or send us a Whatsapp message: 0044 (0) 7378 354 654

Alternatively, you can read all about the exams on the Cambridge English website. For information about the B2 First: http://www.cambridgeenglish.org/exams/first/
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About Info Peartree

Peartree Languages is a language school located in Cardiff.

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