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Preliminary English Test | Cambridge English: Preliminary

Tests communicative competence in each of the four language skills at a level approximately two thirds of the way to the FCE. At this level, a learner should be able to cope linguistically in a range of everyday situations, which require use of English in their own or foreign country in contact with native and non-native speakers of the language. About 380 hours of study are required to reach this level.

Examination content:
Reading & Writing (1 hour and 30 minutes)
This component consists of 8 parts. 5 parts test a range of reading skills with a variety of texts, ranging from short notices to longer continuous texts. 3 parts concentrate on testing a range of writing skills. You should be able to understand the meaning of written english (factual information, newspaper articles and letters) and produce variations on simple sentences as well as pieces of continuous text. Reading and writing carries 50% of the total marks.
Listening (40 minutes)
This component consists of 4 parts ranging from short exchanges to longer dialogues and monologues. You need to show your ability to understand spoken material in both informal and neutral settings on a range of everyday topics. Listening carries 25% of the total marks.
Speaking (10-12 minutes per pair of candidates)
This component consists of 4 parts. You will need to be able to ask and understand questions and make appropriate responses, and to talk freely on matters of personal interest. Speaking carries 25% of the total marks.
What grades can I receive?

Candidates receive a standardised score for the whole exam on a fixed scale out of 100. To pass the PET exam and get a B1 level certificate you need to achieve the minimum score of 70. Candidates with score 45-69 are issued with A2 level certificates, equivalent to KET exam. There are fixed values for each PET grade:

Pass with Distinction = 90 - 100
Pass with Merrit  = 85 - 89
Pass = 70 - 84

Council of Europe level A2 = 45-69
Fail = 0-44

Preparation materials

Textbooks for exam preparation:

  • Objective PET (CUP)
  • Insight into PET (CUP)
  • Common Mistakes at PET (CUP)
  • Cambridge Exams Extra PET (CUP)
  • Cambridge Grammar for PET (CUP)
  • Cambridge Vocabulary for PET (CUP)
  • Cambridge Preliminary English Test 2-5 (Past Papers) (CUP)
  • PET Masterclass (OUP)
  • PET Practice Tests (OUP)
  • PET Practice Tests Plus 1 (Pearson Longman)
  • Going for Gold Intermediate (Pearson Longman)
  • PET Practice Tests Plus 2 (Pearson Longman)
  • Ready for PET (Macmillan)
  • PET Testbuilder (Macmillan)
  • PET iTest Access Card (for online practice tests on iTests.com)
  • Premium B1, (Pearson  Longman)
  • Activate! B1 (for PET for schools), Pearson Longman

Are you less than 15 years-old and thinking about taking PET exam? Take PET for Schools | Cambridge English: Preliminary for schools instead, an exam of the same value as PET but developed directly for your age group.

You can take computer-based PET instead of a paper-based test. Find out more by clicking here.

Do you want to register for PET? Click here for more information about registration.

For more information about PET and useful resources visit the Cambridge ESOL candidate support website - PET.

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