PET – Preliminary English Test

PET - Preliminary English Test

PET or the Preliminary English Test is an English language examination provided by Cambridge English Language Assessment. PET is an intermediate level qualification which demonstrates the ability to communicate using English for everyday purposes. The PET lies between the KET and the FCE

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Launched in 1980, Cambridge English: Preliminary (PET) is designed to show that a learner can use their English language skills in everyday situations when working, studying and travelling. It is focused on Level B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

The PET is offered for adult learners and for school-aged learners. Both versions of the exam lead to the same qualification, the PET. Both versions have the same exam format (three exam papers) – the only difference is that the topics in the ‘for Schools’ version have been targeted at the interests and experiences of school-aged learners.

Cambridge English: Preliminary (PET) for Schools is part of a suite of qualifications designed specifically for school-aged learners, which includes KET, focused on CEFR Level A2, and FCE, focused on CEFR Level B2


Both versions of the PET are made up of three exam papers. They incorporate all four language skills (Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking). Candidates have the choice of taking their exam on either a computer or on paper.

1. Reading and Writing (1 hour 30 minutes – 50% of total marks)

The Reading and Writing paper has eight parts and 42 questions. Candidates are expected to read and understand different kinds of short texts and longer, factual texts. Text sources might include signs, brochures, newspapers, magazines and messages such as notes, emails, cards and postcards.

Parts 1 to 5 focus on reading skills, including underlying knowledge of vocabulary and grammar. The exam includes tasks such as answering multiple choice questions, selecting descriptions which match different texts and identifying true or false information.

Parts 6 to 8 focus on writing skills, including underlying knowledge of vocabulary and grammar. The exam includes tasks such as completing gapped sentences, writing a short informal letter of 35 – 45 words based on 3 given instructions, and producing a longer piece of writing – either a long informal letter or a story of about 80-100 words.

2. Listening (approximately 35 minutes – 25% of total marks)

The Listening paper has four parts comprising 25 questions. Candidates are expected to understand a range of spoken materials, in both informal and neutral settings, on a range of everyday topics. Recorded materials may include announcements, interviews and discussions about everyday life.

Part 1 has seven short recordings and three pictures for each. Candidates listen to key pieces of information in order to complete seven multiple choice questions.

Part 2 has a longer recording either in a monologue or interview format. Candidates identify simple factual information in the recording to answer six multiple choice questions.

Part 3 has a longer monologue, which may be a radio announcement or a recorded message with information about places and events. Candidates are given a page of notes summarizing the recording and must fill in six pieces of information which are missing from the notes.

Part 4 has an informal conversation between two people who are discussing everyday topics. Candidates decide whether six statements are true or false, based on the information, attitudes and opinions of the people in the recording.

3. Speaking (10–12 minutes – 25% of total marks)

The Speaking paper has four parts and is conducted face-to-face, with one or two other candidates and two examiners. Candidates are expected to demonstrate conversation skills by answering and asking questions and talking freely about their likes and dislikes.

Part 1 is a general conversation with the examiner. Candidates give personal information about themselves, e.g. talk about their daily life, studies, plans for the future, etc.

Part 2 is a collaborative task with the other candidate(s). The examiner gives the candidates some pictures and describes a situation. The candidates discuss the issues and decide what would be best in the situation.

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PET - Preliminary English Test is set at B1 level of the CEFR. It is an intermediate level qualification for learners who need to communicate