What’s in the Reading and Writing paper?

The Cambridge English: Preliminary Reading and Writing paper has five parts about reading and three parts about writing. There are different types of texts and questions.

Summary
Time allowed: 1 hour 30 minutes
Number of parts: Reading: 5; Writing: 3
Number of questions: Reading: 35; Writing: 7
Marks: 50% of total

Reading Part 1 (Multiple choice)

What’s in Part 1? Five very short texts (they may be signs and messages, postcards, notes, emails, labels, etc.). You have to read them and choose which of the three sentences (A, B or C) is the best description of the text.
What do I have to practise? Reading notices and other short texts to understand the main message.
How many questions are there? 5
How many marks are there? 1 mark for each correct answer.

Reading Part 2 (Matching)

What’s in Part 2? Five short descriptions of people and eight short texts to read. You have to match each person to a text.
What do I have to practise? Reading eight short texts to find specific information.
How many questions are there? 5
How many marks are there? 1 mark for each correct answer.

Reading Part 3 (True/False)

What’s in Part 3? A long text and 10 sentences about the text. You have to read the text and say if each sentence is true or false.
What do I have to practise? Reading a text quickly to find out information.
How many questions are there? 10
How many marks are there? 1 mark for each correct answer.

Reading Part 4 (Multiple choice)

What’s in Part 4? A long text and five questions. You have to read the text and choose the right answer (A, B, C or D) for each of the five questions.
What do I have to practise? Reading to understand the detail of a text.
How many questions are there? 5
How many marks are there? 1 mark for each correct answer.

Reading Part 5 (Multiple-choice cloze)

What’s in Part 5? A short text with 10 numbered spaces. Each space represents a missing word and you have to choose the right answer from a choice of four (A, B, C or D).
What do I have to practise? Understanding vocabulary and grammar.
How many questions are there? 10
How many marks are there? 1 mark for each correct answer.

 

 

Writing Part 1 (Sentence transformations)

What’s in Part 1? Five questions which are all about the same theme. For each question there is one complete sentence and a second sentence which has a missing word or words. You have to complete the second sentence so that it means the same as the first sentence.
What do I have to practise? How to say the same thing in different ways in English, e.g. ‘not warm enough’ means the same as ‘too cold’.
How many questions are there? 5
How many marks are there? 1 mark for each correct answer.

Writing Part 2 (Short communicative message)

What’s in Part 2? The instructions tell you who to write to and what you should write (a postcard, note, email, etc.).
What do I have to practise? Writing short messages.
How many questions are there? 1
How much do I have to write? 35–45 words
How many marks are there? This question has a total of 5 marks.

Writing Part 3 (Continuous writing)

What’s in Part 3? You have a choice of two questions: an informal letter or a story.
What do I have to practise? Writing letters and stories.
How many questions are there? 1
How much do I have to write? About 100 words
How many marks are there? This question has a total of 15 marks.

 

 

 

What’s in the Listening paper?

The Cambridge English: Preliminary Listening paper has four parts. For each part, you have to listen to a recorded text or texts and answer some questions. You hear each recording twice.

Summary
Time allowed: 36 minutes, including 6 minutes to copy your answers onto the answer sheet.
Number of parts: 4
Number of questions: 25
Marks: 25% of total

Part 1 (Multiple choice)

What’s in Part 1? Seven short recordings. For each recording there is a question and three pictures (A, B or C). You have to listen to the recordings and choose the right answers.
What do I have to practise? Listening to find key information.
How many questions are there? 7
How many marks are there? One mark for each correct answer.

Part 2 (Multiple choice)

What’s in Part 2? A longer recording (one person speaking or an interview) and six questions. You have to listen to the recording and choose the right answer (A, B or C) for each question.
What do I have to practise? Listening to find specific information and detailed meaning.
How many questions are there? 6
How many marks are there? One mark for each correct answer.

Part 3 (Gap-fill)

What’s in Part 3? A longer monologue (one person speaking) and a page of notes which summarise the text. Six pieces of information are missing from the notes. You have to listen to the recording and fill in the missing information.
What do I have to practise? Listening for information.
How many questions are there? 6
How many marks are there? One mark for each correct answer.

Part 4 (True/False)

What’s in Part 4? A longer informal conversation and six sentences. You have to listen to the conversation and decide if each sentence is true or false.
What do I have to practise? Listening for detailed meaning, attitude and opinion.
How many questions are there? 6
How many marks are there? One mark for each correct answer.

 

What’s in the Speaking paper?

The Cambridge English: Preliminary Speaking test has four parts and you take it together with another candidate. There are two examiners. One of the examiners talks to you and the other examiner listens.

Summary
Time allowed: 10–12 minutes per pair of candidates
Number of parts: 4
Marks: 25% of total
You have to talk: with the examiner
with the other candidate
on your own

Part 1 (Interview)

What’s in Part 1? Conversation with the examiner. The examiner asks questions and you give information about yourself, talk about past experiences, present job, studies, where you live, etc., and future plans.
What do I have to practise? Giving information about yourself.
How long do we have to speak? 2–3 minutes

Part 2 (Discussion)

What’s in Part 2? The examiner gives you some pictures and describes a situation to you. You have to talk to the other candidate and decide what would be best in the situation.
What do I have to practise? Making and responding to suggestions, discussing alternatives, making recommendations, negotiating agreement.
How long do we have to speak? 2–3 minutes

Part 3 (Extended turn)

What’s in Part 3? The examiner gives you a colour photograph and you have to talk about it.
What do I have to practise? Describing photographs.
How long do we have to speak? 3 minutes in total; 1 minute to talk about the photograph.

Part 4 (General conversation)

What’s in Part 4? Further discussion with the other candidate about the same topic as the task in Part 3.
What do I have to practise? Talking about your opinions, likes/dislikes, experiences, habits, etc.
How long do we have to speak? 3 minutes

 

 

 

 

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