Cambridge English: Preliminary (PET)

Cambridge English: Preliminary (PET)

PET is an exam for people who can use everyday written and spoken English at an intermediate level. It covers all four language skills — reading, writing, listening and speaking.

Preparing for the exam is a popular way to develop and improve your language skills because it provides practical language practice in a variety of everyday work, study and leisure situations.

PET reflects the use of language in real life, such as understanding signs and announcements, and is accepted by many employers as proof of ability to use English in clerical, secretarial or managerial jobs. It is also widely accepted for use in jobs where spoken English is necessary such as tourism, retail, construction, manufacturing and engineering.

Key facts

CEFR level: B1 What's this?
Test format: Computer or paper-based
No. of papers: 3
Exam length: About 2 hours 20 minutes
Is PET for you? At a glance?

Can you use English to:

  • Deal with everyday events?
  • Read simple textbooks or magazine articles?
  • Write letters on familiar subjects?
  • Take notes in a meeting?

If this describes your skills now, or describes the level of skills you are working towards, then PET is the right exam for you.

PET is at Level B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) — an internationally recognised benchmark of language ability. The framework uses six levels to describe language ability from A1 to C2. 'Can Do' statements have been used to describe these levels in terms of real language skills.

At B1 level, typical users can be expected to:

  • Understand the main points of straightforward instructions or public announcements
  • Deal with most of the situations you might meet when travelling as a tourist in an English-speaking country
  • Ask simple questions and take part in factual conversations in a work environment
  • Write letters or make notes on familiar matters.

Your preparation for PET will give you these kinds of practical language skills.

What will Pet do for you? Recognition

Cambridge English is a department of the world-famous and historic University of Cambridge. Attaining one of its certificates is an achievement and a reward in itself. However, there are many other benefits to taking PET:

  • A PET certificate is valid for life. You will not need to take the exam again.
  • PET is a truly international certificate, recognised around the world for business and study purposes
  • Thousands of employers, universities and government departments officially recognise PET as a intermediate qualification in English
  • PET gives you a pathway to higher qualifications such as First Certificate in English (FCE)
  • PET's 'Can Do' skills give you the confidence to use English in real situations.
Format of the PET exam?

PET has three papers:

Reading and Writing: 1 hour 30 minutes

You need to be able to read texts from signs, journals, newspapers and magazines and understand the main points. You will need to show you can use vocabulary and structure by completing tasks such as writing a short message, and a story or letter of around 100 words. You will also need to complete an exercise involving changing the meaning of sentences.

Listening: 30 minutes (approx)

You will need to show you can understand the meaning of a range of recorded spoken material, including announcements and discussions about everyday life. You need to be able to follow the attitudes and intentions of the speakers.

Speaking: 10-12 minutes

Candidates take the Speaking test in pairs. You have to show your spoken English by taking part in conversation, asking and answering questions, and talking freely about your likes and dislikes.

Your results

Cambridge English: Preliminary gives detailed, meaningful results. All candidates receive a Statement of Results. Candidates whose performance ranges between CEFR Levels B1 and A2 will also receive a certificate.

Statement of Results

This document outlines:

  • Your candidate result. This result is based on your total score in all three papers.
  • A graphical display of your performance in each paper (shown against the scale Exceptional – Good – Borderline – Weak).

A standardised score out of 100 which allows you to see exactly how you performed. It has set values for each grade, allowing comparison across sessions of the exam.

Your certificate

  • Cambridge English: Preliminary – Level B1: If you achieve Pass with Merit or Pass in your exam, you will be awarded the Preliminary English Test certificate at Level B1.
  • Level A2 Certificate: If your performance is below Level B1, but falls within Level A2, we will recognise your achievement with a Cambridge English certificate stating that you demonstrated ability at A2 level.

Results Verification Service
If you need to allow employers, universities or other organisations to verify your examination results, just send them your Candidate ID and Candidate Secret Number (printed on your Statement of Entry) and they can check your result quickly and securely online at