PET – Preliminary English Test

PET stands for Preliminary English Test.

PET is an exam for people who can use everyday written and spoken English at an intermediate level. It covers all four language skills, providing practical language practice in a variety of everyday work, study and leisure situations.

This examination if offered by Cambridge ESOL, a department of the University of Cambridge (UK).

Level of Proficiency

PET is at Level B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) — an internationally recognized benchmark of language ability.

CEFR 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.

For example, 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 traveling 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.

Students preparing for the PET exam will gain these kinds of practical language skills.

The Exam

The PET exam consists of 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: up to 10 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.


Candidates preparing for the PET exam often take preparation courses run by language schools and universities in many countries. However many publishers have produced a wide choice of books and other aids to help students prepare for taking PET and these are widely available at local bookshop as well as online.

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Posted in How To Teach English.

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