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Preliminary English Test (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. PET is at Level B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

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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.


PET is at Level B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). 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

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.

More information: http://www.cambridgeesol.org/exams/general-english/pet.html

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