Reading and Writing

  • Make sure you know all the task types by looking at practice tests.

  • Make sure you do lots of general reading practice in class and at home, especially the kinds of texts used in the Cambridge English: Preliminary test.

  • Keep a vocabulary notebook to write down new words and make notes about how to use each word.

  • Read all the instructions carefully and look at any examples.

  • Make sure that you can skim and scan (read a text quickly for the main ideas or to find specific information).

  • Check your answers and make sure you have written them in the correct place on the answer sheet.

  • Make sure that your handwriting is clear and easy to read.

  • Read each text before you try to answer the questions.

  • Use a pencil, not a pen, on the answer sheet.


  • Don’t leave answers blank, even if you aren’t sure of the answer.

  • Don’t worry if there is a word you don’t know. Try to guess its meaning.

  • Don’t write a full, rough copy of Writing Part 2 and 3. Just write quick notes to plan your answer.

  • Don’t worry too much about making grammar mistakes in Writing Parts 2 and 3. Communicating is the important thing.



  • Read the instructions carefully for each part.

  • Look at the question paper material (the questions, text and pictures) and think about what kind of information you are going to hear.

  • Listen to and look at the example question.

  • Answer as much as you can when you hear the recording for the first time.

  • Check your answers and find any missing answers when you hear the recording for the second time.

  • Answer all the questions even if you are not sure – you probably understand more than you think and even a guess may be correct.

  • Only transfer your answers to the answer sheet when you are told to do so at the end of the test.

  • Be careful when you are transferring your answers to the question sheet.


  • Don’t worry if you don’t hear the answer the first time. Everything is played twice.

  • Don’t panic if you don’t understand everything in the text – you probably don’t need to.

  • Don’t use a pen. You must use a pencil.

  • Don’t change your answers when you are transferring them to the answer sheet.



In general

  • Practise your English, in and out of the classroom, as much as you can.

  • Listen carefully to the examiner’s questions.

  • Ask the examiner if you don’t understand what you have to do.

  • Speak clearly so that both examiners and your partner can hear you.

  • Remember that both the examiners want you to do well in the test.

In Part 1

  • Talk to the examiner, not your partner.

  • Make sure you can spell your name.

  • Try to give more than one-word answers

In Parts 2 & 4

  • Talk to your partner, not the examiner.

  • Ask your partner questions.

  • Listen to your partner’s answers and look at them to show you are interested in what they are saying.

  • Give your partner a chance to speak too.

In Part 3

  • Talk about everything you can see in the photograph, e.g. colours, clothes, time of day, weather.

  • If you don’t know a word, try to explain what you mean in other words.


In general

  • Don’t worry too much about making grammatical mistakes.

  • Don’t worry too much if you don’t know a word.

  • Don’t worry if your partner is a stronger or weaker speaker than you. The examiners assess you individually.

  • Don’t sit in silence in the test, even if you are nervous. Examiners can’t give you marks if you don’t speak.

In Parts 2 & 4

  • Don’t speak for too long without involving your partner.

In Part 3

  • Don’t try to talk about things/ideas outside the photograph.

  • Don’t stop talking if there is a word you don’t know, just talk about something else you can see.

You can also read the article in the Cambridge ESOL Deutschland, Österreich, Schweiz blog.