|EE-031a| B1: Preliminary – Speaking [Part 1: Interview]

Hello Exam Seekers,

Today I’m going to continue talking about the Cambridge English B1 Preliminary (former PET).

As you know, I have already written about the B1 Preliminary Reading Exam, which is divided into six parts:

And the Writing Exam, which is divided into two parts:

Today I’m talking about the B1 Preliminary Speaking Exam – Part 1: Interview.

Cover for Cambridge English B1 Preliminary (PET) Speaking Exam

The B1 Preliminary Speaking Exam has four parts. Candidates take it together with another candidate – sometimes there might be three candidates taking it at the same time. So it usually takes from 12-17 minutes. There are two examiners: one, who talks to the candidates – the interlocutor – and the other who listens at the back – the assessor.

This is a model sample of the questions that the interlocutor asks the candidates for the B1 Preliminary Speaking Exam – Part 1: Interview which takes only 2-3 minutes from the whole speaking exam:

Cambridge B1 Preliminary Speaking Exam Part 1
Cambridge B1 Preliminary Speaking Exam Part 1

It’s normal for candidates to feel nervous at the beginning of the Speaking test. This conversation, though, uses everyday, simple language and is designed to help to settle them into the test. Candidates should listen carefully to the questions and give relevant answers. They should avoid giving one-word answers, but try to extend their answers with reasons and examples wherever possible. However, they are not expected to give very long answers at this stage.

This part of the test assesses the candidates’ ability to take part in spontaneous communication in an everyday setting.

As you can see in the sample above, the interlocutor leads a general conversation with each of the candidates by asking questions about their personal details, daily routines, likes, dislikes, etc. Two or three candidates are taking the exam at the same time, as I mentioned before, but the interlocutor speaks to the candidates in turns. Then candidates respond directly to the interlocutor – they do not talk to each other in this task.

So this is how my interview would be like:

Interlocutor: Good morning. Can I have your mark sheets, please? I’m ………… and this is …………. What’s your name?
Candidate A: Good morning. My name is Patricia.
Interlocutor: Where do you live?
Candidate A: I live in São Paulo.
Interlocutor: Patricia, do you work, or are you a student?
Candidate A: Both. I work as an English teacher and I am also taking a second undergraduate course.
Interlocutor: What do you study?
Candidate A: I am going to the 7th semester of Pedagogy.
Interlocutor: Thank you. How do you get to work/school/university every day?
Candidate A: I am actually studying and working from home, so I don’t need to either drive or take public transportation.
Interlocutor: What did you do last weekend?
Candidate A: It was Valentine’s Day on Saturday, so after work, I met my boyfriend and we spent the evening together. We also stayed together on Sunday. We played a computer game.
Interlocutor: Tell us about the people you live with.
Candidate A: Unfortunately, I don’t live with my boyfriend yet. We plan on moving together in the future. But, at the moment, I live with my parents and my dog in a house in the suburbs.
Interlocutor: Thank you.
Candidate A: You are welcome.

In this example, I only showed my answers as Candidate A. However, as you could see in the sample provided, the interlocutor takes turns asking questions to Candidate A and Candidate B. Also, the interlocutor wouldn’t ask all of the questions from Phase 2. It is expected that he/she chooses at least two questions, if the candidates’ answers are short, then the interlocutor might ask more questions to complete the two minutes. Moreover, if the candidates don’t provide complete answers or answers that are not enough in the interlocutor’s point of view, he/she might ask backup prompts.

I try to respond in a full manner so that the interlocutor doesn’t ask me a backup prompt. Moreover, as you could see in one of my answers, I said that I work as an English teacher, so it wouldn’t make sense that the interlocutor asked me the question Do you think that English will be useful for you in the future? (Why/Why not?) or Will you use English in the future? (Why?/Why not?).

If your answers are complete and make sense, you are okay with the interview part. By the way, below, you can see one sample of the B1 Preliminary – Speaking Exam and one sample of the B1 Preliminary for Schools – Speaking Exam:

B1 Preliminary – Speaking Exam (00:00-02:00 – Part 1: Interview)

B1 Preliminary for Schools – Speaking Exam (00:00-02:05 – Part 1: Interview)

If you still have questions about B1 Preliminary Speaking Part 1 – Interview, leave a comment below!


That’s it for today! Please like the post and follow the blog on:

You can also listen to this post at Anchor!!!

Have a great week,
Patricia Moura


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