B1 Preliminary for Adults

B1 Preliminary, is one of our Cambridge English Qualifications. It is the English language exam that shows you have mastered the basics.

A B1 Preliminary qualification shows that you have mastered the basics of English and now have practical language skills for everyday use.

This exam is the logical step in your language learning journey between A2 Key and B2 First.

Smiling Student

Test Format

B1 Preliminary is made up of three papers developed to encourage and motivate young learners. You can see exactly what’s in each paper below.

(10-12 minutes per pair of candidates)

4 parts

25% of the total marks

Reading and Writing
(1 hour 30 minutes)

Reading 5 parts/ 35 questions 

Writing 3 parts/ 7 questions

50% of the total marks

(36 minutes, 6 minutes' transfer time) 

4 parts/ 25 questions

25% of the total marks

Here you can download a sample paper containing all the parts mentioned above: 


Exam updates 2020

To make sure our exams are up to date with the latest research in language learning and teaching, we update them regularly. A2 KeyA2 Key for SchoolsB1 Preliminary and B1 Preliminary for Schools have undergone a thorough review to ensure that our exams continue to remain relevant to the needs of schools and learners.

The new exam formats will start being used from January 2020. The changes include:

  • new and updated tasks across all of the papers

  • better alignment between the exams, showing clearer progression from one exam to the next

  • an update to the way that grades are reported, bringing the exams in line with higher level Cambridge English Qualifications

  • the separation of the Reading and Writing papers in B1 Preliminary and B1 Preliminary for Schools.

You can find out more about the changes, including information on preparation materials, on the dedicated A2 Key and B1 Preliminary 2020 update website. You can also sign up to receive information and updates about the changes to the exams.

Below you can download a summary of the 2020 updates regarding B1 Preliminary exam: 

How to book the exam

According to Cambridge examination dates, each exam (A2 Key for Schools, B1 Preliminary for Schools, A2 Key, and B1 Preliminary) has its own specific dates. Here you can find the examination dates for 2019 and 2020. Once you decide, you can send us an enquiry containing the date and type of the exam as well as your contact detail so that our staff can get back to you as soon as possible.