Free English Lessons
B1 Preliminary Speaking Exam Parts 1 & 2 – Video
by Gina Mares on May 8, 2020 , Comments Off on B1 Preliminary Speaking Exam Parts 1 & 2 – Video
In this lesson, you can learn how to do parts one and two of the Cambridge B1 Preliminary speaking exam. You’ll see what happens during the B1 Preliminary speaking test, and how you can improve your score.
The B1 Preliminary exam is the new name for the Cambridge PET exam. The new B1 Preliminary speaking test, which was introduced in 2020, is similar to the old PET speaking exam, but with some small differences.
QUIZ: B1 Preliminary Speaking Exam Parts 1 & 2
Now, test your knowledge of what you learned in the lesson by trying this quiz. There are ten questions about part one of the B1 Preliminary speaking exam, and ten about part two.
You can get help with some questions if you press ‘Hint’. You will get your score at the end, when you can click on ‘View Questions’ to see all the correct answers.
Time limit: 0
0 of 20 questions completed
You have already completed the quiz before. Hence you can not start it again.
Would you like to submit your quiz result to the leaderboard?
Question 1 of 20
True or False: in part one of the B1 Preliminary speaking exam, you only talk to the examiner. You don’t talk to your partner.
Question 2 of 20
True or False: you should only answer questions in part one with one word, to save time.
Question 3 of 20
Put the words in the right order to form a question that the examiner will ask in the exam. Pay attention to the punctuation, to help you.
The question is the first thing the examiner asks you. It’s the same in every exam.
Question 4 of 20
Here are some common questions from part one of the B1 Preliminary speaking exam, which have been cut into two halves. Move the endings into the right-hand column to complete the questions.
or are you a student?
Do you work
Question 5 of 20
Match the answers you might give in the exam with the topics on the left.
It’s only a small place, so it’s very quiet.
I have three older brothers, but they don’t live at home anymore.
It’s a large apartment on the top floor, with a patio on the roof.
I love playing video games, and I play tennis a lot in the summer.
I’d love to study art, because I enjoy painting.
Your free time
Your future plans
Some answers might work in more than one category but there’s only one perfect combination! If you’re unsure about the difference between free time and future plans, look at the form of the verbs!
Question 6 of 20
Which part of this model answer from the lesson does not refer to the present?
Question 7 of 20
It’s a good idea to use more than one tense in your answers. Which two tenses are used in this model answer from the lesson?
I’m an accountant. I’ve been working in the accounting department of a construction company for the last ten years.
Question 8 of 20
What can you say if you don’t understand the examiner’s question? Choose as many as you think are right.
Many people in English-speaking countries think that one of these answers sounds rude, in any situation. So, don’t choose this option and don’t say it in an exam!
Question 9 of 20
Rewrite this model answer with words from the options below.
I live in Paris. It’s a nice city to live in because it has lots to do, such as interesting museums, and lots of restaurants, where the food’s always really good.
fascinating plenty tasty wonderful
I live in Paris. It’s a city to live in because it has lots to do, such as museums, and of restaurants, where the food’s always really .
Three answers are adjectives but one is not. Can you identify which gap doesn’t need an adjective?
Question 10 of 20
There are a number of ways to suggest what you might do in the future, if you don’t really know. Which option is not correct?
Question 11 of 20
True or False: in part two of the B1 Preliminary speaking exam, you discuss a photo with your partner.
Question 12 of 20
True or False: you shouldn’t say what you can see in the photo; you should only talk about why the people are doing what they’re doing.
Question 13 of 20
If you want to describe this photo, which option is not correct?
Question 14 of 20
Which description of the photo is true? Only one is correct!
Question 15 of 20
When describing a photo, you might ask yourself some questions to help you make your answer. Match the statements below with the questions on the left, to describe this photo.
The man has curly hair, like his daughter, but the woman has straight hair.
She has a sleeveless turquoise blouse on, while the man has a blue shirt with a white t-shirt underneath.
The girl’s parents are sitting next to her. They’re also smiling and laughing while they play the game.
What do they look like?
What are they wearing?
What are they doing?
In the lesson we used the word ‘wearing’ in the model answer, which is fine, of course! Here, we’ve used different words to say the same thing.
Question 16 of 20
In the model answer in the lesson, we said “they must work for a company which makes things, maybe furniture, because the man is working with some wood in the background”.
What does the word ‘must’ mean here?
‘You must do your homework’ is another common context when we use the word ‘must’. Is it the same meaning?
Question 17 of 20
Now, some new photos!
Which option does not describe the photo correctly? Choose one answer.
Question 18 of 20
Which verb is correct to describe the woman’s hair?
Question 19 of 20
Here, the two people are shaking hands – ‘shaking hands’ is a collocation, which means we commonly say the verb ‘shake’ and the noun ‘hands’ together. Which is the only option below with a correct verb-noun collocation?
Question 20 of 20
Complete the description of this photo with words from the list below. You need to write five words, and there are five that you don’t need.
among between colour left length right say suppose three two
There are people in the photo, who are preparing some food in a kitchen. There’s a man holding a knife and cutting up a carrot, and he’s standing in the middle, two women. The woman on the has long curly hair, while the one on the other side has straight hair, which she has tied back. The man has a beard and short, brown hair – actually, all three of them have hair that . As well as the carrot, they’ve got cucumber, onions, potatoes, some enormous tomatoes that look delicious, and one of the women seems to be holding either a cauliflower or a lettuce – I’m not sure – but I they must be making a salad.
Next, the examiner will ask you and your partner one or more questions. These questions could be about different simple topics, like your hometown, your family, your home, your free time, your future plans, and so on.
Do you think you will live in the same place in the future? Why (not)?
When you answer these questions, think about the same points you saw before: add details to your answer, and try to use a range of language.
One point: what if you don’t understand the question the examiner asks?
Just ask the examiner to repeat the question. You can say ‘I’m sorry, could you repeat that, please?’
Or, ‘Can you say that again, please?’
Don’t worry about having to ask this. It’s normal, and it won’t affect your score.
Let’s look at our example questions again.
What did you do last weekend?
Tell us about your hometown.
Do you think you will live in the same place in the future? Why (not)?
Could you answer these? Pause the video and try it now.
How did you do?
Now, let’s look together at some more ways to improve your answers and your score.
First, like you heard before, try to use different verb tenses if possible.
Look at a sample answer for the first question.
On Saturday, I played tennis with a friend, and then on Sunday I had lunch with my family.
This is not bad, but you can always improve your answers! For example:
On Saturday, I played tennis with a friend, and then on Sunday I had lunch with my family, which we do every week.
You’re just adding a few words, but it all helps to add detail to your answer, and it helps your score, too.
Next, try to use a range of adjectives in your answer.
Look at a sample answer for the second question.
I live in Thessaloniki. My town is nice because it has good restaurants and interesting museums.
Again, this answer is quite good! But, again, it could be better.
Adjectives like ‘interesting’, ‘nice’ and ‘good’ are OK, but they’re general. Try to use more specific adjectives and phrases.
I live in Thessaloniki. My town is a great place to live because it has many excellent restaurants and some fascinating museums.
You can see here that you’re not just changing the adjectives, you’re also adding words to make the answer more descriptive.
You don’t just say ‘My town is nice’, you say ‘My town is a great place to live’.
You don’t just say ‘good restaurants’, you say ‘many excellent restaurants.’
OK, adding one word, like ‘many’, doesn’t make a big difference. But, it does make a small difference, and if you do this all the way through your B1 speaking exam, it will count.
Now, let’s look at a sample answer for our third question.
I don’t know where I’ll live in the future.
What do you think? Good answer?
Again, it’s not bad, but it’s short; answers like this don’t give you a chance to use your English and show the examiners what you can do.
Sometimes, students ask “What do I do if I don’t know what to say?”
Firstly, you can make something up. Your answer doesn’t need to be true. You can say:
I think I’ll live in New York in the future. After I finish university, I want to move to Manhattan and work in the advertising industry.
It doesn’t need to be true. You can make up something interesting!
Secondly, even if you don’t know what to say, you can still give some ideas. For example:
I don’t know where I’ll live in the future. I guess after I graduate, I’ll probably stay here for a couple of years. After that, I wouldn’t mind moving to another city, or even another country if I can find a good job there.
In this way, you can turn a basic answer into a full, interesting one, even if you’re basically still saying ‘I don’t know’.
Hopefully that helped you understand how to improve your score in the B1 Preliminary speaking exam part one.
Now, let’s look at how to do the B1 preliminary speaking test part two.
B1 Preliminary Speaking Exam: Part Two
In part two of the Cambridge B1 speaking exam, the examiner will show you a photo. You need to describe what you see in the photo. You have one minute to talk.
At the start of part two, the examiner will say: “Now I’d like each of you to talk on your own about something. I’m going to give each of you a photograph and I’d like you to talk about it.”
In part two, you speak on your own. When your partner speaks, you just listen, or just relax for a minute. There’s no connection between the two photos.
The examiner will give you an idea about the topic of the photo. For example, the examiner might say: “Here is your photograph. It shows people in a cafe.”
You don’t have any thinking time. You should try to start talking as fast as you can.
So, how do you start?
First, give a general description of what you see in the photo and what is happening.
Let’s look at a photo.
A common mistake which students make is focusing too much on detail from the start.
For example, someone might say ‘In this photo, there is some kind of computer or machine on the left.’
That’s not wrong, but it’s not the best way to start. Start with a general description. For example ‘In the photo, I can see a young man who seems to be at the airport.’
After your general introduction, you need to describe the photo in more detail.
When you describe the photo in detail, imagine the examiner cannot see the photo. Don’t use your finger and point to things in the photo; use your words to describe what you see.
How can you do this?
You need to use prepositions of place to say what things are in the photo, and where they are.
Look at another photo.
Here’s a challenge for you. Can you use the preposition phrases you saw before, and make at least three sentences about this photo? Pause the video and do it now.
Could you do it? There are many possible answers, but here are three examples:
In the bottom right, there are some vegetables: broccoli, pepper and cauliflower.
On the left, there’s a man with his hand over his mouth.
At the bottom, there are two bowls, one with carrots inside, and the other with courgettes.
You can also use the phrases ‘at the front’, ‘at the back’ or ‘next to’ to talk about where things are.
At the back, there’s a shelf with some containers.
The woman is sitting next to the man and holding a notepad.
Review prepositions of place before your B1 preliminary speaking exam, and remember to use them when describing the photo in part two!
Sometimes students ask: “I don’t know what to say! How can I talk for a full minute?”
It’s not difficult. Here’s why. The photos almost always contain people.
That means you can describe the people, say what they look like, what they’re wearing, and what they’re doing. This should give you lots of things to talk about.
Look at another photo.
Think: what could you say about the people in this photo? Think about three questions: what do they look like?
What are they wearing?
What are they doing?
Try it now! Pause the video and say as much as you can.
Could you do it? Let’s see an example.
On the left, there’s a small girl. She looks like she’s about ten years old, and she’s smiling and playing a game with her parents. She’s wearing a purple long-sleeved top, and she has thick curly hair. The girl’s parents are sitting next to her. They’re also smiling and laughing while they play the game. The man has curly hair, like his daughter, but the woman has straight hair. We can’t see her full face, because her hair is in the way. She’s wearing a sleeveless turquoise blouse, while the man’s wearing a blue shirt with a white t-shirt underneath.
You see? Just by looking at these simple details, you can find lots to say.
Finally, you don’t just have to describe what you see. You can also give your opinions or make guesses about things in the photo.
Look at one more photo.
What’s the woman doing? Is she at home, or at work, or somewhere else? Why? What’s she doing there? What about the man? What’s he doing?
You might think: “I don’t know! How should I know what she’s writing, or why?”
But, you don’t need to know. You can make guesses and give your opinions.
For example ‘In my opinion, they must work for a company which makes things, maybe furniture.’
You can improve your answer by adding a reason, like this.
In my opinion, they must work for a company which makes things, maybe furniture, because the man is working with some wood in the background.
I think it’s a relaxed place to work, because they’re both wearing casual clothes.
She’s talking on the phone. Maybe she’s taking an order from a customer.
You can also talk about what people are thinking or feeling. For example: ‘She looks quite happy and relaxed. I guess she enjoys her job and it’s not too stressful.’
So, let’s review: start with a general description of what you see, use prepositions of place to say where things are, describe the people you see, and then give your opinions about what’s happening.
If you do these things, it should be easy to talk for a minute! Try to keep talking until the examiner stops you.
Don’t worry if the examiner stops you, or if you feel that you haven’t finished. You don’t need to describe everything. Just keep talking, and the examiner will stop you when your time is over.
Want more practice? In this section, there are four photos. Try to describe them. Use a timer, and try to talk for a minute.
If you want, you can write your answers down, and share them with other students in the YouTube comments!
That’s it for this lesson. Good luck if you have a B1 speaking exam coming up soon.