Cambridge English: Preliminary – DOs and DON’Ts
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.