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Preparation Tips for Cambridge PET Exams

Certificates for well-known exams are a great way to boost a student’s profile. The Cambridge Preliminary English Test (PET) is a very popular exam for students in Hong Kong, and for good reason. This B1-level qualification proves you have the English-language skills needed for everyday use. Many i-Learner students take this four-skill exam, and I’ve got some simple tips for improving grades:

Do Past Papers

Cambridge University Press publishes several collections of examination papers and mock exercises. You can pick these up from an i-Learner tutorial centre. By doing authentic exam practice, candidates familiarise themselves with the test format so there are no surprises on the day. Checking their answers against the mark scheme also gives students a clear understanding of the exam’s marking and grading. I also recommend that students do plenty of preparation with multiple choice cloze practice to consolidate their grammar skills and improve accuracy.

Read Authentic Texts

The reading component of PET contains five parts, and it’s often the hardest section for students. Candidates struggle to understand the details of the texts within the time limit, often because they’re not experienced at reading a wide range of text types. To prepare for this exam, students should read a variety of factual texts, for example, newspaper and magazine articles, brochures and leaflets. This helps students spot key information quickly and expand their vocabulary. This is also useful for the writing part, in which candidates have to write short, communicative messages.

Practise speaking in a study group

The format for the speaking exam is two candidates talking to two examiners. Forming a study group of four will give students the chance to practise presenting facts, discussing alternatives, negotiating and describing photographs. With proper feedback, everyone can become more confident in using accurate grammar and vocabulary to excel in discourse management.


In a nutshell, PET is not that daunting as long as you understand the format and prepare. Our short course helps candidates polish their skills in a matter of weeks.