B1 Preliminary Reading Tip

Today’s activity will help you successfully do Part 2 of the B1 Preliminary exam reading paper.

5 X 8? Does this ring a bell to you? 

This refers to the structure and format of the reading task Part 2:

  • 5 descriptions of people, and
  • 8 short texts.

Candidates must find the perfect match by taking into consideration each person’s requirements on a given subject.

Can you identify a common pattern in all these texts?

  • Karl enjoys taking photos of his family, and wants to use them as a basis for the art he produces. He’d like to go somewhere that also offers private lessons. (Cambridge B1 Preliminary for Schools Trainer)
  • Matt wants a market where he can get something to wear at reasonable prices, and something hot to eat. He’s also keen on music, and likes finding rare recordings by different bands. (Preliminary English Test, sample test 2018)
  • Sarah and her husband would like to spend the day outdoors. They don’t like going on rides but are both interested in history and how people used to live. (Practice test)

These three people’s descriptions, despite having different subjects since they are taken from three different tests, do follow one common pattern, don’t they?

They all provide us with the following clues:

  1. People’s interests (what they enjoy, sometimes based on previous experience and abilities)
  2. People’s expectations (what they want to do)
  3. People’s preferences (what they would or wouldn’t like to do, like place, time, price, etc)

Now that we’ve identified these common patterns, let’s do one exam task.

B1 Preliminary Reading Practice

Step ONE

Read the information about these five people and complete the table. 

The first has already been done below. Follow the example:

Jenny wants to buy locally-produced food traditional to the area.
She needs somewhere convenient to eat, and as she’s
sightseeing in the city, the market shouldn’t be far from local
attractions.

Matt wants a market where he can get something to wear at
reasonable prices, and something hot to eat. He’s also keen on
music, and likes finding rare recordings by different bands.

Sammie wants to visit a market after spending the day in the
city. He would like to photograph a historic place, and buy a
painting by someone unknown

Alexia is looking for a really special necklace for her
grandmother’s birthday. She’d like to spend the whole day at the
market, and wants to avoid the cold by staying inside.

Ella is looking for objects from other countries for her friends.
She’d like to choose a second-hand book to read on the journey
home, and wants a snack at the market, too.

This task has been taken from B1 Preliminary preparation resources.

PEOPLE

  1. Jenny

INTERESTS

Locally-produced food traditional to the area

EXPECTATIONS

Buy locally-produced food 

PREFERENCE(S)

eat somewhere convenient; the market shouldn’t be far from local attractions

Download the five descriptions of people in PDF.

Step TWO

Read the eight texts and find a match for the things in the table.

PEOPLE

  1. Jenny

INTERESTS

Locally-produced food traditional to the area

F

EXPECTATIONS

Buy locally-produced food 

F

PREFERENCE(S)

eat somewhere convenient; the market shouldn’t be far from local attractions

F, G, H

Download the eight market descriptions in PDF.

Step THREE

Choose the answer (from A to H) in case the letter is repeated in all the three boxes for every person. This is the correct ONE!

Download the completed table in PDF.

F, G, B, C, H

Paraphrasing

See how the information in text F skilfully follows Jenny’s description:

KEYWORDS

Person description

  1. locally-produced food
  2. buy food
  3. eat somewhere convenient
  4. the market shouldn’t be far from local attractions 

PARAPHRASES

Market F description

  1. region’s famous cheese
  2. buy something for lunch, … fruit and special breads
  3. eat on the seats situated around the market
  4. close to museums and art-galleries

Find the expressions in the eight descriptions that have similar meanings to the keywords below:

  1. Music
  2. Rare recordings
  3. Something to wear
  4. Something hot to eat
  5. Reasonable prices
  6. A painting
  7. A historic place
  8. Someone unknown
  9. The whole day
  10. Special necklace
  11. Inside
  12. Presents
  13. A book
  14. A snack
  15. Other countries
  16. Second-hand
  1. Music – albums, singers
  2. Rare recordings – hard to find
  3. Something to wear – clothes
  4. Something hot to eat – cooked in front of you
  5. Reasonable prices – great-value
  6. A painting – pictures
  7. A historic place – hundreds of years old
  8. Someone unknown – those beginning their career 
  9. The whole day – late-night opening hours
  10. Special necklace – rare gold and silver jewellery 
  11. Inside – indoor
  12. Presents – gifts
  13. A book – something by a favourite author
  14. A snack – sandwich
  15. Other countries – all over the world
  16. Second-hand – an old copy
B1 Preliminary Reading Practice

To complete the table of interests, expectations and preferences should be part of your preliminary ;), preparation period for the Cambridge B1 Preliminary exam. This is how you get used to quickly finding the perfect match for each of the five people.

When sitting the B1 Preliminary Reading paper, what you should do is the following:

  • Underline the keywords, which refer to interests, expectations and preferences, for each person.
  • Read the eight texts quickly and find the information that matches the words and expressions you’ve underlined.
  • Write, above the underlined keywords, the letter of the text where you found the paraphrase.
  • Choose the letter that is most repeated in each people’s descriptions.

Following these steps, you will always choose the correct text and get the maximum points (5) awarded for this task.

Stay tuned for more words of advice and handy material!

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