15 Jan 2024

About B1 Preliminary Listening Part 2

In this post, I’m going to examine B1 Preliminary Listening Part 2 (and, of course, B1 Preliminary for Schools too).

In Part 2 of the B1 Preliminary Listening Test, candidates hear 6 short dialogues. The dialogues are about a variety of topics and test comprehension of a range of different things.

Let’s look at Part 2 Listening in the B1 Preliminary for Schools Sample Paper. Available here: https://www.cambridgeenglish.org/Images/565480-b1-preliminary-schools-2020-sample-tests.zip

The dialogues

It is always easy to distinguish the two speakers as there will usually be a male and a female speaker. Or, the speakers may both be male or female, but of different ages.

Sometimes, one speaker may be the main speaker, with the other person asking questions or making comments (as in question 10 here. The boy talks about his trip and his friend asks the question ‘So, how did your rock-climbing trip go?’, then comments on what he’s just said, saying ‘I can imagine.’

But often, the dialogues will be evenly balanced, with both speakers contributing fairly equally to the conversation, as in questions 8, 9, 11, 12, 13.

Obviously, this means that in question 10, the information that matches the right option and the things related to the two wrong options will all come from the boy. In the other questions, the information that relates to the wrong option(s) may come from the other speaker.

The questions

Each question consists of a sentence giving the context for the dialogue (e.g. 8 You will hear two friends talking about a campsite they have been to.). This sentence is also heard on the audio.

Then, there will be either a question (What did the boy like best about it?) or a sentence to complete (Q11 The girl advises the boy to). The questions or sentences are not heard on the audio.

The options

There are three options for each question (A, B, C). The correct option either answers the question or completes the sentence above.

NOTE: Two of the options are distractors. They are mentioned or referred to in the dialogue, but they do not answer the question or complete the sentence.

Testing focus

B1 Preliminary Listening Part 2 tests a range of different things, details, attitudes, opinions, agreement. In my next post, I will examine the different question types and how students can best handle them.

Cambridge have produced and shared some wonderful lesson plans for the different parts of their exams. You can download the lesson plan for B2 for Schools Listening Part 2 here.

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