Cambridge PET – Reading Part 1

There is a big difference between reading and understanding the text. In PET reading part 1, students decipher the meaning of five short texts found in everyday situations.

This is my second post focusing on PET exam preparation. Click the link to check out the first part about teaching PET writing Part 1.

In PET reading revised exam for 2020 students complete six parts. Reading part 1 is relatively easy to look at and quick to complete. Candidates look at five short texts such as an e-mail, a notification, a label, a warning sign, etc. and need to choose a paraphrased sentence that is true to the text. This part is short and seems so simple that many students may not think too much about it. Unfortunately, looks can be deceiving, and if we don’t prepare our students to confirm their answers, they may lose some points that can be essential to get a pass.

Just like before, using B1 Preliminary Handbook and Sample Papers for B1 Preliminary can be found by clicking the links or downloaded directly from the Cambridge Assessment English website. I highly recommend checking this website as it is full of official resources. All the pages needed for this lesson, are specified in the lesson plan.

It is a relatively short lesson plan that concentrates on explaining reading part 1 and drills four steps that should be followed to pass with flying colours. The lesson plan and the worksheet following the four steps can be downloaded for free at the end of the post.

If your students want to score high in reading part 1, get them used to these four steps!

Step 1 – understand the context

It doesn’t seem like a big deal, and students usually understand the context without any issues, but it is crucial. It is essential to understand if a given text is, for example, a suggestion or an obligation. Let’s imagine a sign at a local food court – “Please be considerate! Make sure your table is clean before leaving”. Is it an obligation or a request? It is a friendly reminder or a suggestion, but by no means clients are obligated to clean the tables. Therefore, once it is clear we know what modal verbs to look for!

Step 2 – underline the keywords

I can’t tell you how many eye-rolls I get when I ask about the keywords! It seems so basic that is constantly omitted. Even in the case of a short text, it helps and narrows the focus to only a few words. It also leads to the next step…


Step 3 – think of synonyms (and paraphrase them!)

Yes, the time is limited, and it’s quite hard to think about every single synonym, but there is no harm in jogging your students’ memory and trying to recall some of the previously learnt words. I wouldn’t necessarily expect them to know many synonyms for each keyword. However, it is a good practice to allow the students to think on their own, and predict the words that can be seen in the multiple-choice answers. You can also ask them to paraphrase the text and see if it corresponds with the options given in the exam.

Step 4 – choose the answers and justify them

Well done, you’ve chosen your answers! It is a good habit to go back to the answers and think about why the chosen option is correct, and the other two aren’t. It will make candidates aware of certain grammar and vocabulary that otherwise could be missed. It is also a good practice to finish the task with a group discussion, so all your students understand and learn from their mistakes.

I suggest using PET – reading part 1 worksheet only initially. You want to develop a routine and ensure that students follow the steps needed to complete the task successfully. Once you see that your students do well in this part, your job is done. Let them do the tasks as they would in the exam.

Feel free to download the lesson plan and the worksheet (with the answers!) below! Make sure to follow my blog for more PET exam preparation!


3 thoughts on “Cambridge PET – Reading Part 1”

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