English Proficiency Test

How to prepare for PET exams in 2024

Excel in your PET exams 2024 with our expert tips and strategies. Learn effective study techniques, essential resources, and key preparation steps to succeed.

Published on: Jun 8, 2024




When we talk about exams to evaluate our English language proficiency, the most we are aware about is the IELTS, TOEFL, etc exams to study in Australia. This is because of their popularity and most of the students prefer it over the other exam options. However, for an international student urging to move into Australia, exploring various options is beneficial and recommended. Other than the exams mentioned above, one such exam holds significant importance; it is the Preliminary English Test (PET). You must have heard of it, but not know what it is about and how it can help students in upskilling their proficiency and readiness. 


With the help of this blog, you can uncover essential details about the test. We will explore areas such as exam format, and preparation tips. Through this you will gain decent details about the test and initiate your preparation for the PET. Let's dive into everything you need to know about mastering the PET exam!



Slightest overview of the PET exam


Did you know that this exam is administered by Cambridge Assessment English? No, Like IELTS is administered by the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia, and Cambridge Assessment English, similarly PET is also administered by Cambridge Assessment English. The aim is to evaluate the abilities of an individual to communicate effectively in an English speaking environment. The modules are quite similar to other exams including reading, writing, speaking and listening. 


In most cases these exams are undertaken if an individual wants to move out from their native countries to some other country for further education, career advancement, and international mobility. But the confusion arises to whether it is being recognised globally or not. Why is it so, usually the PET exam has the word “Cambridge” being used first, which causes confusion. Applicants think that it is just confident and recognised solely by the University of Cambridge, however, it is widely accepted and respected by educational institutions, employers, and governments around the world. It is a reliable measure of English language proficiency at the B1 level of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). 

Hence, do not worry about its recognition as it is a highly valued exam used to demonstrate the proficiency in English Language. 



PET modules: an overview


The modules consist of four assessments across areas reading, writing, speaking and listening. These modules collectively measure the effectiveness of an individual in comprehending and replying to the situation to the quickest. Let us take a little swap over these four modules:


Reading: A Candidate is expected to read texts such as notices, emails, advertisements, and newspaper articles, and then answer the questions based on them. The expected time for the conduction of this module is 45 minutes. 


Writing: In this you are likely to write short essays, letters, or emails based on given prompts. This way you demonstrate your ability to organise and present ideas of mind in a compelling way on the sheet of paper. It takes about 45 minutes to get over. 


Listening: Listening is another aspect in which you have to listen to an audio and answer based on what you heard. This test lasts about half an hour, that is 30 minutes. 


Speaking: A candidate is supposed to take part in a conversation with an examiner and another candidate, it seems more like a discussion held on your daily life, and topics that are prevailing in the various sectors of the market. The time taken to conduct this test is 10-20 minutes per pair of candidates. 



How to prepare for the Cambridge PET exam?


Preparation for the PET exam requires an individual to be consistent and structurize their approaches to improve their skills in each area: reading, writing, listening and speaking. Here are some essential tips to help you prepare:


1. Familiarise yourself with the format: The format is discussed above, but is very simple. The test is divided into 4 parts, each used to assess your hold over skills in communication. Whether it is reading, writing, listening and speaking, all these make up a complete English proficiency test. This will help you allocate your time more on the areas requiring more improvements and practice by using resources such as books or online videos. 



2. Develop a study plan: Having a plan will help in organising and maintaining an effective process of learning and upskilling your English language abilities. Outline the goals and tasks you want to focus on in the beginning and it is highly recommended to plan your day ahead every time before going to bed. 


You can follow these steps to create a personalised study schedule for the Cambridge PET exam:


Assess your current expertise in the language: It involves self assessment and identifying strengths and weaknesses in reading, writing, listening and speaking. 

Set goals that are realistic: Do not merely create vague plans, or plans that you know wouldn’t be achieved even being worked upon. Such a situation can bring feelings of disappointment amongst the applicant. 

Include variety in your study schedule: Mix different types of study activities, such as reading articles, writing essays, listening to recordings, and practising speaking with a partner. This variety helps maintain interest and engagement.

Quality study materials and resources: The study material you use is an essential part in your preparation journey, except the expert assistance that is your sole-mate after the class session. The highly recommended books and study guides include the Objective PET and Complete PET, then we have the Oxford university express offering textbooks like Compact PET and Ready for PET. Additionally, the Barron's Educational Series "Practice Tests Plus" for PET offers authentic practice tests with detailed explanations and tips.


You can view the free resources such as Websites of Cambridge Assessment English, Flo-Joe, and Exam English, they are focusing on offering valuable practice materials, including sample tests and exercises. 



3. Building vocabulary and Grammar skills: Make sure that you take your time to develop vocabulary, a strong one. Learn new words to your vocabulary on a daily basis and additionally understand the rules of grammar to improve fluency. Dedicate sufficient time to fill your word bank by reading extensively and by engaging in activities that expose you to using those new words. 



4. Evaluate yourself on a regular basis: Practising is somehow evaluating oneself, everyday you learn new words, or phrases, try to use them while speaking or making sentences with it. At times a single word can be used but with different contexts and situations. Get yourself familiar with these and more.  You can do this by taking full-length practice tests under timed conditions to simulate the exam experience. This method is best to analyse the performance and identify the key areas of concerns in each section. Focus on improving weaker areas through targeted practice.



5. Work on time management: Having efficiency over time is crucial for the PET exam in Australia, as you can increase your speed and thinking process to get excess time in pinning them down. You can optimise your performance and increase your chances of achieving a successful outcome in the Cambridge PET exam. 



Time management strategies during the preparation of PET test:


Create a Study Schedule: Allocate specific time slots for each section of the PET exam (Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking) in your weekly study plan. This helps you focus on one skill at a time and ensures comprehensive coverage.


Set Realistic Goals: Break down your study sessions into manageable tasks with clear objectives. Prioritise areas where you need more practice and allocate more time accordingly.


Use Timers: During practice sessions, use timers to simulate exam conditions and improve your ability to work under time constraints. This helps you develop a sense of pacing and efficiency.


Monitor Progress: Regularly assess your progress and adjust your study schedule as needed. Identify strengths and weaknesses to allocate time effectively for improvement.



Time management strategies during or ongoing of the PET test:


Read Instructions Carefully: Spend a few moments at the beginning of each section to read and understand the instructions thoroughly. This ensures you approach each task correctly from the start.


Allocate Time Wisely: Review the entire exam structure and allocate time based on the number of questions and difficulty level of each section. Stick to your time allocation plan to ensure you complete all tasks.


Prioritise Easier Questions: Start with questions or tasks that you find easier and can answer quickly. This builds confidence and saves time for more challenging items later.


Guess Strategically: If you're unsure about an answer, make an educated guess rather than spending too much time on one question. Mark it for review and come back to it if time allows.


Get Feedback and Guidance: It is very important for an individual from the third person. It might be your instructor, any one from your family or friends. These feedbacks from teachers, tutors, or language partners help in making strategic moves on enhancing the areas of major concern. Learn from their suggestions for improvement. You can even attend preparation courses or workshops specifically designed for the PET exam to gain insights and strategies from experienced instructors.



Tips for Each Section of the PET Exam


For the Reading Section: The type of questions asked would include multiple-choice, matching, and true/false statements and if applicable then short answer type questions. These questions are based on short texts like notices, emails, advertisements, and short articles.

Strategies for skimming and scanning: Yes, you need to swap your eyes over the text and find possible and most appropriate solutions to the questions asked. 

  • Skimming: Quickly read through the passage to get a general idea of the topic and main points. Focus on headings, topic sentences, and the first sentences of paragraphs.

  • Scanning: Look for specific details such as names, dates, numbers, and specific information mentioned in the questions. Use keywords and phrases to locate relevant information quickly.

Practice tips and common pitfalls:

  • You can improve your reading speed and comprehension by doing timed practice tests, for effective time management and to get used to the format of the exam. 

  • Don't spend too much time on difficult questions. Mark them and return if time allows at the end.

  • The exam may include information designed to confuse you. Pay attention to details that directly answer the question.



Writing Section: You will get two sections or tasks here, such as writing an email, letter, report, or story based on a given situation or set of prompts. All of this is to assess your ability to communicate effectively in writing, considering purpose, audience, and tone. Also, it evaluates your constructive way of presenting and expressing thoughts in the mind. 

Tips for organising and structuring your writing:

  • Plan your writing: Understand the topic you have been assigned and then take your time to create key pointers for the same. Spend a few minutes planning your response before you start writing. After you have created a structure, to logically organise your ideas. 

  • Structure your response: Use paragraphs to separate different ideas. Include an introduction (opening statement), body (main points and supporting details), and conclusion (summary or closing statement).

  • Use linking words: Connect your ideas with words like 'however', 'therefore', 'in addition', etc., to make your writing coherent.



Listening Section: The Listening section includes tasks such as multiple-choice questions, matching exercises, and note-taking based on audio you have heard. These are recordings of conversations, interviews, monologues, and announcements.

Active listening strategies:

  • Focus on key information: Listen for specific details such as names, dates, numbers, and reasons.

  • Predict answers: Anticipate possible answers before options are provided based on the context of the conversation or monologue.

  • Listen for signals: Pay attention to stress, intonation, and emphasis in speakers' voices to help you understand meaning and attitude.



Speaking Section: To be considered a “difficult task” is this one, the speaking section involves interactions with a partner or examiner. People get hesitated or nervous during this time but it just involves  discussion on everyday topics, expressing opinions, and giving short presentations. 

Tips for effective communication and fluency:

  • Speak clearly and confidently: Enunciate words clearly and confidently, using correct pronunciation and intonation.

  • Use varied vocabulary: Demonstrate your range of vocabulary by using synonyms and different expressions.

  • Organize your thoughts: Take a few seconds to plan your response before speaking. Structure your response logically with an introduction, main points, and conclusion.

These tips as per each section of the PET exam aims to enhance your preparation and performance on the actual day of exam.





The English proficiency test is not just limited to IELTS or Toefl, rather there are exams like PET which are effective in evaluating one’s expertise in the English language. Preparing for any exam requires prior practice and consistent dedication, therefore we have tried to cater strategies to keep in mind while preparing for your PET exam to either work or study in Australia. Whether you want to seek admission in a prestigious university in Australia or want to move in for a job opportunity, you can rely on these exams for this purpose. 

If you are beginning your English language learning then Start by researching the specific criteria and available alternatives. Else you can reach out to an expert assistance at OZ assignments to prepare for any exam. 


Read More
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2. IELTS vs PET vs TOEFL vs SAT ? Complete Details
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