Front cover imageKEY FACTS

Guided learning hours: 80-100 approx.
Pass marks: Refer:<50%; Pass: 50-64%; Merit: 65-79%; Distinction: 80%+

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(rev Feb 2022)
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What does Preliminary test?

Preliminary is the first of the levels to divide the language tested into separate skills: reading (including use of English), writing, listening, and speaking. The speaking is optional. The new things tested at this level are:
What does the Preliminary STEP test?

  • About 400 more words (800 altogether, counting the 400 from previous levels)
  • Understanding and use of the past simple, regular and irregular verbs
  • Instructions and commands
  • Adjectives and modifiers, for descriptive and comparative purposes
  • Possession – expressions of ownership
  • Countable and uncountable things, quantifiers both positive and negative

What does the student have to do in their Preliminary exam?

  • Multiple choice questions
  • Fill in gaps
  • Answer questions
  • Write questions
  • Write sentences
  • Answer true/false questions

Student performance indicators

  • Has a basic active vocabulary of about 400 words
  • Can communicate present and past events, recently completed actions and life experiences
  • Can communicate where things are and when things happen
  • Can express opposites, comparisons and ownership
  • Can ask questions, answer questions, and write full sentences

 Grammar and structures list

Grammar and Structure

What are they used for?

Some examples

Past Simple including common irregular past forms as well as regular forms, interrogative and negative Talking about past events We watched a football match on TV last night.
I drove to the hotel.
Did John drink all the orange juice?
Present Perfect Simple
interrogative and negative
Talking about actions only recently completed
Talking about experiences
The man has just eaten the sandwich
Have you ever been to London?
I have never seen a dolphin.
Can + bare infinitive Talking about skills.

I can play the guitar.

Imperative Following single-step instructions in a familiar context  Take a piece of paper.
Stand near the door.
Basic adjectives For descriptive purposes, including expressing opposites

My father bought a new car yesterday.

Comparatives and superlatives Talking about comparisons between people and things John isn't as tall as Jane.
Sue is the tallest / the most beautiful girl in our class.
My rabbit is older than /more beautiful than my friend's rabbit.
The possessive form Expressing ownership

The sandwich is Jane's

Mine, yours, his, hers, its, ours, theirs  Talking about ownership,
possessions, who things belong to
My bicycle is newer than yours.
That book is mine.
much, many, a lot, a lot of Talking about amounts of things which can and cannot be counted How much money have you got? I've got a lot of it!
It rains a lot in England
How many brothers has she got?
some, any  

Talking about things which can and cannot be counted, in the positive and negative

There is some bread.
There isn't any butter.
by, with, next to Talking about where things are

The children are standing next to the clock.

ever, never, ago, yet, just Talking about when things happen

I went to Paris six years ago.