Preliminary and Preliminary for Schools Vocabulary List
© UCLES 2018
B1 Preliminary for Schools
© UCLES 2018
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Schools Vocabulary List
Introduction to the Preliminary Vocabulary List
The Preliminary Vocabulary List gives teachers a guide to the vocabulary needed when
preparing students for the Preliminary and Preliminary for Schools examinations.
Background to the list
The Preliminary Vocabulary List was originally developed by Cambridge Assessment in
consultation with external consultants to guide item writers who produce materials for the
Preliminary examination. It includes
vocabulary from the Council of Europe’s Threshold
(1990) specification and other vocabulary which corpus evidence shows is high frequency.
The list covers vocabulary appropriate to the B1 level on the Common European Framework
expected to understand but which are not the focus of a question) and productive vocabulary
(words that the candidate needs to know to answer a question).
The list does not provide an exhaustive list of all words which appear on the Preliminary and
vocabulary to the list alone.
How the list is updated
The vocabulary of English changes over time, with words being added and other words
falling into disuse. In order to maintain its currency, the Preliminary Vocabulary List is
updated on a regular basis, with the decision to add or remove words being informed by
reference to the Cambridge Learner Corpus and English Profile Wordlists.
The Cambridge Learner Corpus is a collection of over 44 million words of English, based
upon evidence of language use by learners from all over the world and from which the
English Vocabulary Profile has developed. The English Vocabulary Profile shows the
most common words and phrases that learners of English need to know in British or
American English. The meaning of each word or phrase in the wordlists has been assigned
a level between A1 and B2 on the CEFR.
A preview version of the English Vocabulary Profile can be accessed by visiting the
Organisation of the list
the week, are not included in the alphabetical list but are listed in Appendix 1. Although
‘grammar words’ (pronouns, modal verbs, etc.) are included, the Language Specification
section of the Preliminary Handbook and Preliminary for Schools Handbook (available from
from www.cambridgeenglish.org) should be consulted for a more complete listing.
Example phrases and sentences showing how words might be used are given only where
words with different meanings need to be constrained. For example, heel is followed by
not expected to know other meanings, such as the part of the body.
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of verbs and particles already in the list. Examples of ‘literal’ multi-word verbs are come into,
, as in ‘Why not come into the kitchen and sit down?’ If the meaning of the verb is
not transparent, e.g. find out, get along, give in, then the verb is listed and an example of
Preliminary for Schools themes, such as
‘Food and Drink’, ‘House and Home’ and ‘Sport’.
Not all the words in the Topic Lists headings appear on the wordlist.
Cambridge Assessment English examinations must not contain anything that might offend or
upset candidates, potentially affect their performance or distract them during the
examination. A number of ‘sensitive’ topics are considered unsuitable for use in Preliminary
and Preliminary for Schools, for example war and politics, and vocabulary relating to these is
not included in the Preliminary Vocabulary List.
The content of the Preliminary Vocabulary List is general in nature and is unlikely to cover
completely the productive vocabulary that may be required by all candidates. Candidates
should know the specific lexis they will need to describe themselves and their lives, for
example hobbies, likes and dislikes.
Abbreviations used in the Preliminary Vocabulary List are:
abbreviation or acronym
Summary of points to be noted
The list does not include every word that may appear on a Preliminary or Preliminary for
The list covers receptive and productive vocabulary.
The list is updated regularly.
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be able to
about 500 students (adv)
The film is about a small boy. (prep)
above (adj, adv & prep)
The movie was absolutely awful.
She has a beautiful French accent.
according to (prep phr)
across (adv & prep)
act (n & v)
in the second act (of the play) (n)
to act in a play (v)
Stop acting like a child. (v)
She seems a bit strict at first, but she’s
Are you actually going to take the job?
adult (adj & n)
book in advance
after (adv, conj & prep)
a travel agency
It took ages for the bus to arrive.
aim (n & v)
air conditioning (n)
air force (n)
alarm clock (n)
all (adj, adv, det & pron)
all right/alright (adj, adv & exclam)
alone (adv & adj)
along (adv & prep)
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among (amongst) (prep)
another (det & pron)
answer (n & v)
antique (adj & n)
any (det & pron)
apart from (adv)
apartment building (n)
Download the app to your phone.
around (adv & prep)
as (conj & prep)
as long as (phr)
as well (as) (prep & adv)
My email address is
at all (prep phr)
at first (prep phr)
at last (prep phr)
at least (prep phr)
at once (prep phr)
at present (prep phr)
attack (n & v)
at the same time (prep phr)
autumn (n) (Br Eng) (Am Eng: fall)
average (adj & n)
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back (adv, adj & n)
bank account (n)
barbecue (n & v)
base on (phr v)
bath (n & v)
bathing suit (n)
be (av & v)
because of (prep phr)
before (prep, adv & conj)
behind (prep & adv)
below (adv & prep)
benefit (n & v)
be over (phr v)
The game is over
beside (adv & prep)
best (adj & adv)
better (adj & adv)
between (prep & adv)
beyond (prep & adv)
black (adj & n)
a blank piece of paper
Shall we walk round the block?
block of flats
blue (adj & n)
board (n & v)
board game (n)
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boarding pass (n)
bomb (n & v)
book (n & v)
I have a booking for the 19th.
bookshop (n) (Br Eng) (Am Eng: bookstore)
bookstore (n) (Am Eng) (Br Eng: bookshop)
a pair of boots
the boot of the car (Am Eng: trunk)
both (pron & det)
Sorry to bother you, can you tell me
‘Sorry I’m late, I’ll do it now.’ ‘Don’t
bottom (adj & n)
brake (n & v)
brand new (adj)
break (n & v)
break down (phr v)
The car has broken down.
break in (phr v)
Someone broke in and stole the
break up (phr v)
When does school break up?
The pop group has broken up.
bring up (phr v)
She was brought up in London.
brown (adj & n)
brush (n & v)
He found a bug in his bed.
a bunch of flowers
a great bunch of friends
bus station (n)
bus stop (n)
but (conj & prep)
by accident (prep phr)
by hand (prep phr)
by mistake (prep phr)
by name (prep phr)
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call (n & v)
call for (phr v)
I’ll call for you at 7.
She called in to see a friend.
camp (n & v)
can (n & mv)
capital (adj & n)
the capital of Italy
care (n & v)
take care of someone (n)
to care (about/for) someone /
car park (n) (Br Eng) (Am Eng: parking lot)
carry on (phr v)
He carried on walking despite the rain.
She carried out the plan according to
Would you like me to carry your case?
I’ll make an exception in this case.
CD player (n)
cell phone (n)
centimetre (cm) (n) (Br Eng) (Am Eng:
central heating (n)
certainly (not) (adv)
challenge (n & v)
change (n & v)
changing room (n)
charge (n & v)
She words for a charity.
chat (n & v)
to chat online