How to Write a Short Story for the B1 Preliminary Test (PET)


A short story is a piece of fiction that has a limited number of words and a few characters.

Parts of a short story
  • Title: It summarizes the whole story, or it is related to the main theme. The theme is the central idea or belief in a short story.
  • Exposition: It is the beginning of the story where you introduce the main characters. It also serves as the introduction to the next part.
  • Climax: It is the action part where the main characters try to solve the conflict or problem.
  • Resolution: In this part, the conflict is solved.

Let’s see a short story sample for the B1 Writing test

Useful vocabulary for a short story

Time expressions:

  • at that moment
  • as soon as
  • _____ minutes later
  • just in time
  • then
  • after that
  • meanwhile
  • while
  • one morning in + month
  • one afternoon in + month
  • one evening in + month

Adverbs and adverbials to spice up your story

  • suddenly
  • in the end
  • eventually
  • unexpectedly
  • right away
  • nearly
  • actually
  • in fact
  • apparently
  • gradually
  • basically
  • obviously
  • anyway
  • all of a sudden
  • without warning

Finishing your short story

  • in the end
  • eventually
  • finally
  • luckily
  • when it was all over

Verb tenses used for short stories

Short stories usually take place in the past, for that reason the most common narrative tenses you should use for your short story are:

Practice time

Write a short story beginning with one of the sentences below:

Plan the content:

  • It was midnight when the phone rang.
  • Alex had been working hard all day and was looking forward to going home.
  • We had been driving for hours when we saw the sign for a small hotel and decided to stop.

1 Write what happened simply, in about 50 words.

2 Think about how you could improve your story by adding more details. For example, adjectives and adverbs.

3 Think about what tenses you need for each part of the story. For example, how to set the scene, and what significant events happened before the story starts.

Write your story in about 100 – 120 words in the box below.

9 thoughts on “How to Write a Short Story for the B1 Preliminary Test (PET)

  1. Practice time

    title: What a terrible day

    Alex and I have been working hard all day, looking forward to tomorrow’s holiday and going home to relax. It was finally time to get off work. My colleague Alex and I live in the same area, so we both drove back together. 

    We were halfway home when the phone rang in the middle of the night. It was our boss who called us and told us that we had to go back to work tomorrow morning for an emergency meeting. I had been driving for hours when we saw a sign for a small hotel and decided to stop. At that moment, I felt very tired and thought that I would have to go back to work tomorrow morning, so we decided to stay at this hotel for the day.

    At 6:00 in the morning, we left the hotel and went back to the company to hold an emergency meeting. In the end, the emergency meeting was not an emergency. Our boss was planning to propose marriage to his girlfriend and asked us to help him think of some ideas to help him complete his proposal. In the end, we spent the whole day off helping him with his plan.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It was midnight when the phone rang while I was sleeping. That was unexpectedly weird because I usually don’t get phone calls at midnight. I immediately picked up the phone. It was Alex. He invited me to go to a disco party the next day. I was surprised to hear him. I hadn’t seen him for a long time, so obviously I said yes, why not?
    When he saw me he didn’t look so happy. He was dressed so elegantly, he said “anyway, let’s go to the disco, my friends are waiting”. Four hours later Alex explained to me that he had a nice job, so he had been working hard all day and was looking forward to going home.
    Alex and I got in his car. He didn’t drive well, maybe he was tired. Unfortunately we got lost. We had been driving for hours when we saw the sign for a small hotel, and we decided to stop. The next day I woke up and Alex wasn’t there, but his car was there. I send a message to his friends “where is Alex?”. They asked me if I had gotten crazy because the night before I had said that my name was Alex. I finally asked myself “Am I getting crazy? I need my medicine?”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Title: Lost?or Spooky event?

    It was eleven o clock when the phone rang when my supervisor called me. I remember that I used to be a
    cameraman for a TV station. My partner Bao was an expert journalist. Our supervisor sent us to a remote
    village to interview a local artist. Apparently, the village is fantastic, surrounded by mountains and built
    along a stream. I was so excited about that moment because I had never been to a place like that.
    We arrived in the village one day earlier. I wasn’t disappointed when I was going around the entire town.
    It’s the most beautiful place I have ever been to. But unfortunately, I went there for work rather than a
    vacation. Bao and I made a lot of shooting plans, especially for our interview. In the end, we decided that
    the background of the interview must be the whole village. So I asked some local people “Where is the
    best place to view the entire village?” Their answers were almost the same, they told me a hill to the east
    was the best. Strangely everyone reminded me that wherever I went I had to go back to the village before
    nightfall. At that moment I thought it was strange, but I didn’t care.
    The hill wasn’t far away, I walked for 20 minutes to get to the top of the hill. It was sunset when I arrived
    there. I still remembered the wonderful scenery and the beautiful village. I was taking many pictures, but
    something spooky happened that I would never forget. When I decided to go back, no matter which way I
    went down the hill, I was still back at the top of that hill. Many times I even went crazy, it’s just like a circle.
    I felt so scared when the sun was getting darker. Luckily I was found by a local man. While he took me
    back to the village, I asked him many questions “What’s going on here? How did you find me? Is there any
    supernatural thing happening?” But he didn’t say anything to me.
    The next day, I wanted to thank this man again when I finished work, but something more spooky
    happened, no one knew him

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A bad call

    It was midnight when the phone rang suddenly. I got up in a hurry and answered the phone. Who was calling at midnight? I had been sleeping for hours. It was my sister-in-law, Xunyunyun. “I want to divorce your brother,” she cried on the phone with a tearful and emotional voice. I was surprised.

    She and my brother Chen Yong had been married for ten years. They had a lovely girl Junjie. I knew there was always some quarrel in their lives. But It was at midnight. Did she call the following day? How important thing was!. “Why do you want to divorce?”, I asked patiently. “We have no money to pay the bill for Junjie’s after-school class. Chen Yong didn’t agree.” She was still crying. So I said, “I see, I see. How much money do you need?”. She answered, “2000 yuan, thank you, my sister”. “I will transfer the money tomorrow morning”, I said. Then she stopped crying immediately.

    I hung up the phone and went back to sleep. But I wasn’t sleepy at all.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Without warning

    We had been driving for hours when we saw the sign for a small hotel and decided to stop. It was midnight and it was raining, the storm made it impossible to see the way. When the car stopped, we went to the hotel. It was a warm place, so we decided to stay for that night.

    My sister went to the lobby while I was trying to check in. Suddenly a man appeared behind the reception. He was really handsome and right away I fell in love with him. It was love at first sight. Immediately we started to talk, I wanted to know all about him. His name was Joseph and he was the owner of the little hotel.

    That night was magic. People say that love knocks on your door without warning, and it’s true.

    After that night we started a relationship and finally, after two years of being together, we will get married next month.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. The worst moment of my life
    It was eleven o’clock when the phone rang. It was an old man telling me that he kidnapped my little daughter. Two days before, my daughter asked permission to go to the cinema with her friend, Lindsey. I said “Yes, you can go but be careful.” After that, the phone rang and I was worried. “Who could call me at this time?”, I said. It was a stranger who wanted money to release my daughter. I was shocked. Immediately, I called the police. The police checked the cameras outside my house carefully and saw the man that had kidnapped my daughter.
    In the end, the police followed the man and caught him. We found my daughter in an old basement. We hugged each other tightly. We cried….

    Liked by 2 people

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