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.

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