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A2 Key for Schools

Exam format

A2 Key for Schools is made up of three papers developed to test students’ English skills. You can see exactly what’s in each paper below.

Paper

Content

Marks (% of total)

Purpose

Reading and Writing (1 hour 10 minutes)
See sample paper

9 parts/ 56 questions

50%

Shows a student can understand simple written information such as signs, brochures, newspapers and magazines. They will also have to fill gaps in simple sentences and write a short message or note.

Listening (30 minutes, including 8 minutes' transfer time)
See sample paper

5 parts/ 25 questions

25%

Requires a student to be able to understand announcements and other spoken material when people speak reasonably slowly.

Speaking (8–10 minutes per pair of candidates)
See sample paper

2 parts

25%

Tests a student’s ability to take part in a conversation by answering and asking simple questions. Their Speaking test will be conducted face to face with one or two other students. This makes their test more realistic and more reliable.

What’s in the Reading and Writing paper?

The A2 Key for Schools Reading and Writing paper has nine parts with different types of texts and questions. Parts 1–5 are about reading and Parts 6–9 are mainly about writing.

Summary

Time allowed:

1 hour 10 minutes

Number of parts:

Number of questions:

56

Marks:

50% of total

Part 1 (Matching)

What's in Part 1?

Eight signs, notices or other very short texts (A–H) and five sentences. Students have to match each sentence to the right sign or notice. 

What does the student have to practise?

Reading for the main message. 

How many questions are there?

How many marks are there?

One mark for each correct answer.

Part 2 (Multiple choice)

What's in Part 2?

Five sentences on the same topic or which make a story. Each sentence has a missing word and students have to choose the best word (A, B or C) to complete the sentence.

What does the student have to practise?

Reading and finding the right word.

How many questions are there?

How many marks are there?

One mark for each correct answer. 

Part 3 (Multiple choice and matching)

What's in Part 3?

The first five questions are about a conversation. For each sentence, students have to choose what the other person says next (A, B or C). The second part of Part 3 is a longer conversation, but some sentences are missing. Students have a list of sentences (A–H) and have to find the right sentence for each space.

What does the student have to practise?

Reading and finding the right answer for everyday conversations.

How many questions are there?

10

How many marks are there?

One mark for each correct answer.

Part 4 (Right/Wrong/Doesn’t say OR multiple choice)

What's in Part 4?

A long text or three short texts. According to the text(s), students have to either decide if the correct answer to each question is (A), (B) or (C) or decide if sentences are Right, Wrong, or Doesn’t say. 

What does the student have to practise?

Reading to understand the detail and main ideas of a text.

How many questions are there?

How many marks are there?

One mark for each correct answer.

Part 5 (Multiple-choice cloze)

What's in Part 5?

A short text with eight numbered spaces. Each space represents a missing word and students have to choose the right answer (A, B or C). 

What does the student have to practise?

Reading to find the right structural word, e.g. a preposition like ‘for’ or ‘since’, or verb form like ‘keeping’, ‘keep’ or ‘kept’, etc.

How many questions are there?

How many marks are there?

One mark for each correct answer.

Part 6 (Word completion)

What's in Part 6?

Five sentences like the definitions found in a dictionary. We give students the first letter of the word and the number of letters and they have to complete the word.

What does the student have to practise?

Vocabulary and spelling.

How many questions are there?

How many marks are there?

One mark for each correct answer.

Part 7 (Open cloze)

What's in Part 7?

A short text, for example a note, email or letter. There are 10 missing words in the text and students have to find the right word for each space.

What does the student have to practise?

Grammar, vocabulary and spelling.

How many questions are there?

10

How many marks are there?

One mark for each correct answer.

Part 8 (Information transfer)

What's in Part 8?

Two short texts to read. Students have to use the information in the texts to fill in a form correctly.

What does the student have to practise?

Reading and writing down words or numbers correctly.

How many questions are there?

5

How many marks are there?

One mark for each correct answer.

Part 9 (Guided writing)

What's in Part 9?

Students have to write a short message, e.g. a note, email or postcard. The instructions tell the student who to write to and what to say.

What does the student have to practise?

Writing short messages.

How many questions are there?

1

How much does the student have to write?

25–35 words

How many marks are there?

This question has a total of 5 marks.