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A2 Key

Exam format

A2 Key is made up of three papers developed to test your English skills. You can see exactly what is 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 you can understand simple written information such as signs, brochures, newspapers and magazines.

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

5 parts/ 25 questions

25%

Requires you 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%

Shows you can take part in a conversation by answering and asking simple questions. Your Speaking test will be conducted face to face with one or two other candidates and two examiners. This makes your 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. You have to match each sentence to the right sign or notice.

What do I 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 are related to a story. Each sentence has a missing word and you have to choose the best word (A, B or C) to complete the sentence.

What do I have to practise?

Reading and using vocabulary correctly.

How many questions are there?

How many marks are there?

One mark for each correct answer. 

Part 3 (Multiple choice)

What's in Part 3?

The first five questions are things you say in a conversation. For each sentence, you 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. You have a list of sentences (A–H) and you have to find the right sentence for each space.

What do I 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. You have to read the text(s) and seven sentences. You have to decide if each sentence is Right, Wrong, or Doesn't say, or choose the right answer (A, B or C) to the questions. 

What do I 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 means there is a missing word and you have to choose the right answer (A, B or C). 

What do I have to practise?

Reading to find the right sort of 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 you find in a dictionary. We give you the first letter of the word and the number of letters, and you have to complete the word.

What do I 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 letter or postcard. There are 10 missing words in the text and you have to think of the right word to complete each space.

What do I 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?

One or two short texts to read. You have to use the information in the texts to fill in a note, form, diary, or other document correctly.

What do I 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?

You have to write a short message, note, email or postcard. The instructions tell you who to write to and what to say.

What do I 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.