Pre A1 Starters Test format

Updated test specification from January 2018

We regularly review all of our exams to make sure they are up to date with the latest research in language learning and teaching. The updated Pre A1 Starters test started being used for exam sessions in January 2018.

At a glance – what’s new?

Download the full list of changes for Pre A1 Starters, A1 Movers and A2 Flyers

These are the main changes to Pre A1 Starters from January 2018:

Paper

Part

What’s been updated?

Listening

Part 1

There is a new Part 1 task. Instead of placing objects on the picture, children will need to match names to people. This is now the same task as A1 Movers and A2 Flyers Part 1, but is targeted at Pre-A1 level.

Reading and Writing

Part 1

Now has both plural and singular nouns.

Reading and Writing

Part 4

There is now a semi-factual text instead of a riddle.

Speaking

Part 1

The test is now made up of four tasks.
This new part combines the content from the existing Part 1 and 2.

Speaking

Part 1

The examiner will now ask the child their name.

Speaking

Part 2

An additional question has been added. Children now need to talk about the picture, rather than point (for example ‘Tell me about …’).

Test format

Pre A1 Starters is made up of three papers developed to encourage and motivate young learners. You can see exactly what’s in each paper below.

Paper

Content

Marks

Listening 
(about 20 minutes) 

4 parts/ 20 questions 

a maximum of five shields 

Reading and Writing 
(20 minutes) 

5 parts/ 25 questions 

a maximum of five shields 

Speaking 
(3–5 minutes) 

4 parts

a maximum of five shields 

Linked to the CEFR, Can Do statements show what a learner can do at each level. Read the Can Do statements for Starters, Movers and Flyers.

What’s in the Listening paper?

Pre A1 Starters Listening test has four parts. Each part begins with one or two examples. Children will hear each recording twice.

Summary

Time allowed:

About 20 minutes

Number of parts:

Number of questions:

20

Marks:

a maximum of five shields 

Part 1

What's in Part 1?

A big picture which shows people doing different things. Above and below the picture, there are some names. Children have to listen carefully to a conversation between an adult and a child and draw a line from each name to the correct person on the big picture. 

What should children practise?

Listening for names and descriptions. 

How many questions are there?

Part 2

What's in Part 2?

A short conversation between a child and an adult, and some questions. Children listen to the recording and write the correct answer (a name or a number) after each question. 

What should children practise?

Listening for numbers and spelling.

How many questions are there?

Part 3

What's in Part 3?

Five pictures of objects. Children have to find the right word in English for the object. After each picture there are some dashes (- - -) to show how many letters are in the word, and some jumbled letters. Children have to put the jumbled letters in the right order to make the word.

What should children practise?

Spelling single words. 

How many questions are there?

Part 4

What's in Part 4?

A big picture which has seven examples of the same object (for example, seven balls or seven books). Children need to listen carefully to a conversation between an adult and a child, and colour each object using the colour they say in the conversation. 

What should children practise?

Listening for words, colours and prepositions. 

How many questions are there?