A2 Key Exam - Information & Structure Of The Exam

Go to A2 Key section to find exercises to help you prepare for the exam.

1. A2 Exam: Overview

Paper Content Duration
Paper 1
(Reading and Writing)
Multiple choice for short texts; Matching descriptions; Multiple choice on single long text; Multiple choice cloze; Open cloze; Guided writing; Short story based on pictures. 60 minutes
Paper 2
Five short listening exercises with multiple choice, gap fill and matching. Approximately 30 minutes
Paper 3
Face-to-face interaction, conversation with examiners and other candidates. 8–10 minutes

The A2 Key exam, also known as Key English Test (KET), is a basic level English language certification that demonstrates an individual's ability to communicate in simple, everyday English.

2. Who Takes The Exam?

The A2 Key exam is tailored for individuals who have a basic grasp of English and are looking to validate their skills. Typically, learners at the A2 level can understand and use everyday expressions and basic phrases. They can introduce themselves, ask and answer questions about personal details, and interact in a simple way. The exam is often taken by school students, adults beginning to learn English, or individuals needing to demonstrate their English proficiency for employment or immigration purposes.

3. Summary of the Exam Structure

The A2 Key exam is divided into three parts: Reading and Writing, Listening, and Speaking. The total test time is about 2 hours. The Reading and Writing component lasts 60 minutes and includes seven parts with different types of texts and questions. The Listening section takes about 30 minutes, including the time to transfer answers, and it consists of five parts. Finally, the Speaking test lasts 8–10 minutes per pair of candidates and includes two parts.

Marks (as % of total)

4. A2 Key Exam Format

Paper One: Reading and Writing

Part Task Questions Marks
1. Multiple choice Identify the primary message in six brief real-life texts. 6 1 per correct answer
2. Multiple matching Link seven questions to three related texts on a shared topic. 7 1 per correct answer
3. Multiple choice Understand a longer text in detail, including the overarching ideas. 5 1 per correct answer
4. Multiple-choice cloze Choose correct vocabulary to complete a text with missing words. 6 1 per correct answer
5. Open cloze Fill gaps in an email (or a reply) with a suitable single word. 6 1 per correct answer
6. Guided writing Compose a brief email or note of no less than 25 words. 1 Up to 15 marks
7. Picture story Create a short narrative of at least 35 words based on picture prompts. 1 Up to 15 marks

Paper Two: Listening

Part Task Questions Marks
1. Multiple choice Understand key information in short dialogues and select the correct illustration. 5 1 per correct answer
2. Gap fill Fill in the blanks in notes while listening to a monologue. 5 1 per correct answer
3. Multiple choice Extract key information from a dialogue and choose from three options. 5 1 per correct answer
4. Multiple choice Determine the main idea or topic from short monologues or dialogues and answer questions. 5 1 per correct answer
5. Matching Match information heard in a dialogue to the correct items. 5 1 per correct answer

Paper Three: Speaking

Part Task Duration
1. Interview Answer questions on factual or personal topics. 3–4 minutes
2. Discussion Discuss preferences, providing reasons for likes and dislikes. 5–6 minutes

5. Scoring/Grading

The A2 Key exam uses the Cambridge English Scale to report results. Candidates receive a separate score for each of the three papers (Reading and Writing, Listening, and Speaking), as well as an overall score on a scale from 100 to 150. To pass the exam, candidates typically need to score about 120 or above. Those achieving a score of 140 or above will receive the A2 Key certificate stating that they demonstrated ability at Level B1.

Cambridge English Scale Score Grade CEFR Level
140–150 A B1
133–139 B A2
120–132 C A2
100–119 Level A1 A1
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