Hello Exam Seekers,
If you found this post, it is because you are probably a parent or a teacher, or even someone else interested in tips or some guidance for the young learners’ exams. This text is about clarifying just a bit about the world of exams focused on younger people.
According to Cambridge English: Young Learners exams are a series of fun and engaging activity-based English language tests. They introduce primary and lower-secondary level students to everyday written and spoken English and are an excellent way to gain confidence and improve their English.
When we think about exams, we usually think about young adults and actually adults sitting for long and extensive hours of stressful tests, right? That’s why we don’t often think about young learners sitting for any exam. However, Cambridge has a special series of certifications for young learners, and since its focus is the children, these kinds of tests are much lighter and in a fun fashion way so that children feel more comfortable in taking them.
The Cambridge English: Young Learners series has three levels of tests:
PRE A1 STARTERS A1 MOVERS A2 FLYERS
Age group: ~6-8 years
No. of papers: 3
Time length: 45 min
Age group: ~8-9 years
No. of papers: 3
Time length: 1 h
Age group: ~9-10 years
No. of papers: 3
Time length: 1h 15 min
They introduce children to everyday written and spoken English since they are based on familiar topics and basic language for them. All covering the major varieties of English (e.g. British English, American English), and covering the four language styles: Reading and Writing, Speaking, and Listening.
The exams are aligned with the CEFR. Pre A1 Starters is targeted at Pre A1 level. A1 Movers is targeted at Pre A1 and A1 levels, with a strong performance indicating A1. A2 Flyers is targeted at A1 and A2 levels, with a strong performance indicating A2.
So, if you are a parent, check the Cambridge website out, they have tons of information about it. If you are a teacher there is plenty of information over there as well, but most importantly: mock tests!!! For you to test with your students.
I have already analyzed and provided some mock samples here in the blog, make sure you check it out:
- PRE A1 Starters:
- A1 Movers:
- A2 Flyers:
Remember that the age cited above is just a recommendation, these exams are designed to offer a comprehensive approach to testing the English of learners in primary and lower secondary education. However, if you have teenagers who have just started English and are not exactly comfortable with the language and with exams, you can apply these with them. They will feel much more confident and comfortable in taking an A2 KEY or a B1 Preliminary later in life.
Marks and Results:
Even though these exams are aimed at kids, it is still expected that candidates follow the instructions carefully and keep within the word limits. In the Reading and Writing papers in Pre A1 Starters, A1 Movers, and A2 Flyers correct spelling is required. In Part 2 of the Listening paper some misspellings are allowed.
The completed question papers are returned to Cambridge to be marked, there is no pass or fail, though. However, children get a certificate with shields to celebrate their achievements. These results are reported in a way designed to provide positive encouragement to learners. All candidates who complete their exam receive a certificate and a statement of results to show what they can do (rather than what they can’t do). They also give the children credit for having taken part in the exams.
Notes for teachers/coordinators:
Usually, those who teach in English franchises don’t have much freedom to give students mock tests or even exams, but maybe you should try and talk to your coordinator/manager about including them in the school schedule. They will be good to evaluate your students’ level and to sell the course easily.
If you are a teacher at a private school, I hope you have the freedom to apply these mocks and the exams, if you don’t, then again, talk to the school coordinator/manager, show them how this will increase the number of students in the school, and the school image related to the English area.
And, of course, if you are selling the idea of the courses, provide your students all the support they need, prepare them with exercises similar to the ones they will probably see at the test, and apply the samples, they help a lot to calm students nerves. Cambridge gives all the necessary support, plus it gives you the list of vocabulary students might face during the exam. Because the focus here is to prepare your students for a better future.
My opinion about applying these tests to young learners:
I actually think it is a great idea to apply these exams to children. Why? Well, the sooner children start taking these exams, the more comfortable and ready they will be/feel for any type of examination they might face in the future. And I’m not talking only about English exams in general, but any kind of test: for a job opportunity, to enter college, etc.
And if they are going to start taking exams at any time, it is better if they have good first experiences, right? Just make sure it is a good experience for them! 🙂 And that they enjoy studying and taking these exams. As I mentioned before, the Cambridge YL exams are designed to ensure that most candidates do very well. They are designed to make learning fun. Children are motivated by working towards certificates and earning the ‘shields’ that record their progress. So make this experience something good for them.
Well, I hope that the information above was useful. But, if you want more information on the topic, just mention it in the comment section below.
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Have a great week,