Hello Exam Seekers,
Last month I posted some general information about the Cambridge English YLE (Young Learners Exams). If you haven’t read my texts yet, make sure you check them out:
As for the past few weeks, I’ve written more specifically about the exams mentioned above. I wrote:
Today, I’m talking about the YLE A2 Flyers Reading and Writing Exam to explain how the exam works and how to guide your young learner to get the best score.
The A2 Flyers Reading and Writing exam has seven parts. Each part begins with one or two examples. For all parts, children must spell their answers correctly.
It is a very friendly exam, with colorful pictures, and they are all activity-based. There are 44 questions that must be answered in 40 minutes. The test has to be done in pencil. Here is an overview task table:
As you can see, they get 1 mark for each correct answer, except on part 7. They receive 5 marks if the text they write is correct. Now, let’s dig into the tasks:
Part 1 – Match the words to the definitions
There are fifteen words surrounding a text with ten definitions (sentences describing or explaining ten of the fifteen words). Children have to write the words next to their definitions. There is a similar task for Pre A1 Starters and A1 Movers. This time, however, there are no pictures.
This task requires young learners to match words to their meaning. Here is a sample:
Practice tips: Help young learners become familiar with vocabulary in a particular area of lexis (see thematic vocabulary) and practice distinguishing between words on the vocabulary list that are similar, or commonly confused. Also, encourage them to read all the options before they answer the questions so that they become aware of all the different related words
Part 2 – Dialogue
There is a short conversation between two people. Everything that the first speaker says is written on the question paper, but there are gaps for the second speaker’s answers. For each gap, children have to choose the correct answer from a list (A–H). There are two responses that do not fit the dialogue.
This task requires young learners to read the conversation, select the appropriate response in each case, and write the letter in the gap. This part of the test assesses their functional language knowledge. Here is a sample:
Practice tips: Remind young learners to read all the alternatives before choosing the correct one. There may initially appear to be more than one valid alternative, but understanding discourse features and referencing will provide the correct answer. Give them plenty of practice with short ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers. Also, practice choosing appropriate responses by giving them prompts or questions asking them to predict responses before giving them the options.
Part 3 – Complete the gaps and choose the title
There is a picture and a box with 10 words in it. Under the box, there is a text with 5 missing words. Children have to decide which word goes in each gap and copy it. For the last question, they have to choose the best title for the text from three possible titles.
This task requires young learners to read for specific information and to the main idea. Lexical and grammatical competencies are being tested. Here is a sample:
Practice tips: Encourage young learners to read the whole text to get a general idea of what it is about and choose a possible title before trying to complete the first gap. Practice guessing which word and which kind of word could go into each gap before looking at the options. Then they can confirm their guesses by seeing and choosing from the options provided. Help them identify words or structures that will indicate what kind of word the answer is likely to be (for example: if the gap is preceded by some, the answer cannot be a countable singular noun).
Part 4 – Complete the text
On the first page, there is a text with 10 missing words. On the second page, there is a choice of three possible answers for each of the gaps. Children have to decide which answer is correct and copy the word into the gap.
This task requires young learners to read and understand a factual text and complete it with simple grammar. Here is a sample:
Practice tips: Young learners should practice forming and choosing the correct type of word (nouns, adjectives, verbs, etc.). Remind them that the options are given, so they don’t need to think of a word to fit the space. However, they can practice by guessing. Also, make sure they are familiar with past forms of regular and irregular verbs.
Part 5 – Complete the sentences
On the first page, there is a picture and a story. After the story, there are sentences with gaps to fill. Each sentence has a gap that children have to complete using one, two, three, or four words.
This task requires young learners to read and understand the story from where they get the words to complete the 7 gaps. Here is a sample:
Practice tips: Young learners can practice by establishing a connection between what is happening in the picture and the text. Also, identifying what is being referred to in a text, especially the meaning of pronouns and adverbs. In order to understand the story, give them practice in identifying different ways of referring to people or objects (e.g., John, he, him, Paul’s brother), and how sentences can be turned around while retaining their meaning (e.g., Last Sunday, our family went to the park to have a picnic can become Our family had a picnic in the park last Sunday).
Part 6 – Read the text and fill in the gap
There is a text (a letter or diary) with five gaps. Children have to write the missing word in each of the five gaps. There is no list of words to choose from.
This task requires young learners to read and understand a short text, and to produce appropriate words to complete each gap. It tests their knowledge of both structures and lexis, including collocations and fixed expressions. Here is a sample:
Practice tips: Give young learners plenty of practice in using common collocations. Most learners find it helpful to read the whole text to get a sense of what it is about before attempting to write anything in the gaps. This may help them get the correct answer.
Part 7 – Write a story
There are three pictures and some lines. Children have to use the lines to write a story based on the images using 20 or more words.
This task requires young learners to understand the relation between the pictures and write a coherent story about them. It tests the candidate’s ability to communicate ideas and to link those ideas in written English. Here is a sample:
Practice tips: Give them plenty of time to analyze the pictures and understand the correlation among them. They should write more than 20 words, but they should be discouraged from writing too many words, i.e., going on to the next page, as writing more means they are more likely to make language mistakes. They can write below the lines if they need to, but quality should be encouraged over quantity. They can write in the past tense or in the present continuous tense.
I’m leaving an A2 Flyers Part 7, sample answers with marks and commentaries for you to download and understand how this task works.
This exam should be done in 40 minutes, as I mentioned. It is vital that you practice this exam with the young learners so that they get familiar with this format. Otherwise, they might not know how to complete the gaps. So make sure you practice with them whenever possible. This will build students’ confidence, and if they get them all correct, they will earn 5 shields.
I will leave a document offered by Cambridge English Qualifications with classroom activities to download if you want. It will help you prepare your students. If you need anything, comment below.
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Have a great week,
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