What you need to know about the updated Cambridge Assessment English YL exams

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cambridge assessment english young learners

As the world evolves and we are exposed to new ideas, technologies and trends, we adapt the way we go about our daily lives. The education industry is no different – content, teaching methods and exams need to be updated regularly in order to keep them relevant to the needs of our learners.

This is why Cambridge Assessment English has recently incorporated new approaches to pedagogy and assessment to make some significant changes in its young learner exams.   

The exams will also now be more closely aligned with the other ‘Main Suite’ qualifications which Cambridge offers, improving the language learning journey for students.

What are the changes?

Starters

Starters is the first of three tests that Cambridge Assessment English offers for young learners. It’s a good way for students to get used to taking exams and helps create a positive attitude towards tests. This exam is aimed at children between 7–8 years old.

Level: Pre-Beginner or Pre-A1 on the Common European Framework or GSE 10–21 on the Pearson Global Scale of English.

Listening

Part 1: New Task. Students have to listen to a dialogue between an adult and a child and match the names to the people in the picture. Those familiar with the previous test should note that students no longer place objects on the picture.

Reading and Writing

Part 1: Students have to read five sentences and decide if they match the pictures or not. This section now includes both plural and singular objects.

Part 4: Students now read a factual or semi-factual text and complete the gaps with the words with pictures below, instead of answering a riddle. This makes it more relevant to CLIL courses.

Speaking

This is now made up of four parts. The students are also asked their name at the start.

Part 1: This is a combination of parts 1 and 2 from the old exam. Students have to point to the correct part of the picture and then place object cards on the scene picture as directed.

Part 2 : Students answer questions about the scene picture including a new ‘Tell me about…’ question.

How can you help your students?

  • Practice describing people in pictures. Talk about their hair, clothes and what they are doing.
  • Teach them nouns in both their singular and plural form.
  • Read a variety of short (level appropriate) texts and check for general understanding as well as vocabulary.

Movers

Movers is the second of three tests that Cambridge Assessment English offer for young learners. It is a good way to encourage them to communicate in real-life situations in English. This exam is aimed at children between 8-11 years old.

Level: Beginner or A1 on the Common European Framework or GSE 22 – 29 on the Pearson Scale of English.

Listening

Part 1: New Task. Students now listen to a conversation and match a list of words or names with a set of pictures. Students no longer match days of the week with actions.   

Part 5: Students listen to a dialogue, color a picture and write a simple word. They no longer have to draw a picture.

Reading and Writing

There are now 35 questions and not 40. The task order has changed and the previous part 2 has been removed.

Part 1: Students match words and definitions. There are now only five questions instead of six.

Part 3: Students read a text and complete the gaps with the words below. There are now only six questions instead of seven.

Part 5: Students read a story and complete the sentences. There are now only seven questions instead of ten.

Part 6: New Task. Students complete sentences, respond to questions and write sentences about a picture.

Speaking

The students are now asked their name and age at the start.

Part 2: Students still describe the pictures but they are now given the title of the story and the names of the characters to help give context.

How can you help your students?

  • Check they know which names are male and which are female.
  • Train them to listen until the end for extra pieces of information.
  • Practice telling simple stories using a pictures.

Flyers

Flyers is the highest of three tests that Cambridge Assessment English offer for young learners. It is a good way to show that students can understand and communicate in basic English. This exam is aimed at children between 9-12 years old.

Level: Elementary or A2 on the Common European Framework or GSE 30 – 35 on the Pearson Scale of English.

Listening

Part 5: Students listen to a dialogue, color a picture and write two simple words. They no longer have to draw a picture.

Reading and Writing

There are now 44 questions and not 50. The task order has changed and the previous part 2 has been removed.

Part 3: Students read a text and complete the gaps. In this updated exam the words are now placed before the text.

Part 7: New Task. Students look at three pictures and write a short story.

Speaking

The students are now asked their name, family name and age at the start.

Part 3: Students describe the pictures and they are given the title of the story and the names of the characters to help give context.

How can you help your students?

  • Practice following simple instructions.
  • Write short stories between 20-30 words.
  • Encourage them to check their answers for spelling and grammar mistakes.

What’s next?

At Pearson we are busy putting the final touches on the new editions of our primary courses and practice test books so they meet the requirements of the new exam formats.

In the meantime, download a free sample or contact a local representative to learn more about how Pearson supports you in teaching young learners.

 

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