YLE - Young Learners

Photo for Cambridge Young Learner exams (YLE)

Designed to assess the English language skills of children aged between seven and twelve, the Cambridge English: Young Learners (YLE) exams are available at three assessment levels (Starters, Movers and Flyers) that encourage children to work by monitoring their progress.

Cambridge English: Starters

Cambridge English: Starters is the first of three Cambridge English: Young Learners (YLE) tests for children between the ages of 7 and 12. This test will encourage your child to learn English from an early age and create a positive attitude to language tests.

Level of qualification: Preliminary.

Who should take this test?

Children who take the test are usually between the ages of 7 and 8, and have had about 100 hours of English lessons.

In the test your child will need to:

  • recognise colours in English
  • answer very simple questions about themselves
  • write short one-word answers to basic questions.

What happens when my child takes this test?

There is no pass or fail for the test. Your child can get a maximum of five shields for each part of the test. The number of shields they are awarded for each part will be shown on their certificate. They will receive the certificate about a month after taking the test.

Listening Reading and Writing Speaking
20 mins
Maximum five shields
20 mins
Maximum five shields
3-5 mins
Maximum five shields

Cambridge English: Movers

Cambridge English: Movers is the second of three Cambridge English: Young Learners (YLE) tests for children between the ages of 7 and 12. This test will encourage your child to communicate in real-life situations in English and create a positive attitude to language tests.

Level of qualification: Beginner = A1 on the Common European Framework.

Who should take this test?

Children who take the test are usually between the ages of 8 and 11, and have had about 175 hours of English lessons.

In the test your child will need to:

  • understand basic instructions in English
  • fill out a simple form or respond to questions about themselves
  • answer questions and write down simple facts (such as days of the week, times or names) they hear or read in a children’s story.

What happens when my child takes this test?

There is no pass or fail for the test. Your child can get a maximum of five shields for each part of the test. The number of shields they are awarded for each part will be shown on their certificate. They will receive the certificate about a month after taking the test.

Listening Reading and Writing Speaking
25 mins
Maximum five shields
30 mins
Maximum five shields
5-7 mins
Maximum five shields

Cambridge English: Flyers

Cambridge English: Flyers is the highest of three Cambridge English: Young Learners (YLE) tests for children between the ages of 7 and 12. This test shows that your child can understand simple English in everyday situations and can communicate in basic English.

Level of qualification: Elementary = A2 on the Common European Framework.

Who should take this test?

Children who take the test are usually between the ages of 9 and 12, and have been learning English as a second language for two to three years at school (about 250 hours of English classes). In the test your child will need to:

  • explain the differences between two stories or pictures
  • write or tell a short story in English
  • ask questions and use the past tense.

The Cambridge English: Flyers test is roughly equivalent to the Cambridge English: Key for Schools (KETfs) in terms of difficulty.

What happens when my child takes this test?

There is no pass or fail for the test. Your child can get a maximum of five shields for each part of the test. The number of shields they are awarded for each part will be shown on their certificate. They will receive their certificate about a month after taking the test.

Listening Reading and Writing Speaking
25 mins
Maximum five shields
40 mins
Maximum five shields
7-9 mins
Maximum five shield

Cambridge English: Key (KET) and Key for Schools (KETfs)

Cambridge English: Key, also known as the Key English Test (KET), is the lowest level General English exam in the Cambridge English range. It shows that you can communicate in basic English in everyday situations. 

Cambridge English: Key for Schools (KETfs) is at the same level as Cambridge English: Key and leads to exactly the same internationally accepted certificate. The only difference is that the exam content is targeted at the interests and experiences of schoolchildren.

Level of qualification: Elementary = A2 on the Common European Framework.

Who should take this exam?

You should take the KET if you have done about 250 hours of study or practice and can speak, write and understand basic English. This exam is the first step in building your English language skills for work or study in the future. To take the exam you should be able to:

  • ask and answer questions about yourself and others
  • understand announcements and instructions when people speak slowly and clearly
  • tell people what you think about something you read or hear.

What is the exam format?

There are three parts to the exam. You do the Reading and Writing and the Listening papers on the same day. You may need to return to do the Speaking on a different day. You do the Speaking with two examiners and one other exam candidate.

KET / KETfs Reading and Writing Listening Speaking
Time allowed 1 hr 10 mins 30 mins 8-10 mins per pair of candidates
Marks (% of total) 50% 25% 25%

More information:

Cambridge English: Key/Key for Schools  - Information for candidates

Cambridge English: Preliminary (PET) and Preliminary for Schools (PETfs)

Cambridge English: Preliminary is also known as the Preliminary English Test (PET) and Preliminary English Test for Schools (PETfs). 

Cambridge English: Preliminary for Schools (PETfs) is at the same level as Cambridge English: Preliminary and leads to exactly the same internationally accepted certificate. The only difference is that the exam content is targeted at the interests and experiences of schoolchildren.

This exam shows that you can communicate in English in practical, everyday situations. It will give you a good foundation if you want to study for a professional English qualification.

Level of qualification: Intermediate = B1 on the Common European Framework.

Who should take this exam?

Studying for the PET exam will improve your English so that you can communicate when travelling or dealing with English speakers for work.

To take the exam you should be able to:

  • express your likes and dislikes, and discuss them with others
  • understand spoken and written announcements and instructions
  • write a personal letter or take notes from a meeting or discussion.

How does the exam process work?

There are three parts to the exam. You do the Reading and Writing and the Listening papers on the same day. You may need to return to do the Speaking on a different day. You do the Speaking with two examiners and one other exam candidate.

PET / PETfs Reading and Writing Listening Speaking 
Time allowed 1 hr 30 mins 30 mins 10-12 mins per pair of candidates
Marks (% of total) 50% 25% 25%

More information:

Cambridge English: Preliminary/Preliminary for Schools  - Information for candidates

Sitting for Cambridge English: Young Learners tests in Portugal

Register for the Cambridge English: Young Learners tests in Portugal.

Find out when and where you can sit for Cambridge Engish: Young Learners tests in Portugal and the examination fees.

What to expect on exam day?

Cambridge English: Young Learner results are issued approximately eight weeks after the test date. Everyone who completes their test receives an award, which focuses on what they could do (not what they couldn’t do). It gives your child credit for having taken part in the test. 

Why take an exam with the British Council?