KET – Key English Test
KET is the Key English Test. This is an English language examination provided by Cambridge English Language Assessment (previously known as the University of Cambridge ESOL examination). The KET is a basic level qualification which demonstrates the ability to communicate using English in simple situations.
Launched in 1994, Cambridge English: Key is designed to be the first step for students wishing to progress towards higher level English language qualifications, and aims to support learners to master the basics in English. It is focused on Level A2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).
The KET is offered in two variations: Cambridge English: Key (KET), for adult learners, and Cambridge English: Key (KET) for Schools, for school-aged learners. Both versions of the exam lead to the same qualification, the Key English Test. Both versions have the same exam format (three exam papers) – the only difference is that the topics in the ‘for Schools’ version have been targeted at the interests and experiences of school-aged learners.
Both versions are made up of three exam papers, which incorporate all four language skills (Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking). The Speaking paper is taken face-to-face and candidates have the choice of taking the Reading and Writing paper and Listening paper on a computer or on paper.
Reading and Writing. This paper lasts 1 hour 10 minutes and accounts for 50% of the total marks. The Reading and Writing paper has nine parts and 56 questions. Candidates are expected to be able to read and understand simple written information such as signs, brochures, newspapers and magazines.
Parts 1 to 5 focus on reading skills, including underlying knowledge of vocabulary and grammar. The exam includes tasks such as supplying missing words, completing gapped sentences, selecting the right sentence for each gap in a given text, and completing multiple choice questions about a given text.
Parts 6 to 9 focus on writing skills, including underlying knowledge of vocabulary and grammar. The exam includes tasks such as providing a word to match a definition, supplying words to complete spaces in a text, using information in a text to complete a document, and writing a short message of 25 – 30 words.
2. Listening. This lasts approximately 30 minutes and accounts for 25% of the total marks
The Listening paper has five parts comprising 25 questions. Candidates are expected to understand spoken material in both informal and neutral settings on a range of everyday topics, when spoken reasonably slowly.
Part 1 has five short conversations and three pictures. Candidates listen for information such as prices, numbers, times, dates, locations, directions, shapes, sizes, weather, descriptions etc. They then answer five multiple choice questions.
Part 2 has a longer conversation related to topics such as daily life, travel, work or free time. Candidates identify simple factual information in the conversation and match together two lists of words (e.g. names of people and the food they like to eat).
Part 3 has another conversation. Candidates listen for information in the conversation and answer five multiple choice questions.
Part 4 has a recording of a conversation between two people. Candidates write down information from the conversation to complete a message or notes.
Part 5 has a recording of one person speaking. Candidates write down information from the monologue to complete a message or notes.
3. Speaking (8-10 minutes – 25% of total marks)
The Speaking test has two parts and is conducted face-to-face with one or two other candidates and two examiners. Candidates are expected to demonstrate conversation skills by answering and asking simple questions.
Part 1 is a conversation with the examiner. Candidates give personal information about themselves, e.g. about their daily life, interests, etc.
Part 2 is a collaborative task with the other candidate(s). The examiner gives each candidate a prompt card and asks them to talk with the other candidate(s) and ask and answer questions related to the prompt card
KET Candidates who achieve a score of 45 or more (out of 100) receive a certificate, which states the grade and the CEFR level that has been achieved. Although the exam is focused on Level A2, it also certificates reliably at the lower A1 level and the higher B1 level. The achievement of candidates who do not demonstrate ability at A2, but do show ability at A1, is recognised with a Cambridge English certificate at A1 level. Exceptional candidate(Pass with distinction) who show ability beyond B1 level receive a certificate at B1 level.
The certificates awarded at each score/grade are outlined below:
Cambridge English Level A1 certificate
For candidates scoring between 45 and 69.
KET certificate – CEFR Level A2
Grade Pass with Merit, Pass
For candidates scoring between 70 and 89.
KET certificate – CEFR Level B1
Grade Pass with Distinction
For candidates scoring between 90 and 100