Exam

preparation

Pre A1

Starters

Exam preparation

Pre A1 Starters

Exam preparation

Pre A1 Starters

Exam format

Pre A1 Starters is the start of a child’s language learning journey. The test is made up of three papers developed to encourage and motivate young learners.

About 20 minutes

Pre A1 Starters Listening test has four parts. Each part begins with one or two examples. Children will hear each recording twice. Children may achieve a maximum of 5 shields.

Part 1:
  • A big picture which shows people doing different things. Above and below the picture, there are some names. Children have to listen carefully to a conversation between an adult and a child and draw a line from each name to the correct person on the big picture.
  • 5 questions
Part 2:
  • A short conversation between a child and an adult, and some questions. Children listen to the recording and write the correct answer (a name or a number) after each question.
  • 5 questions
Part 3:
  • Five short conversations between different pairs of people. For each conversation there is a question and three pictures. Children need to listen carefully to each conversation and choose the right answer (A, B or C).
  • 5 questions
Part 4:
  • A big picture which has seven examples of the same object (for example, seven balls or seven books). Children need to listen carefully to a conversation between an adult and a child, and colour each object using the colour they say in the conversation.
  • 5 questions

20 minutes

Pre A1 Starters Reading and Writing test has five parts. Each part begins with one or two examples. For all parts of the Reading and Writing test, children must spell their answers correctly. Children may achieve a maximum of 5 shields.

Part 1:
  • Five pictures of objects. Under each picture there is a sentence which begins ‘This is a …’ or ‘These are …’. If the sentence is correct, children should put a tick next to the picture. If the sentence is not true, they should put a cross.
  • 5 questions.
Part 2:
  • A big picture and some sentences about it. If the sentence is correct, children should write ‘yes’; if the sentence is not true, they should write ‘no’.
  • 5 questions.
Part 3:
  • Five pictures of objects. Children have to find the right word in English for the object. After each picture there are some dashes (- – -) to show how many letters are in the word, and some jumbled letters. Children have to put the jumbled letters in the right order to make the word.
  • 5 questions.
Part 4:
  • A semi-factual text which has some missing words (gaps). Below the text there is a box with some pictures and words. Children have to choose the right word from the box and copy it into each gap.
  • 5 questions.
Part 5:
  • Three pictures which tell a story. Each picture has one or two questions. Children have to look at the pictures and write the answer to each question. They only have to write one word for each answer.
  • 5 questions.

3 – 5 minutes

Pre A1 Starters Speaking test has four parts. Children take the test alone with the examiner, but someone they know who speaks their language (like their teacher) will introduce them to the examiner and explain what to do in their own language. Children may achieve a maximum of 5 shields.

Part 1:
  • The examiner will greet the child and ask their name. Then the examiner asks them to point to some things in a big picture. The examiner shows some small pictures of objects. The examiner names three objects and asks the child to point to them. The examiner then asks them to put each object card somewhere on the big picture from Part 1 (for example, ‘Put the shell under the tree’).
Part 2:
  • The examiner asks the child some questions about the big picture from Part 1 (for example, ‘What is this?’, ‘What colour is it?’). The child will also be asked by the examiner to ‘Tell me about …’ one of the objects in the big picture.
Part 3:
  • The examiner asks the child some questions about the small pictures of objects from Part 2 (for example, ‘What is this?’, ‘Have you got a …?’).
Part 4:
  • The examiner asks the child some questions about themselves (for example, age, family, friends).
Pre A1 Starters at a glance
Activities for families

Download the Cambridge Assessment English activity booklet for parents of young learners.

Can Do statements

Linked to the CEFR, Can Do statements show what a learner can do at each level.

Sample tests

Sampe papers

You can download the Listening sample tests from the introduction page of the sample papers.

Word List and Word List Picture Book
  • The colourful Pre A1 Starters Word List Picture Book has many of the words children have to learn for the Pre A1 Starters test.
    Wordlist Picture book
  • You can use the Pre A1 Starters Wordlist to help children to improve their English and learn new words.
    Wordlist
  • The Pre A1 Starters classroom activities book will help children get better at English and learn new words.
    Classroom activities book
  • The Pre A1 Starters progress charts for students and teachers will help motivate learners.
    Progress charts
Speaking test videos

These videos will help your students understand what happens during a speaking test. You can also download examiner comments for each video.

Exam format

Pre A1 Starters is the start of a child’s language learning journey. The test is made up of three papers developed to encourage and motivate young learners.

About 20 minutes

Pre A1 Starters Listening test has four parts. Each part begins with one or two examples. Children will hear each recording twice. Children may achieve a maximum of 5 shields.

Part 1:
  • A big picture which shows people doing different things. Above and below the picture, there are some names. Children have to listen carefully to a conversation between an adult and a child and draw a line from each name to the correct person on the big picture.
  • 5 questions
Part 2:
  • A short conversation between a child and an adult, and some questions. Children listen to the recording and write the correct answer (a name or a number) after each question.
  • 5 questions
Part 3:
  • Five short conversations between different pairs of people. For each conversation there is a question and three pictures. Children need to listen carefully to each conversation and choose the right answer (A, B or C).
  • 5 questions
Part 4:
  • A big picture which has seven examples of the same object (for example, seven balls or seven books). Children need to listen carefully to a conversation between an adult and a child, and colour each object using the colour they say in the conversation.
  • 5 questions

20 minutes

Pre A1 Starters Reading and Writing test has five parts. Each part begins with one or two examples. For all parts of the Reading and Writing test, children must spell their answers correctly. Children may achieve a maximum of 5 shields.

Part 1:
  • Five pictures of objects. Under each picture there is a sentence which begins ‘This is a …’ or ‘These are …’. If the sentence is correct, children should put a tick next to the picture. If the sentence is not true, they should put a cross.
  • 5 questions.
Part 2:
  • A big picture and some sentences about it. If the sentence is correct, children should write ‘yes’; if the sentence is not true, they should write ‘no’.
  • 5 questions.
Part 3:
  • Five pictures of objects. Children have to find the right word in English for the object. After each picture there are some dashes (- – -) to show how many letters are in the word, and some jumbled letters. Children have to put the jumbled letters in the right order to make the word.
  • 5 questions.
Part 4:
  • A semi-factual text which has some missing words (gaps). Below the text there is a box with some pictures and words. Children have to choose the right word from the box and copy it into each gap.
  • 5 questions.
Part 5:
  • Three pictures which tell a story. Each picture has one or two questions. Children have to look at the pictures and write the answer to each question. They only have to write one word for each answer.
  • 5 questions.

3 – 5 minutes

Pre A1 Starters Speaking test has four parts. Children take the test alone with the examiner, but someone they know who speaks their language (like their teacher) will introduce them to the examiner and explain what to do in their own language. Children may achieve a maximum of 5 shields.

Part 1:
  • The examiner will greet the child and ask their name. Then the examiner asks them to point to some things in a big picture. The examiner shows some small pictures of objects. The examiner names three objects and asks the child to point to them. The examiner then asks them to put each object card somewhere on the big picture from Part 1 (for example, ‘Put the shell under the tree’).
Part 2:
  • The examiner asks the child some questions about the big picture from Part 1 (for example, ‘What is this?’, ‘What colour is it?’). The child will also be asked by the examiner to ‘Tell me about …’ one of the objects in the big picture.
Part 3:
  • The examiner asks the child some questions about the small pictures of objects from Part 2 (for example, ‘What is this?’, ‘Have you got a …?’).
Part 4:
  • The examiner asks the child some questions about themselves (for example, age, family, friends).
Pre A1 Starters at a glance
Activities for families

Download the Cambridge Assessment English activity booklet for parents of young learners.

Can Do statements

Linked to the CEFR, Can Do statements show what a learner can do at each level.

Sample tests

Sampe papers

You can download the Listening sample tests from the introduction page of the sample papers.

Word List and Word List Picture Book

The colourful Pre A1 Starters Word List Picture Book has many of the words children have to learn for the Pre A1 Starters test.

  • Wordlist Picture book
    You can use the Pre A1 Starters Wordlist to help children to improve their English and learn new words.
  • Wordlist
    The Pre A1 Starters classroom activities book will help children get better at English and learn new words.
  • Classroom activities book
    The Pre A1 Starters progress charts for students and teachers will help motivate learners.
  • Progress charts
Speaking test videos

These videos will help your students understand what happens during a speaking test. You can also download examiner comments for each video.