Cambridge English Exams

Structure and marks

How are Cambridge exams calculated?

The PDF below is just the ticket when it comes to converting mock or practice test scores to Cambridge English Scale scores.

https://www.cambridgeenglish.org/images/210434-converting-practice-test-scores-to-cambridge-english-scale-scores.pdf

Let’s start with the Young Learners of English exams, YLE Starters, Movers and Flyers. What do they consist of?

A1 STARTERS

It lasts about 45 minutes. A maximum of five shields is given for each paper.

PaperContent
Listening (about 20 minutes)
4 parts / 20 questions
Reading and Writing (about 20 minutes)5 parts / 25 questions
Speaking (3-5 minutes)4 parts

A1 MOVERS

It lasts about 1 hour. A maximum of five shields is given for each paper.

PaperContent
Listening (about 25 minutes)5 parts / 25 questions
Reading and Writing (about 30 minutes)6 parts / 35 questions
Speaking (5-7 minutes)4 parts

A2 FLYERS

It lasts about 1 hour 15 minutes. A maximum of five shields is given for each paper.

PaperContent
Listening (about 25 minutes)5 parts / 25 questions
Reading and Writing (about 40 minutes)7 parts / 44 questions
Speaking (7-9 minutes)4 parts

So, no matter the number of shields the candidate has got in each paper, there is no pass or fail. Everyone receives a certificate. Great motivation! The more shields you have, the closer and better prepared you are to start your preparation for A2 Key for Schools.

The young learners are awarded with a certificate, like this one: 

Together with the certificate, there is a personalized Statement of Results.  Take a look: https://www.cambridgeenglish.org/Images/591846-english-flyers-sample-statement-of-results.pdf

This is both important and encouraging since it shows the candidate’s strengths, as well as the areas that should be improved, and last but not least, some advice on what can be done to get better at English. 

Are you preparing for A2 Key and A2 Key for Schools? In this case, this information is for you.

A2 KEY and A2 KEY FOR SCHOOLS

It lasts about 1 hour 40 minutes.

PaperTimeContentMarks
Total: 130
Reading and Writing 1 hour7 parts / 32 questions60 marks
Listeningabout 30 minutes (plus 6 minutes transfer time)5 parts / 25 questions25 marks
Speaking8-10 minutes2 parts45 marks
The Reading section consists of Parts 1-5. There are 30 possible marks.
The Writing section includes Parts 6 and 7. There are 30 possible marks.

Looking at the way the test scores are converted to the Cambridge English scale score, a minimum of 82 test score out of the 130 total mark is required to pass A2 Key, which is 60% (63.08%).

Let’s look into the B1 Preliminary and B1 Preliminary for Schools.

B1 PRELIMINARY and B1 PRELIMINARY FOR SCHOOLS

It lasts about 2 hours 12 minutes.

PaperTimeContentMarks
Total: 125
Reading45 minutes6 parts / 32 questions30 marks
Writing45 minutes2 parts / 2 questions40 marks
Listening30 minutes4 parts / 25 questions25 marks
Speaking12 minutes per pair of candidates4 parts30 marks

Looking at the way the test scores are converted to the Cambridge English scale score, a minimum of 83 test score out of 125 total mark is required to pass B1 Preliminary, which is 70% (66.4%).

Let’s analyse the B2 First and B2 First for Schools exam structure.

B2 FIRST and B2 FIRST FOR SCHOOLS

It lasts about 3 hours 30 minutes.

PaperTimeContentMarks
Total: 200
Reading and Use of English1 hour 15 minutes7 parts / 52 questions70 marks
Writing1 hour 20 minutes2 parts / 2 questions40 marks
ListeningAbout 40 minutes4 parts / 30 questions30 marks
Speaking14 minutes per pair of candidates4 parts60 marks
The Reading section consists of Parts 1, 5, 6 and 7. There are 42 possible marks.
The Use of English section includes Parts 2, 3 and 4. There are 28 possible marks.

Looking at the way the test scores are converted to the Cambridge English scale score, a minimum of 120 test score out of 200 total mark is required to pass B2 First, which is 60%.

How are things with C1 Advanced exam? Let’s take a close look at its structure.

C1 ADVANCED

It lasts about 4 hours.

PaperTimeContentMarks
Total: 208
Reading and Use of English1 hour 30 minutes8 parts / 56 questions78 marks
Writing1 hour 30 minutes2 parts / 2 questions40 marks
ListeningAbout 40 minutes4 parts / 30 questions30 marks
Speaking15 minutes per pair of candidates4 parts60 marks
The Reading section consists of Parts 1, 5, 6, 7 and 8. There are 50 possible marks.
The Use of English section includes Parts 2, 3 and 4. There are 28 possible marks.

Looking at the way the test scores are converted to the Cambridge English scale score, a minimum of 135 test score out of 208 total mark is required to pass C1 Advanced, which is 60% (about 64.9%).

Are you about to reach to the top? You are the ONE!

C2 PROFICIENCY

C2 Proficiency lasts slightly more than 4 hours. It’s got the following structure:

PaperTimeContentMarks
Total: 217
Reading and Use of English1 hour 30 minutes7 parts / 53 questions72 marks
Writing1 hour 30 minutes2 parts / 2 questions40 marks
ListeningAbout 40 minutes4 parts / 30 questions30 marks
Speaking16 minutes per pair of candidates4 parts75 marks
The Reading section consists of Parts 1, 5, 6 and 7. There are 44 possible marks.
The Use of English section includes Parts 2, 3 and 4. There are 28 possible marks.

Looking at the way the test scores are converted to the Cambridge English scale score, a minimum of 132 test score out of 217 total mark is required to pass C2 Proficiency, which is 60%.

If you have passed the above exams (grades A, B, or C), you will recieve a Certificate and a Statement of Results.

The latest will provide you with the following information:
1. Result (grade), Overall Score and CEFR Level, and
2. Your score for each of the four skills (Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking)

IMPORTANT:
If you Pass with Distinction (grade A), the certificate states that you have demonstrated ability at the next level.
If you Pass with Merit (grade B) or Pass (grade C), you receive a certificate at the level you have taken the exam.
If your performance is below grade C, the certificate states that you have demonstrated ability at the level below.


No certificate is issued if the candidate has got a lower score than 100 (in the A2 key exam), 120 (in the B1 Preliminary exam), etc.

Here are the scores which are used to report your results:

LevelGrade A
Pass with Distinction
Grade B
Pass with Merit
Grade C
Pass
Level below:
A2 Key140-150
CEFR level B1
133-130
A2
120-132
A2
Level A1 Certificate 100-119
B1160-170
CEFR level B2
153-159
B1
140-152
B1
Level A2 Certificate
120-139
B2180-190
CEFR level C1
173-179
B2
160-172
B2
Level B1 Certificate
140-159
C1200-210
CEFR level C2
193-199
C1
180-192
C1
Level B2 Certificate
160-179
C2220-230213-319200-212Level C1 Certificate
180-199

Remember to keep the ID Number (a sequence of nine letters and numbers), as well as your Secret Number (a four-digit number) from the Confirmation of Entry, which you are sent when you register for the exam. Why?

The university you are applying for, as well as your potential employer, will ask for proof to verify your English result. In this case, you must provide them with the information on your Statement of Results, and the two above-mentioned numbers.

By accessing the link below and registering, the university, company or other institution will verify the results of their applicants using the new Results Verification Service.

https://www.cambridgeenglish.org/cmp/verifiers/

Now, after having read what most interests you, I hope the above information has provided you with the answers you have been looking for to any of your doubts related to the Cambridge exams structure, marks and punctuation.

Stay tuned for more words of advice and handy material!

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