Cambridge Assessment English: A2 Key
A great first step in learning English
A2 Key is a basic level qualification that shows you can use English to communicate in simple situations and have achieved a good foundation in learning English.

 Cambridge English: A2 Key FAQs
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  • Overview
  • The exam
  • Results
  • Support
  • Registration

Real-life language skills

General and
higher education leaflet

A2 Key is set at Level A2 of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). Preparing for A2 Key will give you the practical English skills to:
  • understand simple written English
  • communicate in familiar situations.
  • understand short notices and simple spoken directions.
It shows that you are able to communicate at a basic level in English. For example, at A2 level, you can expect to:
  • understand and use basic phrases and expressions
  • introduce yourself and answer basic questions about your personal details
  • interact with English speakers who talk slowly and clearly write short, simple notes.
Backed by the largest research programme of its kind, Cambridge English exams provide the most reliable reflection of your language skills.

Choose when and how you take your exam - A2 Key is available as either a paper-based or computer-based exam, allowing you even more choice over how you take your test.

Cambridge English exams cover all major varieties of English and are designed to be fair to users of all nationalities and linguistic backgrounds.

Globally Accepted
More than 3,000 employers, universities and colleges, government departments and other organisations around the world rely on A2 Key.

Fast results
Get your results in just two weeks with our computer-based exams.

A Cambridge English qualification
Once you have earned a Cambridge English certificate, you hold one of the most valuable English qualifications in the world.

What does A2 Key involve?
A2 Key is an elementary level assessment of English. It consists of three papers: Reading & Writing, Listening and Speaking. The Speaking test uses a face-to-face test with two candidates and two assessors. This creates a more realistic and reliable measure of your ability to use English to communicate.

A2 Key has three papers:

Reading & Writing: 1 hour
The A2 Key Reading & Writing paper has seven parts and different types of texts and questions. Parts 1-5 are about reading and Parts 6 and 7 are mainly about writing. Candidates are required to show that they can understand simple written information such as signs, brochures, newspapers and magazines. This paper accounts for 50% of the total mark.

 Nunber of parts:
 Number of questions:32
 Type of questions - Reading tasks:

  • Part 1: Multiple choice short texts
    Read six short real-world texts for the main message.
  • Part 2: Multiple matching
    Read seven questions and three short texts on the same topic, then match the questions to the texts.
  • Part 3: Multiple choice long text
    Read one long text for detailed understanding and main ideas.
  • Part 4: Multiple-choice cloze
    Read a factual text and choose the correct vocabulary items to complete the gaps.
  • Part 5: Open cloze
    Complete gaps in an email (and sometimes the reply too) using one word.
  • Part 6: Guided writing
    Write a short email or note of 25 words or more.
  • Part 7: Pictures story
    Write a short story of 35 words or more based on three picture prompts.

Listening: about 30 minutes (+ 6 minutes transfer time)
The A2 Key Listening paper has five parts (25 questions). For each part candidates have to listen to a recorded text or texts and answer some questions. Each part of the recording is heard twice. Candidates are required to be able to understand announcements and other spoken material when people speak reasonably slowly. There are some regional British accents and occasionally Irish, American or Australian speakers and recordings are delivered clearly at slightly slower than natural speed. This paper accounts for 25% of the total mark.

 Number of parts:
 Number of questions:25
 Type of tasks:

  • Part 1: Multiple choice short texts
    Identify key information in five short dialogues and choose the correct visual.
  • Part 2: Gap fill
    Listen to a monologue and complete gaps in a page of notes.
  • Part 3: Multiple choice long text
    Listen to a dialogue for key information and answer five 3-option questions.
  • Part 4: Multiple choice
    Identify the main idea, message, gist or topic in five short monologues or dialogues and answer five 3-option questions.
  • Part 5: Matching
    Listen to a dialogue for key information and match five items.

Speaking: 8-10 minutes per pair of candidates
The A2 Key Speaking has two parts and will be conducted face-to-face with one or two other candidates. This makes your test more realistic and more reliable. There are two examiners. One examiner talks to you and the other examiner just listens. Both examiners decide your grade. The Speaking test accounts for 25% of the total mark.

 Number of parts:
 Type of tasks:

  • Part 1: Interview (3-4 minutes)
    Respond to questions, giving factual or personal information.
  • Part 2: Discussion (5-6 minutes)
    Candidates discuss likes and dislikes, and give reasons.
Choosing your Speaking Test partner
If you would like to be paired together with a friend/classmate you can request this when you register for the exam. Please note however that research has shown that there are both advantages and disadvantages in taking the test with someone you know and that in the end it doesn’t matter. What is important is that the test judges you on your own performance.
Paper and pencil tests
Try a paper-based sample Key exam paper
 Download the A2 Key sample test
 Download A2 Key vocabulary list

Computer based exams
Watch thisTutorial before to start to help you understand what you need to do.
Try a Reading & Writing sample test
Try a Listening sample test

Answer keys
Reading & Writing answer key
Listening answer key
There is no answer key for Reading and Writing Part 9, but there are sample answers and examiner comments

Information for Candidates

A guide to the exam, with an overview of what’s involved and examples of papers.
 Download Information for Candidates

Guide to exam day tips

Practical information about the session.
 Paper-based exams
 Computer-based exams

Summary Regulations for Candidates
All the important information you need to know when taking the exam.
 Download Summary regulations for candidates

Cheating warning
Cheating is treated very seriously by Cambridge English and if you cheat you will not get a result or a certificate.
 Please view this poster and make sure that you understand what it says.

Your results
If you are successful in the exam you will receive two documents: a Statement of Results and a certificate. Universities, employers and other organisations you apply to may ask you for either of these documents as proof of your English language skills.

'Statement of Results'
Your Statement of Results contains the following information:
  1. Your score on the Cambridge English Scale for each of the four skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking)
  2. Your score on the Cambridge English Scale for the overall exam
  3. Your grade (A, B, C, Level A1) for the overall exam
  4. Your CEFR level for the overall exam. Depending on which university, college or organisation you are applying to, you may be asked to achieve a specific score or grade, either overall or for a particular skill.
For A2 Key, the following scores will be used to report results:
Cambridge English Scale Score
CEFR level
100-119Level A1

The exam is targeted at Level A2 of the CEFR. The examination also provides reliable assessment at the level above (Level B1) and the level below (Level A1).

Scores between 100 and 119 are also reported for A2 Key. You will not receive a certificate for the Key English Test, but your Cambridge English Scale score will be shown on your Statement of Results.

Please click on the image to the left of this text to find out the relationship between the CEFR levels, the Cambridge English Scale and the grades awarded in A2 Key.

You can access your results through the
Cambridge English Results Online website.

Your certificate
If a candidate demonstrates that he/she has achieved level A1 or above of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR), one of the following certificates will be awarded:

B1 Key
Exceptional candidates sometimes show ability beyond A2 level. If you achieve an 'A' in your exam, you will receive the Key certificate stating that you demonstrated ability at Level B1.
A2 Key
If you achieve a 'B' or 'C' in your exam, you will be awarded the A2 Key certificate at Level A2.
Level A1 Certificate
If your performance is below Level A2, but falls within Level A1, we will recognise your achievement with a Cambridge English certificate stating that you demonstrated ability at A1 level.

Results Verification Service
If you want a university, employer or other organisation to verify your result, you must provide them with the information on your Statement of Results and two additional pieces of information:

1.- Your ID Number (a sequence of nine letters and numbers).
2.- Your Secret Number (a four-digit number).

Both of these pieces of information can be found on your Confirmation of Entry, which you receive when you register for the exam.
They can then verify your result by logging in to
Useful resources to help you to prepare for your A2 Key exam
Free Practice Tests

Computer tests
Try a computer-based sample A2 Key exam paper:
Watch thisTutorial before to start to help you understand what you need to do.
Try a Reading & Writing sample test
Try a Listening sample test
The CB sample test is only compatible with Mozilla Firefox. The reason is that this browser is packaged to the Connect Plus program which is used for Live Computer Based Exams. You can download Firefox for free here. Once downloaded, open Firefox and use the links below to view the tests.
Paper and pencil tests
Try a paper-based sample A2 Key exam paper:
 Download the A2 Key sample test
 Download A2 Key vocabulary list
Preparation resources, games and Cambridge activities
Cambridge English resources to prepare your exam...
Online tools and materials to practice the different exam papers and to improve the candidate preparation for the test.
Social media
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Join The Cambridge English dedicated Facebook page for help with exam preparation.
Exams Catalunya YouTube Channel
Watch videos featuring English learning and exam tips on our Exams Catalunya YouTube channel
Cambridge English YouTube Channel
Watch videos featuring English learning and exam tips on Cambridge English TV YouTube channel

Visit the Cambridge English: Key support page here:

Are you a private candidate?
It’s easy to register for A2 Key
in just three steps:
Step 1  Find an exam date

You can take the Cambridge English exams most months of the year.
Use our online search to find an exam date.

Step 2  Complete the registration form

You can complete the exam registration form online or come to our offices to register for an exam.

Step 3  Make payment

Payment for the exam must be made before the registration deadline. If you register after the deadline a late fee of 40 Euros will be applied.
You can choose to pay for your exam via the following payment methods:

  1. By credit/debit card

    Preparation Centres may also make payments by credit card through the Exams Catalunya Online portal.

  2. By bank transfer to any of the following accounts:
    Banco Santander
    Account holder: Assessment and Certification Services, S.L.
    Account number: 0049 4754 89 2516056032
    IBAN: ES9400494754892516056032
    Banco Sabadell
    Account holder: Assessment and Certification Services, S.L.
    Account number: 0081 0053 54 0001180228
    IBAN: ES7300810053540001180228

    IMPORTANT: If you pay for your exam by bank transfer you should clearly state the name and surname/s of the candidate and the level and date of the exam session. All transfers must reach us free of bank charges or interest. Exams Catalunya will not be responsible for these charges. You must send us the payment receipt by email to so that we may trace your payment with the bank. Your place on the exam will not be confirmed until we receive a payment receipt for the exam fee.

  3. At our offices:
    Registration and payment for exams may also be made at our offices. If candidates choose this option payment should be made on registering. Payment may be made in cash, by bank transfer or credit/debit card.

    C/ Freixa, 5-9
    08021 Barcelona
    Tel: 934 111 333
    Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9am - 5pm
    The candidate may register directly or send someone to register in his/her name.
IMPORTANT: After we receive the exam registration form a confirmation of receipt will be sent to the candidate. Once the exam fees have been settled the candidate will receive confirmation that he/she is registered to take the exam.
If you do not receive confirmation of your exam registration within 3 working days please phone us on tel.: 934 111 333. You should also check that our email has not been sent to your junk/spam mail folder.