Cambridge English Young Learners 2018 Exam Update

(Reading time: 3 - 5 minutes)

The Cambridge English: Young Learners exams - Pre A1 Starters, A1 Movers & A2 Flyers are fun, colourful and activity based, motivating children to learn in a fun way. They help younger children take their first steps towards learning English, build their confidence and lay the foundations for the next steps in English language learning.

The tests are written around familiar topics and focus on the skills needed to communicate effectively in English through listening, speaking, reading and writing. There is no pass or failAll children receive an award, where performance is reflected on the number of shields they have received. The maximum score is five shields for each part of the test.

A Cambridge English: Young Learners award is a great way to:

celebrate children’s achievement

build their confidence

reward their own individual ability.

A result of one shield means a child can improve a lot in that skill. Five shields mean that a child did very well in that skill and answered most questions correctly.

Children should be ready to start preparing for the next Cambridge English exam if they achieve a total of 10 or 11 shields, or above.

Updated Test from 2018

As part of the University of Cambridge, Cambridge English regularly reviews all of the exams to make sure they are up to date with the latest research in language learning and teaching. Cambridge English: Young Learners exams have been updated and the revised test will start being used for exam sessions from January 2018.

The teachers in Cyprus had the chance to attend seminars on the Young Learners updates at the Cambridge Seminar Tour, that took place on 13-16 November.

The overall structure and format of the updated Young Learners exams has largely remained unchanged.  The words in the new wordlists for Starters, Movers & Flyers have been updated, to meet the evolving language needs and requirements of the technological environment.

Changes to Pre A1 Starters


The new Starters Listening Part 1 task is now the same task as Cambridge: English Movers and Flyers Part 1, but is targeted at Pre-A1 level. Instead of placing objects on the picture, children will need to match names to people.

Reading & Writing paper

There are now both plural and singular nouns. In the new Part 4 task, a semi-factual text now comes to replace the riddle.


It is now made up of four tasks and the examiner will now ask the child their name. The new Part 1 combines the content from the existing Part 1 and 2. An additional question has been added. Children now need to talk about the picture, rather than point (for example ‘Tell me about …’) to Part 2.

Changes to A1 Movers


Part 3 includes matching a list of illustrated words or names with a set of pictures, instead of matching days of the week and actions. This is now the same task as Cambridge: English Flyers Part 3 (but is targeted at A1 level).

At new Movers Listening Part 5 children no longer have to draw as part of this question. As this task might be stressful for children, they will now have just to write a word.

Reading & Writing paper

The total number of questions has now been reduced from 40 to 35. The new Part 1 task has now only five questions, Part 2 has only six questions and Part 3 has now only seven questions. In Part 6, there is a new writing task which replaces the existing Part 2. In this new task, candidates have to complete sentences, respond to questions and write in full sentences about a picture.


In the updated exam, the examiner will ask the child their name and age. In Part 2, the story now has a title and the characters have been given names to provide appropriate context and support.

Changes to A2 Flyers


In Part 5, candidates no longer have to draw as part of this question. As this task might be stressful for some of the children, they will now have just to write a word.

Reading & Writing paper

At Flyers, the task order has been changed to bring easier tasks to the beginning of the test. Also, there are now 44 questions instead of 50. The current Part 2 has been removed to make room for a new writing task Part 7, where candidates write a short story based on three picture prompts. In Part 3, the word options, which children are asked to select from, are now placed before the text.


In the updated Flyers Speaking, the examiner will now ask the child their name, family name and age. In Part 3, the story now has a title and the characters have been given names to provide appropriate context and support.

For further information & preparation materials, please visit the Young Learners exams’ pages on the Cambridge English website:


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