We are all familiar with the Cambridge exams regulations and the way we can help our students to be successful. But have you ever wondered why are they important for children?
Cambridge exams are designed to assess the English language skills of children and teenagers. Aged between seven and twelve years old, the Cambridge English Young Learners (YLE) exams are available at three assessment levels (Starters, Movers and Flyers) that encourage children to work by monitoring their progress.
Cambridge English Starters is the first of three Cambridge English Young Learners (YLE) tests for children. Most of the Romanian students usually sign up for this exam during the second grade, but some of them have it during the first or third grade as well. This test encourages students to learn English from an early age and create a positive attitude to language tests. Children who take the test have usually had about 100 hours of English lessons. Here is what students can do for the pre A1 level (Starters)- listening and speaking skills: understand letters of the English alphabet when heard, understand some simple spoken instructions given in short, simple phrases, understand some simple spoken questions about self – such as name, age, favourite things or daily routine, understand some very simple spoken descriptions of people – such as name, gender, age, mood, appearance or what they are doing, understand some very simple spoken descriptions of everyday objects – such as how many, colour, size or location, understand some very short conversations that use familiar questions and answers, name some familiar people or things – such as family, animals, and school or household objects, give very basic descriptions of some objects and animals – such as how many, colour, size or location and respond to very simple questions with single words or a ‘yes/no’ response. For Reading and Writing skills, students need to prove they can read and understand some simple sentences, including questions, can follow some very short stories written in very simple language, can write the letters of the English alphabet, can write names using the English alphabet, can copy words, phrases and short sentences, can spell some very simple words correctly.
Cambridge English Movers is the second of three Cambridge English Young Learners (YLE) tests for children. Most of the Romanian students usually sign up for this exam during the third grade. This test also encourages children to communicate in real-life situations in English and create a positive attitude to language tests. The level of qualification for Movers YLE is A1 on the Common European Framework.
Here is what students can do for the A1 level (Movers)- listening and speaking skills: understand very simple spoken dialogues about familiar topics with the help of pictures, understand very simple spoken descriptions about people and objects, express agreement or disagreement with someone using short, simple phrases, respond to questions on familiar topics with simple phrases and sentences, give simple descriptions of objects, pictures and actions, tell a very simple story with the help of pictures, ask someone how they are and ask simple questions about habits and preferences. For Reading and Writing skills, students need to prove they can understand some simple signs and notices, can read and understand some short factual texts with the help of pictures, can read and understand some short, simple stories about familiar topics with the help of pictures, can write short, simple phrases and sentences about pictures and familiar topics, write simple sentences giving personal details, can write short, simple sentences about likes and dislikes.
Cambridge English Flyers is the highest of three Cambridge English Young Learners (YLE) tests for children between the ages of seven and twelve years old. This test shows that children can understand simple English in everyday situations and can communicate in basic English. The level of qualification for Flyers YLE is A2 on the Common European Framework. Usually fourth graders sign up for this exam, the level of difficulty being higher.
Here is what students can do for the A2 level (Flyers)- listening and speaking skills: understand instructions given in more than one sentence, understand simple spoken descriptions of objects, people and events, understand simple conversations on everyday topics, ask basic questions about everyday topics, tell short, simple stories using pictures or own ideas, give simple descriptions of objects, pictures and actions and talk briefly about activities done in the past. For Reading and Writing skills, students need to prove they can understand simple written descriptions of objects, people and events, can understand simple, short stories containing narrative tenses, can read and understand short texts, even if some words are unknown, can link phrases or sentences with connectors like ‘and’, ‘because’ and ‘then’, can write simple descriptions of objects, pictures and actions and write a short, simple story using pictures or own ideas (30 words or more).
Cambridge YLE exams are enjoyable for children and there is no pass/fail certificate. The students receive worldwide recognized certificates, so their efforts are rewarded and their work is encouraged. The certificates have shields and are organized for the three skills: Reading & Writing, Listening and Speaking.
Moreover, the exam itself is user-friendly and can be adapted for special needs or disabled students, giving them a chance to prove their skills to the world. There are also many materials, some of them found for free on the internet, that can help candidates practise their skills.
In conclusion, Cambridge YLE Exams are a great way to introduce the child into the world of learning a foreign language and to help build self-esteem and create a good start.