Cambridge English: Key (KET)

Cambridge English: Key (KET)

KET is Cambridge English's exam which recognises the ability to deal with everyday written and spoken English at a basic level.

Key facts

CEFR level: A2 What's this?
Test format: Computer or paper-based
No. of papers: 3
Exam length: About 2 hours
Is KET for you? At a glance?
  • Do you have basic English skills?
  • Can you understand simple written English?
  • Can you communicate in familiar situations?
  • Can you understand short notices and simple spoken directions?
If this describes your skills now, or describes the level of skills you are working towards, then KET is the right exam for you.
KET is at Level A2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) — an internationally recognised benchmark of language ability. The framework uses six levels to describe language ability from A1 to C2. 'Can Do' statements have been used to describe these levels in terms of real language skills.

At A2 level, typical users can be expected to:

  • Understand and use everyday expressions and basic phrases
  • Introduce themselves and answer basic questions about your personal details
  • Interact with English speakers who talk slowly and clearly.

Your preparation for KET will give you these kinds of practical language skills.

What will KET do for you? Recognition

Cambridge English is a department of the world-famous and historic University of Cambridge. Attaining one of its certificates is an achievement and a reward in itself. However, there are many other benefits to taking KET:

  • A KET certificate is valid for life. You will not need to take the exam again
  • KET is a truly international certificate, recognised around the world for business and study purposes
  • Thousands of employers, universities and government departments officially recognise KET as a basic qualification in English
  • KET gives you a pathway to higher qualifications such as the Preliminary English Test (PET) and First Certificate in English (FCE)
  • KET's 'Can Do' skills give you the confidence to use English in real situations.
Format of the KET exam?

KET has three papers:

Reading and Writing: 1 hour 10 minutes

You will need to be able to understand simple written information such as signs, brochures, newspapers and magazines. You will also have to fill gaps in simple sentences and write a short piece of around 25 words.

Listening: 30 minutes

You need to show your ability to understand announcements and other spoken material when spoken reasonably slowly.

Speaking: up to 10 minutes

You will need to demonstrate you can take part in a conversation by answering and asking simple questions. Speaking tests are normally held with two candidates.

  • Communicate more effectively in your own life and to focus your language learning on the skills you will actually need.
  • Because KET exams focus on all four communication skills — Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking — you increase your confidence in using English in everyday situations.
Your results

Cambridge English: Key gives detailed, meaningful results. All candidates receive a Statement of Results. Candidates whose performance ranges between CEFR Levels A2 and A1 will also receive a certificate.

Statement of Results

This document outlines:

  • Your candidate result. This result is based on your total score in all three papers.
  • A graphical display of your performance in each paper (shown against the scale Exceptional – Good – Borderline – Weak).

A standardised score out of 100 which allows you to see exactly how you performed. It has set values for each grade, allowing comparison across sessions of the exam.

Your certificate

  • Cambridge English: Key – Level A2: If you achieve Pass with Merit or Pass in your exam, you will be awarded the Key English Test 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 need to allow employers, universities or other organisations to verify your examination results, just send them your Candidate ID and Candidate Secret Number (printed on your Statement of Entry) and they can check your result quickly and securely online at