The key to essential English

A2 Key, formerly known as Key English Test (KET), is a basic level Cambridge English Qualification that shows you can use English to communicate in simple situations. Passing this exam shows that you can:

  • understand simple written English
  • communicate in familiar situations
  • understand short notices and simple spoken directions.

What level is A2 Key?

This exam is set at Level A2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). Reaching this level means you can:

  • 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.

What is assessed in A2 Key?

This exam is made up of three papers developed to test your English skills. You can see exactly what is in each paper below:


Reading and Writing



Time allowed

1 hour 10 min.

30 min., including 8 minutes' transfer time

8-10 min. per pair of candidates


9 parts / 56 questions

5 parts / 25 questions

2 parts


Shows you can understand simple written information such as signs, brochures, newspapers and magazines.

Requires you to be able to understand announcements and other spoken material when people speak reasonably slowly.

Shows you can take part in a conversation by answering and asking simple questions. Your Speaking test will be conducted face to face with one or two other candidates and two examiners.