Exams & Qualifications / Students

Elementary Level

Providing properly calibrated levels and certificates to help the students through this stage is invaluable!

This is the first stage designed to act as a bridging step upwards towards the top three levels. As part of the upper level suite, Elementary requires the candidate to write for the first time, a short piece of text on a given topic. They must also be able to read and understand a set text and be able to distinguish between the various tenses, using them properly within the examination answers.


Overview of Tasks:

Reading & Writing:



Section W1 (20 marks)

Writing: composition
Choice of four titles 
80-120 words

Section R1 (12 marks)

Reading for information
Two short texts 
Six questions

Section R2 (13 marks)

Reading comprehension
One text 190-210 words
Ten questions

Section R3 (20 marks)

Use of English: general grammar

Four-option multiple-choice

Ten questions

Section W2 (10 marks)

Writing: answering questions
Answer in the past tense
Five questions

Section W3 (10 marks)

Writing: informal message
A message to a friend
40 words

Section R4 (5 marks)

Use of English: prepositions
Fill in five gaps
Five questions

Section W4 (10 marks)

Writing: word order
Put words into order to make sentences
Five questions





Section L1 (10 marks)

Listening for information 
Five Dialogues 
Four-option multiple-choice
Five questions

Section L2 (20 marks)

Listening for words in context 
Fill in the gaps
Ten questions

Section L3 (20 marks)

Listening for meaning 
Ten questions





Section S1 (3 - 4 minutes)
(Task 1)

Warm Up

Section S2 (4 minutes)
(Task 2)

Describing the personal and familiar 
Explaining and answering questions
Prepared: familiar pictures (holiday photos etc. not portraits)

Section S3 (4 minutes)
(Task 3)

Discuss routine and familiar situations
Talk and peer interview
Unprepared topic list

Syllabus and Specifications:

Performance Indicators

The student has sufficient active vocabulary and structural understanding to:

  • write a short connected text on descriptive or narrative topics.

  • read and understand a text from a familiar range of topics.

  • ask and answer questions about past or present events.

  • distinguish between and use a variety of tenses in familiar contexts: past, present and future.

  • express basic intention, purpose, obligation, preference and advice.


Grammar and Structures List 

Grammar and Structures

What are they used for?

Some examples


Future simple -will
1st conditional - with 'if' clause present and result clause will/won't

Talking about future plans 
Talking about future plans which have conditions on them

What will you dowhen you are older?
If it rains, we won't go to the park.

Future of intention 'be going to'

Talking about future intentions

I'm going to see a film this evening.

Past continuous - when, while

Talking about past activities which were interrupted

was having my breakfast when the postman knocked. While I was studying, he played loud music.

Used to

Talking about long past habits and states

My father used to work in an office.
My sister used to have long hair.

Modals -should, must

Expressing obligation and advice

You must studyhard if you want to go to university.
You mustn't worryabout it.
You should alwayslock your car.

Infinitive of purpose

Talking about the purpose of doing something

Jane went to Americato learn English


Isn't he? Aren't you? Do you? Etc

Asking for confirmation of a negative or positive statement or inviting an answer to a question

You are coming to my party, aren't you?
You haven't seen my car keys, have you?


Which, who, that

Identifying people and objects

This is the best cakethat I have ever eaten.
Jack is the one whois sitting at the back of the class.


Myself, himself, herself, etc.

Identify people and objects

He hurt himself.


Adverbs of frequency, e.g.
never, sometimes; adverbs of manner, e.g. quietly, slowly; adverbs of time, e.g. today, now. Adverbs of degree, e.g. a lot, a little
(and associated word order)
Simple modal adverbs e.g. possibly, probably, perhaps
Adverbs of sequence e.g. first, finally, next, then

Describing how often, how, when and to what extent people do something.

Indicating degree of possibility.

Ordering events and understanding instructions and directions.

I have never flown in a plane.
At the moment, the children are playing in the park.
The children walked home 

He is probably in his room.

First, I had my breakfast.
Go down the road and then straight on.

The contrast of too/enough

Talking about the extent of something

The student isn't trying hard enough, he never does his homework.
The student is tryingtoo hard, he will make himself ill.


Prepositions as used in some very common phrasal verbs* and prepositional phrases*.


You must put on a hat if you go out in the sun.
I am very fond of my pets.


e.g. really, quite, so, very

Indicating degree.

It is really hot today.


Markers e.g. right, well.

Use of substitution.

Structuring conversation.

Responding appropriately.

"Right, has everyone got a book?"
I think so. I hope so.


First name, surname, age, date of birth, address, postcode, country, nationality.

Coping in formal situations especially when filling in forms.

Date of Birth: 30.10.78


A good example of an essay at this level:

Marking Criteria




Content organisation

5 = Paragraphs to distinguish between beginning, middle and end. Narrative needs linking words used to order events (and, but, because). Descriptive needs adjectives and ideas organised into logical grouping
4 = Some evidence of paragraphing and attempt made at linking/ grouping ideas
3 =Evidence of paragraphing or a logical chain of events/grouping. Probably not both
2 = Ideas not organised into any logical chain of events/grouping. May be too short
1 = Narrative/ description very confusing and difficult to follow. 
0 = little or no language at all



5 = Minimal errors with language used. Minor errors do not impede understanding
4 = A few errors but easily understood
3 = Some basic errors but can be understood
2 = Significant errors with language expected at the level. Impedes understanding
1 = Significant errors throughout. Incomprehensible due to errors
0 = Little or no language at all


Range of vocabulary and structure

5 = Competent use of a range of language expected at this level. (e.g. past cont./ relative prons./ used to) Perhaps some attempt at using more advanced language, maybe with errors
4 = Good use of appropriate language
3 = Adequate language used for the task
2 = Lack of basic structures. Language too simplistic and repetitive
1 = Almost no examples of structure or relevant vocabulary
0 = Little or no language at all


Task completion

5 = Full completion of task. No repetition
4 = Main points of task covered
3 = Attempt made to cover task
2 = Task not covered sufficiently and/or too short 
1 = Majority of task not covered and/or answered a different question 
0 = Task not covered at all


Grade boundaries for composition




16 - 20


13 - 15.5


10 - 12.5


5 - 9.5


0 - 4.5

Section W3 - Writing an informal message 


Accuracy and organisation

5 = Minimal, minor errors. Sentences organised logically with appropriate connectives used e.g. relative pronouns, but, also, so
4 = Attempt made to link and organise sentences. A few errors but easily understood
3 = Some basic errors but can be understood. Sentences organised logically but possibly lacking connectives
2 = Significant errors with language expected at A2. Lack of control impedes understanding
1 = Significant errors throughout. Incomprehensible due to errors
0 = Little or no language at all


Task completion and language range

5 = Good range of language expected at this level. Full completion of task. No repetition. There may be some attempt at A2+/B1 level language, possibly with errors
4 = Good use of appropriate language. Main points covered
3 = Attempt made to cover task. Adequate language used
2 = Lack of basic structures expected at A2 level. Task not covered sufficiently 
1 = Majority of task not covered. Almost no examples of structure or relevant vocabulary 
0 = Task not covered. Little comprehensible language


Grade boundaries for message writing




8 - 10


6.5 - 7.5


5 - 6


2.5 - 4.5


0 - 2

Grade Boundaries:


Grades are calculated by weighting the Listening % by 0.2 and the Written % by 0.8 - adding the results together and then using the information above.

Relevant Documents


Sample Papers

Further Practice

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