30 Jan 2021

About A2 Key (for Schools) Listening Part 2

In today’s post, I’ll share some tips and advice about A2 Key for Schools (and A2 Key) Listening Part 2.

What’s in this part of the A2 Listening Test?

Let’s take a look at the sample Part 2 task from the A2 Key for Schools Handbook.

Handbook available here: https://www.cambridgeenglish.org/teaching-english/resources-for-teachers/

As you can read in the breakdown of this Part (also from the Handbook), students will listen to one person speaking and they have to complete five gaps in a page of notes. (See above for the notes and the gaps).

The rubrics

In the instructions, we can see that students only need to write one word for each gap, or one number, date or time.

The context

We also know who is speaking (a teacher), who she/he is speaking to (his/her students) and the topic (a school camping trip).

The task

At this level, it is easy to predict what kind of word is needed for each gap.

6   A surname.  This might be an easy word from the A2 Key word list, like Brown or Rivers.  Or, it might well be spelled out on the audio.

7  A day of the week   Students at this level should know the seven days.

8   A time

9   A means of transport

10   A thing or perhaps some food.


6   Focus on common English words that are often surnames.  Colours.  Places (Park, Rivers, Hill, Wood, etc). Jobs (Carpenter, Cook, Baker, Butler, Brewer, Butcher, etc)    Directions (North, West, East, South)  First names (Henry, Arnold). 

There are websites that list the most common surnames (and names) that you could visit with students to see these.

Lots of surnames end in ‘son’ (like my surname – Robinson).

7   Do lots of spelling practice with days of the week. 

In the exams, lots of candidates misspell days, especially Tuesday and Wednesday. 

Lots of candidates confuse Tuesday and Thursday when they listen.

8   Practise time dictations so that students understand times.

Practise recognising (and producing) paraphrases of times:  nine fifteen is the same as quarter past nine!

Tell students to write times (and other numbers) in numerical form, not as words – it’s quicker and they won’t make spelling mistakes!

9 and 10   Train students to use their logic.  

A class probably won’t go on a school trip in cars, will they?  Because they’d have to go in lots of cars.  But they may well go by bus or by train.

And they’re probably going to need some equipment – camping equipment potentially, right?

Or perhaps some food?

Or some clothes?  a warm jacket or coat?  Walking boots?

The audio

As with any of the tasks in A2 Key, students should expect to hear more than one day, time, etc.

They need to discriminate between the distractors and the correct answer that they hear.

As you can see in the audio transcript, they hear three days of the week (Tuesday, Thursday and Friday).

And two times (half past seven and quarter to eight).

Both coach and train.

And both trainers and boots.

As always, I hope you and your students find these tips and suggestions helpful!

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