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HomeCambridge TestsCambridge Starters, Movers, Flyers speaking criteria & detailed band scores

Cambridge Starters, Movers, Flyers speaking criteria & detailed band scores

In the Speaking exams for Cambridge Starters, Movers, and Flyers, examiners will score based on specific criteria and assign band scores ranging from 0-5 for each criterion. What are these criteria, and what are the specific score bands? Details about the criteria for scoring Speaking in Cambridge Starters, Movers, and Flyers can be found in the following compilation by FLYER.

1. Speaking criteria in Cambridge Starters, Movers, Flyers

1.1. Vocabulary and grammar

CriterionExplanation
VocabularyThe number of words the student can use to answer questions.
Sentence structureThe ability to use simple English sentence structures. While it does not require absolute grammar accuracy, it should ensure that the message is conveyed in communication.
Length of responseStarters: Students only need to answer with a single word.
Movers: Students should answer with a short, concise sentence.
Flyers: Students need to answer with longer sentences and more complex structures.
Ability to link ideasThe student’s ability to use linking words.
For example, using “and” at the Movers level, “then,” or “because” at the Flyers level. (Starters level does not have this assessment criterion)
Vocabulary, pronunciation, and interaction are three criteria that teachers can use to grade Speaking for the Starters, Movers, and Flyers Cambridge levels
Vocabulary, pronunciation, and interaction are three criteria that teachers can use to grade Speaking for the Starters, Movers, and Flyers Cambridge levels

1.2. Pronunciation

Examiners assess the student’s pronunciation skills, including single sounds (vowels, consonants), stress, and intonation. In the Speaking exam for Starters, the assessment criterion for intonation is not applied.

1.3. Interaction

Examiners will assess the student’s ability to respond to questions (the ability to understand the questions and provide immediate, continuous responses without hesitation or interruptions), the level of support the student requires during the examination, and the student’s fluency.

Parents can refer to sample speaking tests for Starters, Movers, and Flyers to gain a clear understanding of how to prepare and the types of questions in the test.

2. Speaking band scores at the Starters, Movers, and Flyers levels

Below are the band scores used to assess speaking at the Starters, Movers, and Flyers levels, provided by Cambridge for teachers and parents to use during preparation.

Sample video of a Starters speaking test by Cambridge:

2.1. Band scores for Starters speaking

Band ScoreVocabularyPronunciationInteraction
5Sufficient vocabulary to answer all questions.
Using simple answers. May make a few errors.
Using single words or phrases to answer, occasionally producing complete sentences
Most sounds are easy to understand, some sounds may not be clear.
Shows some ability to stress words
Provides suitable answers, though sometimes needs help from the examiner.
Knows how to ask the examiner for help when needed.
Answers promptly, with occasional pauses
4Between band 5 and band 3
3Sufficient vocabulary to answer most questions.
Using simple answers. May make a few errors that hinder understanding.
Using single words to answer, may answer with phrases
Relatively easy to understandProvides suitable answers, but requires frequent help from the examiner
Attempts to ask the examiner for help
Pauses when answering
2Between band 3 and band 1
1Sufficient vocabulary to attempt some questions
Answers some simple questions but makes errors that hinder communication
Answers at a very basic level or may not answer
Makes an effort to pronounce but may not be clear, causing difficulties in understandingFrequently needs help and may not answer questions
Pauses when answering, requiring significant patience from the listener
0Below band 1 level
Pre A1 Cambridge Starters – Speaking
Pre A1 Cambridge Starters – Speaking

2.2. Band scores for Movers speaking

Band ScoreVocabularyPronunciationInteraction
5Sufficient vocabulary to answer all questions
Using simple answers, may make a few errors but responses are generally meaningful
Using single words, phrases, and complete sentences to answer
Able to link ideas using simple linking words like “and,” “but,” “when,” “then”
Most sounds are easy to understand
Shows some ability to stress words and intonation
Provides suitable answers, requiring very little help from the examiner
Knows how to ask the examiner for help when needed
Answers promptly, with occasional pauses
4Between band 5 and band 3
3Sufficient vocabulary to answer most questions
Using simple answers, may make a few errors that hinder understanding
Using single words and phrases as well as complete sentences to answer
Able to link ideas using simple linking words like “and”
Relatively easy to understand, with occasional difficult-to-understand sounds
Shows some ability to stress words and intonation
Provides suitable answers but requires frequent help from the examiner
Attempts to ask the examiner for help
Pauses when answering
2Between band 3 and band 1
1Sufficient vocabulary to attempt some questions
Answers some simple questions but makes errors that hinder communication
Answers at a very basic level or may not answer
Pronunciation sometimes causes difficulties in understandingProvides suitable answers but requires frequent help from the examiner
Attempts to ask the examiner for help
Pauses when answering
0Below band 1 level

Video of the Movers Speaking test sample by Cambridge:

2.3. Band scores for Flyers speaking

Band ScoreVocabularyPronunciationInteraction
5Possesses a rich vocabulary to answer all questions.
Uses simple answers, may make a few errors, but the answers generally make sense.
Uses single words, phrases, and long sentences to respond.
Connects ideas using simple linking words like “and,” “but,” “when,” “then,” and “because.”
Most sounds are easy to hear.
Demonstrates some stress and intonation at both the word and sentence level.
Provides appropriate answers, requiring minimal assistance from the examiner.
Knows how to seek assistance from the examiner when necessary.
Typically responds immediately, with occasional minor hesitations.
4Between Band 5 and Band 3
3Has a sufficient vocabulary to answer most questions.
Uses simple answers, may make a few errors that make comprehension difficult.
Uses single words, phrases, and sentences to respond.
Can link ideas and use simple linking words like “and,” “but,” “when,” “then.”
Relatively easy to understand, though there may be some difficult-to-hear sounds.
Shows some stress and intonation.
Provides appropriate answers, sometimes requiring assistance from the examiner.
Knows how to seek assistance from the examiner when necessary.
May hesitate when responding but not frequently.
2Between Band 3 and Band 1
1Has a vocabulary to attempt answering some questions.
Can answer some simple questions but makes errors that hinder communication.
Answers at the word and simple phrase level, occasionally with a full sentence.
Can connect ideas and use simple linking words like “and.”
Relatively easy to understand, though there may be some difficult-to-hear sounds.
Shows some stress.
Provides appropriate answers, though often requires assistance from the examiner.
Tries to seek assistance from the examiner when necessary.
May hesitate when responding.
0Between Band 3 and Band 1
 Note: If a candidate can express some ideas, but the content of the response is not sufficient to accurately assess the pronunciation part of the candidate (e.g., only able to say a few words), the maximum pronunciation score is 3.

3. Online Cambridge exam preparation

The FLYER Virtual English Testing Platform offers over 600+ Cambridge exam practice tests (covering all parts: Listening, Reading & Writing, and Speaking)  to provide your child with preparation for the Cambridge Starters exam.

  • TThese exams have been carefully compiled to match the format (up to 90%) following Cambridge’s latest standards. 
  • The automatic scoring system and answer key will help students review and study effectively at home.
  • Interactive exercises and game simulations stimulate children’s brain activity and interest in learning.
  • It offers various fun learning features such as challenges with friends, short practice exercises, and vocabulary reviews.
Cambridge Flyers

Moreover, a helpful feature for parents is the Learning Report, which makes it easy to track the progress of their children’s studies. The system automatically stores all test results and uses them to provide feedback on the student’s current proficiency level, strengths, and areas that require improvement. 

More significantly, parents who use FLYER’s virtual testing platform can save up to 80% on their kids’ exam preparation expenses!

Conclusion 

These are the speaking criteria in the Cambridge Starters, Movers, and Flyers exams, along with the corresponding band scores to assist parents in preparing their children for Cambridge English Young Learners certifications.

Linh Nguyen
Linh Nguyen
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step
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