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Shields in Starters, Movers and Flyers exams

The results of the ‘Cambridge English: Young Learners (YLE) exams for children by Cambridge are not represented by numbers but through shield-shaped symbols. Check this article to know how to calculate shields in Starters, Movers and Flyers exams!

1. Cambridge YLE English Program for Children

The Cambridge English Young Learners (YLE) program is designed for children aged 5 to 11. It is divided into three levels:

LevelAgeHours of English learning
Pre-A1 Starters5 – 790-100 hours
A1 Movers8 – 1090-100 hours
A2 Flyers9 – 1180-200 hours

The Pre A1, A1, and A2 levels are part of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). They are the initial steps in a child’s journey to mastering English.

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR)
The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR)

Participating in Cambridge’s Young Learners English exams offers several benefits for children:

  • Accurately assess a child’s English proficiency through visually engaging and specific exams.
  • Guide a child’s English learning journey through testing and review programs.
  • Create a foundation and environment for children to develop critical thinking skills and personal growth.
  • Gain an advantage when applying for English-focused programs or classes.

2. Shields in Cambridge YLE Certificates

In Cambridge YLE children’s English certificates, exam results are not represented by numerical scores but by shield icons. These shields are derived from the emblems of royal knights and later became the symbol of Cambridge, signifying victory.

Cambridge English test scores are represented by shield symbols
Cambridge English test scores are represented by shield symbols (imagine: amslink.edu.vn)

The maximum number of shields for each skill (Listening, Speaking, Reading & Writing) is 5 shields. The total number of shields a child can achieve for each Starters, Movers, and Flyers exam is 15 shields.

Skill-level shields:

ShieldsMeaning
1 shield The need for further improvement in that skill
Up to 5 shieldsexcellent performance, with correct answers to most questions

Overall exam-level shields:

ShieldsMeaning
15 shieldsExcellence, ready to progress to the next level
10-14 shieldsProficiency and the ability to move on to the next level.
7-9 shieldsReasonably good skills but the need for further improvement
Below 6 shieldsThe child needs dedicated practice and improvement in various skills.

There is no “pass” or “fail” criterion in these children’s English exams. However, a score is considered “passing” when the child has a total of 10 shields or more across all three parts of the exam, with no individual skill receiving less than 2 shields.

3. How to Calculate Shields for Starters, Movers, and Flyers Exams (Reading & Writing, Listening)

The number of shields in the Starters, Movers, and Flyers exams is converted from the test scores. Each correct answer in each test question is awarded a different number of points (1 or 2 points per correct answer). Below is a detailed explanation of how to calculate scores and convert them into shields for the Starters, Movers, and Flyers Reading & Writing and Listening tests, as guided by Cambridge.

3.1 How to Calculate Shields for Pre A1 Starters

Reading & Writing Test (25 questions)1 point per correct answer
Maximum score: 25 points
Listening Test (20 question)1 point per correct answer
Maximum score: 20 points
Shields in Pre A1 Starters
Shields in Pre A1 Starters

Example:

  • If a child scores 15/25 points in the Reading & Writing section, they will achieve 2 shields for that skill.
  • If the child scores 9/20 points in the listening section, they will earn 1 shield for the Listening skill.

3.2 How to Calculate Shields for A1 Movers

Reading & Writing Test (35 questions)Maximum score: 39 points
– From Part 1­ to Part 5: 1 point per correct answer:
– Part 6:
+) Questions 1 and 2: 1 point per correct answer
+) Questions 3-6: 2 points per correct answer
Listening Test (25 questions)1 point per correct answer.
Maximum score: 25 points
Shields in Movers exam
Shields in Movers exam

Example:

  • If a child scores 20/39 points in the Reading & Writing section, they will achieve 2 shields for that skill.
  • If the child scores 22/25 points in the listening section, they will earn 5 shields for the Listening skill.

3.3 How to Calculate Shields for A2 Flyers

Reading & Writing Test (44 questions)Maximum score: 48
– Part 1 to Part 6: 1 point per correct answer
– Part 7 has a maximum score of 5
Listening Test (25 questions)1 point per correct answer
Maximum score: 25 points
Shields in Flyers exam
Shields in Flyers exam

Example:

  • If a child scores 30/48 points in the Reading & Writing section, they will achieve 3 shields for that skill.
  • If the child scores 9/25 points in the Listening section, they will earn 1 shield for the Listening skill.

4. How to Calculate Speaking Scores for Starters, Movers, and Flyers Cambridge Exams

Speaking tests for Starters, Movers, and Flyers Cambridge exams are scored based on various criteria depending on the level. 

Scoring criteria for Starters speaking Tiêu chí chấm điểm speaking Movers và Flyers
VocabularyVocabulary and grammar
PronunciationPronunciation
Interaction SkillsInteraction skills

5. What Do the Score Sheets for Starters, Movers, and Flyers Cambridge Exams Mean?

The back of the certificate includes a Statement of Results. That explains in detail what the shields a candidate achieved mean regarding their English proficiency. It includes the corresponding level on the CEFR reference framework and a description of English proficiency at this level. Teachers and parents can understand exactly how well a child can use English in specific situations at this level.

For example, the candidate Le Thi Lam participated in the A1 Movers exam in Hanoi in June 2018. She achieved 5 shields in the Reading & Writing skill and 4 shields each in the Listening and Speaking skills.

Le Thi Lam scored a perfect 5 shields in the Reading & Writing section, and 4 shields in each of the Listening and Speaking sections. She is fully capable of mastering the next level of English
Le Thi Lam scored a perfect 5 shields in the Reading & Writing section, and 4 shields in each of the Listening and Speaking sections. She is fully capable of mastering the next level of English

Obtaining 4 or 5 shields in skill during the Movers exam signifies an A1 CEFR level. This means the child can progress to A2 Flyers. The Statement of Results offers a clear overview of their A1 proficiency. That includes understanding simple dialogues with pictures and basic descriptions.

The description of the English language proficiency of the candidate is printed on the back of the certificate
The description of the English language proficiency of the candidate is printed on the back of the certificate

Certificates for Pre A1 Starters, A1 Movers, and A2 Flyers are sent to the exam center a few weeks post-exam. These exams lack “pass” or “fail” labels, ensuring a positive experience. Instead, the shields earned, proficiency descriptions, and expert recommendations from Cambridge motivate kids to continue their English studies and reach higher proficiency levels eagerly.

You can refer to the Statement of Results here:

6. Tools for Preparing for Starters, Movers, and Flyers Cambridge Exams

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.

Cambridge Flyers
  • These 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.

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!

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