The "Key English Test" (KET) in Cambridge is an elementary exam for English learners, and is taken by more than 30,000 people in 60 countries every year. KET is the most elementary of Cambridge exams.

This level is intended for students to develop the necessary language skills to communicate socially or in the workplace.

As with all Cambridge exams, KET covers the four main abilities – Reading, Writing, Listening Comprehension and Oral Expression, as well as grammar and vocabulary knowledge. KET also recognizes the student's ability to communicate in English in real situations.

KET is based on the Council of Europe's Waystage level specification document.

Related courses
Face to Face

Request more info

Exam exercises

There are three papers involved in taking the KET exams: Reading and Writing, Listening and Speaking. The Reading and Writing test makes up 50% of the final mark, while Listening and Speaking carry, each one of them, 25%.

-Test 1-Reading and Writing (Duration: 1 hour and 10 minutes)
Reading assignments are focused on short texts, which may include public signs and articles of general interest. Candidates must demonstrate their ability to implement a number of strategies for understanding the reading.

As for the writing test, students must carry out different tasks, for example, filling in gaps in a text, fill in a form and write a short note.

-2-Listening Test (Duration: about 25 minutes)
Students must demonstrate their ability to understand what they hear. They will have to check the data of a recording.

-3-Speaking Test (Duration: 8 to 10 minutes)
Candidates will be examined in pairs. They will be tested on their language skills and their ability to interact. Students will talk among themselves, and with the examiner will ask them personal or general questions.


Examination is available six times a year on fixed dates in March, May, June (twice), November and December. KET may only be taken at Cambridge official testing centers. There are more than 2,400 authorized centers in more than 130 countries.

In order to enroll for the test, candidates must contact the authorized test center at least 10 weeks in advance. It is no possible to register through UCLES.


Once the examination finished, all exams scripts are sent back to Cambridge for marking. The examiners are specialists in the teaching of the English language with years of relevant experience in the proper level. While marking the tests, the examiners, who have previously been trained, are guided and supervised by examiners of greater seniority who are highly experienced.

There are four possible grades for KET: Pass with Merit, Pass, Narrow Pass, and Fail. The final mark a candidate receives in KET is an aggregate of the marks obtained in all the tests. Five or six weeks after the test, all candidates get an Exam Report that reflects their total results and a chart showing the performance of the candidates in each of the tests.

The Certificates for candidates who pass the test successfully will be available approximately 10 weeks after the test.

See more exams

Key English Test Preliminary English Test First Certificate
Certificate in Advanced English Certificate in Proficiency English Business English Certificate

end faq