One step upward on the ladder of success

Preparing for teaching exam classes

by | Aug 11, 2019 | Tips

Many experienced teachers tend to teach for exams sometime in their professional life. In order to prepare for teaching exam classes, useful tips and strategies are presented in weekly concise lessons. Here is the introduction to this series.

One step upward on the ladder of success: Teaching for Exams.

Do you know English? Have you ever worked as a language teacher? Have you taught English conversation classes before? If you have done any of the above, you might be able to take another similar type of responsibility as well: teaching for exams.

There are many different exams in the realm of language each of which students take part in for a different reason. IELTS, TOEFL, GRE, FCE, CAE, CPE and BEC are some of the most popular ones perhaps.

Why Should I Teach Exam Classes?

Now that you know English and have been a teacher for a while, why not teaching for exam classes?. Like any other profession, teaching for exams can have its own pros and cons. Let’s name some here:

Some advantages of teaching for exams:

  1.  The learners have a shared goal and strong motivation to succeed in their studies.All of them have set their goals, are determined to reach their target in a predefined period of time and are willing to do what it takes.Rarely will you need to persuade students to have their full attention to the class.
  2. The syllabus is clearly defined and there are lots of published materials. The goal is clear, internet based TOEFL for instance, and all you do is in this regard. Since these exams are internationally important, a lot of publishers have printed many volumes of useful material on them. Just do a brief search in the nearest bookstore and you’ll find at least one good resource to be used in your class as course book.
  3. It is easier to persuade students of the importance of homework and practicing. You’re dealing with people for whom the goal is already clear. They’ll probably have no problems doing the assignments as long as the reason for that exercise is known to them. And it does not seem very difficult to me to explain to students the importance of writing sample essays or listening to sample audios to improve the related skill.
  4. When the results are good, the teacher has a great feeling of having been able to help someone towards success. In conversation classes students’ progress is often very gradual, and the teacher can’t have this feeling of helpfulness unless he waits long enough. The case is very different in exam classes. A student has one month to get a 7.5 in IELTS; you teach him well; he takes the exam after a month and gets what he is after. You can feel the pride and joy already, can’t you?

What are the disadvantages of teaching for exams?

  1. Less flexibility and control over course content.
  2. It contains a great deal of more marking of student’s assignments or practice tests.
  3. The teacher needs to keep him/herself informed on exam regulations and administrative details.
  4. The teacher usually needs to cope with student anxiety as the date of exam gets closer.

First Things First

In all kinds of classes the teacher needs to have some basic or detailed information on special issues related to the course. Here are some of the things the teacher of an exam class needs to know:

  • How long is the exam?
  • What skills are tested in the exam?
  • What sorts of questions or tasks are used to test each skill?
  • How many different parts are there to the exam?
  • How much time is allowed for each part?
  • What are the assessment criteria for each question or task type?
  • How is the exam marked?
  • How are the results presented?

In order to find the answers to these questions you can visit the website of the administrator of the target exam. Visit our recommended websites section for a list of exam websites.

It is always a good idea for the teacher to work through at least one sample paper completely so that they can familiarize themselves with the format of the target exam. Don’t miss our recommended books section for a list of useful books in which you can find sample tests.

About the Author

About the Author

Online Tutor and Content Writer

Soolmaz Neishaboori is an IDP-trained IELTS expert, online tutor and content writer at IELTS  Juice Online Academy.

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