Teaching Exam Classes

How To Teach English


The quiet before the quiet.

Teaching Exam Classes is often asked of teachers who are teaching English as a Second or Foreign language.

As you will find, it is often the case that the only reason the students are in the class learning English is in order to pass a First Certificate or Proficiency exam.

Sometimes this can be off putting to a teacher. Instead of teaching your students about the culture or literature of your home country, you instead end up teaching them rote fashion how to conjugate verbs, how to parse sentences and so on.

However, you must always remember that the needs of your students override your own needs. If the students are in the class to take the exam (often because they will benefit from having it) then that is your primary objective. Remember, for your students passing the exam is often extremely important!


The general aim of your class is to have your students pass the exam. In order to do this your students must:

  • be familiar with the language material they are likely to find in the exam
  • be familiar with the structure of the exam
  • be familiar with the likely conditions under which they’ll take the exam

This, then, means that you need to teach these 3 aspects of the exam.

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