Top tips for DELTA module 1 exam takers

Here’s a quick summary of tips I’d give to anyone studying for the DELTA Module 1 exam. Some of these I got from tutors and peers on my course, others I just picked up by myself.

Can I start writing again please?
Photo by mcsanc
Get prepared for no social life
This year I cut back my teaching hours by 4 a week, plus another 4 hours travel time, so 8 hours a week to have extra time for the DELTA. I reckon I was reading material, doing tasks, or memorising terminology cards for between 15-20 hours a week. I had to stop my passion of writing, rarely went out on the lash for fear of having a hangover on Saturday or Sunday morning, and haven’t been able to get into a novel since my holiday in September. If you want to do it right, then the DELTA takes time and dedication.

Try to get some pre-reading done before you start the course. I read about seven books, a mix of discourse, phonology, and grammar. If you’re going to be working full time while doing the course then this will help as you don’t get loads of time to do the tasks. I still managed to read a few books during the course, but I spent most Saturdays and Sundays doing so.

Get a good course provider
I did mine with International House, who I’d fully recommend. A few teachers I know have talked badly about other providers, who I’m not going to risk mentioning, but it’s worth doing research beforehand.

Manage your time
I’m a bit of annoying muppet when it comes to time management, just ask my students who come in late. Getting organised for this course, and the exam, can help your confidence. I tried to stay ahead of the game and have my tasks done a bit before the deadlines (unlike those university days of cramming) so I could have a read over before sending them in. It was great that we had a timetable with hand in dates too. By the time the exam came round, I knew what questions I could do quicker than others to give me time for the big ones (Paper 1 Task 4, Paper 2 Task 4). If you get a decent course provider then they should go over exactly how to answer the exam.

My terminology cards.
Won't be missing those!
Get flipping those terminology cards
Get these done as soon as possible so you have more time to memorise them. I spent between 30 and 40 minutes a day for three months and had about 300 memorised by the time the exam came round. I managed to do Tasks 1 and 2 in paper 1 in about ten minutes, instead of 20, so it’s worth the agony. Plus the terminology helps you in the rest of the exam.

Study past papers
This is very much an exam preparation course, much like FCE or PET, and knowing how to do the papers is vital. Right from the start we were encouraged to look over the exams. In the last two weeks I was doing a paper a day to train my brain and get ready for the exam. It helped because I managed to find my own rhythm and way of answering the questions.

Teach what you’re learning
One thing I’ve learnt from all this terminology and methodology is that I’m a kinaesthetic learner – I learn by doing. After reading the How to Teach series and other books on the DELTA reading list, I’ve begun implementing new techniques and ideas. I’ve been doing process writing with my students – this not only helps them improve, but gets you ready for Paper 1 Tasks 3 and 5. The more correction of compositions you can do the better. I also started teaching the phonetic alphabet to three of my classes; an adult pre-intermediate and young teenagers’ class. This has obviously helped their pronunciation and general awareness of English sounds and also helped me understand the phonetic chart, which you need in Paper 1 Task 4, and possibly Task 5. Sound Foundations is probably the best pronunciation book if you have to choose one.

So those are my tips for doing the DELTA module 1. Maybe they’ll turn into a useless pile of crud when I find out I’ve failed the DELTA in February, but hopefully I'll pass and they can help you along the bizarre DELTA journey. Have you got any better tips? Leave a comment below.

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