The next Delta module one exam is on Wednesday 7th June. It’s a year and a half since I took the exam, and I thought I would share some tips and useful links. I got a merit for the exam, so I must have done something right, despite my anxiety and initial fear of analysing language.
I took the exam at ITI Istanbul and attended a weekly course to prepare for the exam. In the month leading up to the exam, my social life ground to a halt and I spent most of my free time studying. Here are some of the websites and techniques I used.
~I made a Facebook group for people preparing for the exam; initially it was for the people attending my classes, but then candidates from around the world joined. It was invaluable for me to have a place to discuss questions, share ideas and make friends who understood the situation and acronyms. If you’re reading this, you’re more than welcome to join and either post or look back through our previous discussions.
~Lizzie Pinard got a triple distinction (!) in the Delta and has a very useful website: this post is aimed at those about to take the module one exam but do have a look around as her blog has a host of relevant posts for Delta trainees:
~Lots of past papers. The weekend before the exam I sat and methodically went through multiple old exams under test conditions (timed) and then checked the answer key. Many can be found online and in the Facebook group. Here’s one link with previous papers.
~Elt Concourse is an invaluable resource for all three modules of the Delta. As well as the Delta module one section, I’d recommend browsing the site as it contains some very useful information – I found the genre section particularly interesting.
~There are lots of terms to learn for module one, and one way of doing that is by using Quizlet. You can use the online flashcards to study, to play games or to do mock tests. I liked the competitive element and trying to improve my own score. I liked this site so much I now share it with students to encourage learner autonomy for vocabulary review.
Note that Quizlet is not only useful for learning terms but also for the key assumptions (Paper Two, Part Two). See this set which really helped me: Quizlet Delta Assumptions
~If grammar is a weak area for you, or if you’ve been teaching low levels for a long time, you’ll need to brush up on your language analysis skills to succeed in the exam. I found this to be a really useful and accessible site for module one preparation (as well as for language learners)
~A very accessible webinar about the history of methodologies in ELT. One for when you want to sit back and just watch something for an hour.
~A very comprehensive website with posts about each part of the exam, as well as very useful quizzes about each of the papers:
~An activity that would work well as a pair/group discussion, especially useful for Paper Two Task Three (what I refer to as the wildcard task).
This was a real bugbear of mine. I convinced myself that I would be unable to learn it and would just forego the points it would have given me. However, an encouraging colleague helped me and I managed to crack it in time for the exam. These are some of the things I used to help me learn:
Sounds: The Pronunciation App
I bought this from the app store for my iphone and it meant I could play some games to practice on the way to work. Macmillan Sounds Pronunciation App
Writing silly notes
My colleague (who knows how to transcribe very well) and I passed notes to each other with silly messages, which we would read and reply to. It’s important that the content is unexpected otherwise it can be too easy to predict the words.
In a similar vein to the above, write jokes in phonemic script and share with your fellow candidates, either in person or online. Here’s a rather poor offering of mine (can you spot the error?)
I had particular problems with the vowels and dipthongs and tried out using mnemonics to help me remember. I drew out the symbols and created little pictures involving a word containing a particular symbol.
This method really helped me recall the symbols by associating them with certain memorable images. This link has some great suggestions along similar lines:
Mnemonics and Phonemics
An excellent page with games to practice phonemic symbols: http://cambridgeenglishonline.com/Phonetics_Focus/
There are two papers in the module one exam, and you have a 30 minute break in between the two exams. You won’t be able to check your phone. You may want to have a cup of tea, smoke, meditate, discuss the previous paper (although I can’t think of anything worse!) It depends what sort of person you are.
I decided to prepare a cheat sheet for paper two to look at in the break; if nothing else, it made me feel more organised and calmer. This was my cheat sheet:
Do you have any friends who are also preparing for the exam? It can be dull studying alone all the time, so as you’re all English teachers, make use of that. Get out of the house and meet in a nice café or park. Each of you can prepare a mini lesson or activity on either a language point, or a part of the exam. You could try matching activities, games, mind-mapping or whatever works for you. I did this with some course mates and these sessions were both enjoyable and fruitful in terms of learning.
One thing in particular I did with my course mates was the following: Each of us chose a text (anything from a recipe, a tweet, a love letter, etc) and analysed its key features. We then shared the key features and the others had to guess what the text was. Very useful for Task Five in Paper One. There are some examples of this in the Facebook group where we played a version of this.
Some people prefer to use devices and apps for their studying – I prefer a combination of real paper and digital. As someone who likes to be crafty and enjoys colours, I made a few posters for the back of my bathroom door (I should point out that I was living in a rather small flat – if I had had a study or work space at home, I would have put the posters up there instead!). I liked the idea that just by exposing myself to all this information (especially the things I tended to muddle up, such as homothis and homothat), it might seep into my brain by osmosis. It also felt very good throwing it away when I received the exam result in February!
I give you….my bathroom door, Winter 2015…
What is the connection between this utterance and the Delta?
Colourless green ideas sleep furiously
Sex drugs and rock n roll
Most importantly, give yourself some extrinsic motivation by planning something fun to do after the exam. I went to a swanky hotel bar with some course mates, where we quaffed extravagantly priced wine and thoroughly enjoyed the sensation of freedom (albeit only until Module two!)
Hope this was useful and good luck.