Delta Module One – General

The Delta Module 1 as a whole

First things first, Module 1 is an exam, you do not have to take a course as part of the module. However, taking some kind of preparatory exam is a good idea, such a course should at least familiarise you with the format and requirements of the exam and give you practice of the tasks with feedback on that from a tutor. Such a course may also include input in the areas of language and methodology you’re expected to know about.

If you’re signing up for a course, do check if it’s just going to be exam practice or if there’s more input.

When and Where

The exam can be taken on two dates a year, usually the first Wednesday of June and December (in June 2019 it’s on the first Monday just to avoid being on Eid al-Fitr at the end of Ramadan). You can take the exam at any Cambridge English exam centre, it does not have to be a Delta centre. Not all exam centres know about the Delta exam though, so they may not be happy about holding the exam. Check with your local Cambridge exam centre.

The exam consists of 2 papers, each 90 minutes long.

Marks: each paper carries 100 marks, so 200 in total.

Pass mark:

  • Pass: about 100 marks (50%)
  • Merit: about 130 marks (65%)
  • Distinction: about 150 marks (75%)

FAQ: Do you have to pass each paper? No, you just need to get at least 100 marks in total, it could be 70 from one paper and 30 from the other.

What do you need to know about?

Paper 1 mainly tests your knowledge of language features

  • grammatical form and uses
  • lexical forms
  • pronunciation features
  • features of different genres
  • discourse features
  • terminology for the above and for methodology

Paper 2 is more about methodological knowledge

  • testing principles
  • the principles behind materials design
  • methodological approaches

General practical points

This is a written exam where you write the answers by hand (with a pen) in an answer booklet (just a booklet of lined paper with margins). Most of us don’t write by hand so much these days, and this is going to be 3 hours of constant writing so get a good pen that writes smoothly and has a comfortable grip. Also you might want to practice writing things out to build up those muscles – seriously!

You get a fresh answer booklet for each paper and there is more paper in them than you could possibly need, so use the space well. Start each task on a new page, layout your answers clearly, giving the task numbers and little sub-heading to make it absolutely clear what’s what. If you can’t think of any more to say on one task, don’t waste time racking your brains, go on to the next but leave a good bit of space to go back and add more if you have time later.

From marking mock tests I can say it definitely helps to have clearly laid-out and legible answers. You’re not going to get marks for what the examiner can’t make out.

You do have to use a pen, not a pencil, but it’s OK just to cross out any mistakes.

What to take with you to the exam

  • You will need some form of official ID with a photo, e.g. a passport, driving licence or identity card.
  • You should take pens to write with.
  • You can take a bottle of water or something else to drink but it must be in a clear container with no label.
  • You can take a snack for the break (at least 30 minutes) between the two papers but you won’t be allowed to have that with you in the exam.
  • You will have to switch off your mobile phone and leave it with your coat and bag in a designated place.

Further Reading/Information

You can get the Delta Modules Handbook which tells you all about the exam, with a sample paper and sample answers with comments from examiners from:

Further posts will look at specific tasks one or two at a time.

Starting a Blog or What I got from a conference

This blog is inspired by going to the International Language Symposium in Brno at the beginning of June, and particularly by Huw Jarvis’ sessions on using technology and social media for continuing professional development. It’s a bit delayed by having a busy week at work and then flu but better late than never!

I plan to write this for my own use as a place to put a record of useful ELT-related bits & bobs I pick up for myself, I may well use it for answers to FAQ about teaching or teacher training so I can simply refer people to a page where I’ve got an answer ready, and if anyone else is interested to read and add their ideas, so much the better.

I’ll start by using it to sort out and write up my notes on different topics that were covered at the ILS in Brno: Continuing Professional Development, Dictation ideas, helping learners with learning difficulties, non-native speaker teachers, reflective vs reflexive practice, and how learners learn.

Here I would just say: I’ve been reminded that going to a teaching conference can be immensely beneficial in re-injecting some enthusiasm and ideas into you. However, it has to be the right conference for you. When I started teaching I really enjoyed local teaching days with sessions mainly focused on practical teaching ideas and I would recommend them to teachers. I started to give sessions too and that’s good experience. But they weren’t filling me with ideas any more, and I was getting a bit blasé about them. The ILSB was aimed at a higher level and had a bit more to chew on mentally and it left me buzzing for some days. So clearly I needed to make the effort to go to a conference at my level as an experience teacher and teacher educator.