This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.
Skip to main contentAccess keys helpA-Z index
You are in: Home > For teachers > Your ideas
For teachers - Your ideas

Teachers' vote

How do you feel about English exams?

  1. Exams are great for motivating students.
  2. Exams create a lot of stress, but not much learning.

Total votes: 644

Figures do not represent public opinion as a whole

Teaching materials

Preparing students for English exams? Find classroom activities here.

What are the hardest challenges that students face when preparing for and taking English exams? What can you do to help students cope with these challenges?

Thank you for sending your comments. This topic has now closed

jalal naziri/IRAN
The value of exams as motivators of language learners is undeniable,it might have some drawbacks though.anxious students are suffering from stress to the extent that hinder their normal way of dealing things like even learning because of psychlogical factors. it becomes a parrot like learning with over loading memory overnight,may be they get good marks,learned materials dont last long.another disadvantage of exams with present model is language learners get used to this way of attainig good marks and they dont get enough logical's a good idea to present newer kinds of assessment like Portfolio assessment to reduce the level of anxiety among students, moreover as teachers we should know how to teach for exams.

There is a way , where there is a will.Trust yourself. Practice makes perfect.there are so many challenges such as: lack of the knowledge of the language, lesser amount of words, greater amount of none internalized linguistic rules as well as limited semantic schema, beside the other non-linguistic factors e.g. the social, economic, cultural and psychological ones.

Adriana Souza, Brazil
I think the hardest challenges are the same in any other subject... The students are normally nervous, bit their nails... In the case of English it´s more difficult (we speak portuguese in Brazil), because is another ``code´´, so we (teachers) must show them that it will be a good thing for the person, that it´s the same activity he/she did in class, more than this we must encourage and motivate them to do their best!

BALLO Chaka,Mali
So far as I am concerned, I do think that the stress caused by the fear of failure is the major source of all the chanllenges students of English may face.There are reasons of my support of that idea.First, with such fear the students become disoriented,I mean they don't know where to to start the revision.This fact obviously lead to disorder which may be more harmful to he students.In general, this fear is rooted in the pressure of the family.So I would like parents to reduce the degree of pressure to be put on their childeen

Prabha Muthukrishnan, Bangalore,India
The very mention of exams instills fear and nervousness in most of the students.As Shakeel Amajd has pointed out, a teacher must motivate and make them excited about about exams.Often due to fear students become nervous and forget whatever they have learned!A conducive and friendly ambiance must be created so as to erase fear. A weekly test will prepare them and replace fear with confidence.In my class I present tests and exams as activities which incidentally will test their comprehension and memory. Sometimes a little explanation of a question helps.Prabha Muthukrishnan

Marija Liudvika Rutkauskaite, Lithuania
Like with any foreign language, a sure way to success with English is regular study. If the student works daily, exams are not a major challenge and they are a stimulus. All that is needed is a revision. Thank you.

Jimmy Hutasoit, Indonesia
Since I teach English as a Second Language, all types of test testing listening, reading, speaking and writing bring problems to certain extent. These are the result of lack exposure to English learning sources either printed or electronic. Besides that, I personally still feel that the learning and teaching is still a content-based, not a learning skills-based one

Krzysztof, Poland
I believe that preparing for an English exam, and the fact that student have learned e.g. some new lexis, does not mean that they will be able to transfer this knowledge into actual use. Students tend to forget all they learnt once they leave the classroom. This is what worries me the most in terms of testing students.

Great teachers get their students ready for exams,they show them that it is a kind of assessment of the acquired knowledge and that they have to feel self-confident.They have to reassure them to obtain the best results since they managed to transmit information using the best ways.On the other hand students have to prepare well and know how to use the acquired knowledge to pass the exams.

Valeria, Argentina
Exams are usually very stressful for students of all ages. I think the best way to help them "relax" is to give them the chance to do tasks similar to the ones they will find in the exam regularly, and from time to time do a mock test under "exam conditions" (time limit, ...). I am convinced that giving them information about what they can expect on the day of the exam also helps to lower their anxiety.

Moslem Hashemizadeh, Iran
Teachers should take this into consideration that Exams are taeching devices. They must serve the process of teaching. In my idea teachers should not make the students too sensitive about the exams. Too much competition between the students can cause negative results.

Senee, Thailand
I think that the time for exam is not enjoyable for the students. However, the most important thing is most of them do not prepare for the exams. Some of them don't know where to start. Some cannot read or understand Englsih in the coursebook. The teachers can help them by teaching and training the students how to prepare for the test in both short term and long term.

Sergio Martínez, México
I think the hardest challenge students face is the lack of continous study and practice of the skills such as Speaking, Grammar, Listening, Reading and Writing. Once the English exam arrives students realize they need more practice on all the skills to get better results.According to my point of view we must be facilitators and create consciousness of the importance and benefits students can get by having practice of English skills on a daily basis. Stimulating these skills by promoting extra-class activities using web sites, texts, tv programmes, films and chatting through the web. All these activites will be helpful to achieve great improvements on students learning process.

As I have experienced,the listening part is the most nerve wracking one.But I believe more exercise is necessary.

Azucena, Spain
I think exams have to be seen like a normal activity in classroom, if pupils see it like that, they will find it easier. Besides, teachers can include an exam in a more relaxed context. For instance, one way of preparing a listening class, is making it funny, like a song.If pupils get used to this method to learn English, when they have to do a listening exam, they will think in a song. It is easier to face "a song" than to face an exam.

shakeel amajd, Pakistan
If the teacher is a real motivator, the class will be excited and eager about taking exams.However, the students need to take care of a few things such as making notes as the topics move on, becoming awere of the paper pattern, learning main heading and definitions word for word and taking mock exams to overcome stress. However, a certain amount of exam stress is also required to bump up extra energy; otherwise, students sometimes fail to use the time at their disposal. Teachers must teach their students exam coping stratigies. They extremelly help students overcome their fear and stress.

Michelina, Italy
I think organization and precision are vital when preparing for an exam so it's also the teacher's responsibility to make the student be aware of this. Very often, the confusion in their work reflects the kind of feedback you're likely to get!

Okpokam,Rita: Nigeria
Grammar, I do believe is the biggest obstacle students of English face.Over the years I still can't understand why. We do need to stress more oral work and more reading for fun.More essay writing, given not as homework but in the class so mistakes are brought out right there and discussed.

Tariq, Pakistan
I think the fear of failure affects students performance as well as learning. Students should be encouraged to enjoy what they learn, this is very essential in learning a second language. Once they begin to enjoy learning and using language, without fear of failure in the exams, that will positively affect their performance and learning.

Virginia, Uruguay
One of the biggest challenges teachers have to face, not only while preparing exams but also all over the academic year is realizing that no matter how hard you have worked, students in general don't read (even in their native language). You have to train students on reading and understanding prompts and tasks, as well.Many students found out they had to improve the way they use their native language through English lessons.

Diwakar Marandi, India
For some students Exams bring fever but some enjoy them. Students must take exams just as a daily judgement taken by the teachers, for that they have to do their daily revision, then only they can take it easy, otherwise it is really a head-ache.

Hanh, Viet nam
English exams can be of many kinds, such as: oral (speaking), target language... I think, one of the hardest challenges is when you lack vocabulary. Students should spend time reading texts, messages, sentences before being tested so that they can consolidate words. That is maybe the best choice before an exam.

Heba, Iraq
We can help them by absorbing their stress by telling jokes and making the atmosphere of the classrom light and fun.

Mohamed, Sudan
there are so many challenges such as: lack of the knowledge of the language, lesser amount of words, greater amount of none internalized linguistic rules as well as limited semantic schema, beside the other non-linguistic factors e.g. the social, economic, cultural and psychological ones.

Inamullha, Afghanistan
Grammar is the main challenge for students as I've seen through the years of learning and teaching English. I think the students should start learning English from the beginning and after they reach a higher/advanced level they can find out their difficulties and solve their problems by themselves.