So you wanna take DELTA Module 1 Exam?

I’ve finally decided to post about my DELTA M1 experience.

I passed M1 in December 2018 and got a Pass with Merit. I am quite satisfied with my results considering that I was working full-time 6 days a week at that time.

1) So what kind of exam is that? What does it test?

As a graduate of a British university, I felt that this exam was quite like any kind of university exam I had in the past.

DELTA M1 exam consists of 2 parts and lasts for 3 hours with a 30-minute break in between.
Paper 1 tests your knowledge of terminology and language analysis skills.
Paper 2 tests your knowledge of methodology and coursebook materials analysis skills.

2) So how do I prepare? Should I take a course or not?

You can prepare either by yourself or you can take a course.

I took a course with the Distance Delta:
It’s an online course that lasts 3 months. The schedule is quite tight, so get ready to be super busy, especially if you work full-time like me.

The benefits of taking such a course are:
– well-organised, systematic and relevant input;
– you practice using real tasks from past papers, which are then checked by DELTA M1 tutors;
– a mock exam at the end of, which is also checked by DELTA M1 tutors;
– tons of feedback and practical advice from the tutors;
– Skype tutorials;
– a forum and a group of dedicated teachers preparing for the exam.

3) So what exactly should I do to prepare? Do you have any tips?

  • Do a lot of reading and take tons of notes. Make use of colour coding and bullet points. Revise your notes regularly.
    I took notes for every input reading I got in each course unit plus some additional reading I’d find by myself, and when I printed them out it turned out to be 104 (!) A4 pages. You can download my notes here.
  • Go through as many past papers as you can. Twice.
  • Go through as many exam reports as you can. They contain valuable information written by official Delta Module 1 tutors and can shed light on many tiny things, from what kind of answers are expected to where it is better to use bullet points and where it is not. You can download them here.
  • Use Quizlet to study terminology.
    I studied two sets of 300+ terms each, and it proved to be extremely helpful.
  • Read all the handbooks and know what is expected of you and how the exam works.
  • Work out a strategy on how to approach the exam to maximise your chances of getting a higher score.
    The time you should spend on each task is as follows:

Paper One
Task 1 (Terminology) – 5 mins
Task 2 (Definitions) – 10 mins
Task 3 (Task Achievement) – 10 minutes
Task 4 (Strengths / Weaknesses) – 20 minutes
Task 5 (Genre & Language Analysis) – 45 minutes

Paper Two

Task 1 (Test) – 15 minutes
Task 2 (Coursebook materials) – 40 minutes
Task 3 (SLA) – 35 minutes

Therefore, in Paper One exam, you should do the tasks in the following order: Task 5 b-d -> Task 4 -> Task 3 -> Task 2 -> Task 5a -> Task 1.
For Paper Two exam, go like this: Task 2 -> Task 3 -> Task 1.
This way, even if you don’t manage to finish everything on time, you won’t lose too many points.

  • Plan your time carefully. Treat it as a project with strict deadlines where the final stage is sitting the exam. All that time you spend while preparing for the final stage has to be spent meaningfully. Make the most out of it.

4) So what resources should I use? Any recommendations?


  • Martin Parrot’s Grammar for English Language Teachers
  • Scott Thornbury’s About Language and The New A-Z of ELT
  • J.C. Richard & Th.S. Rodgers’ Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching
    D. Larsen-Freeman & M. Anderson’s Techniques & Principles in Language Teaching
  • Tricia Hedge’s Teaching and Learning in the Language Classroom
  • P. Lightbown & N. Spada’s How Languages are Learned


Quizlet sets:

My notes, past papers, exam reports, and other useful materials:

Tips from those who went through this and excelled:


22 thoughts on “So you wanna take DELTA Module 1 Exam?

  1. Thank you so much for this, I am just about to start preparing for Module one exams for 2021. Your blog has been a great help. All the best for your new ventures.

  2. Thank you so very much for your inputs! I am currently feeling overwhelmed by the course material. I am ever so grateful for your patience and generosity in sharing all your notes here. Not many would choose to do that.

    One question though… I have done a TEFL (CELTA) equivalent course and directly went on to battle with Delta. I am experiencing a gap in the knowledge, in the sense that a lot of things that one is expected to be familiar with (through CELTA) wasn’t even talked about in my TEFL course. I am now reconsidering my decision, to whether I should have done the CELTA first and *then* tackled Delta. How much of foundational knowledge of CELTA is used for Delta?

    Thanks a lot in advance for your help.

    1. Hi Prakruthi and thank you for the comment!

      To be honest, I’m not sure it’s about CELTA. I’d say it’s more about knowing the teaching methodology, and if you took a TEFL course, you do have some knowledge already. For Delta Module 1, I basically had to study from scratch. Of course, I already knew some things thanks to CELTA (like some theories and approaches, e.g. PPP, TBL, etc.), but for most topics, I just had to do a lot of reading. Not sure about Delta Module 2 – haven’t taken that one yet – but I guess that going through CELTA-style teaching practice gives you the taste of what you can expect on a Delta M2 course.

      I’m not sure if this answers your question…

      1. Thanks a lot for your quick response!
        Yes, I am familiar with some topics from TEFL, but the vastness of material to be read for Delta M1 is gargantuan. I guess pacing it out helps. Trying to cram everything into a 12 week course (my current schedule from the distance learning centre) is getting to be too much.

      2. M1 is always too much, so what you’re feeling is normal! I had to stop my social life completely and spend almost all my free time studying. I felt like my brain was going to explode – just too much information! Just do your best 🙂

      3. Hi Prakruthhi,
        As Lina says, there is a lot of information to take in for Delta Module 1 regardless of where you start from.
        If you went immediately from an initial TEFL course directly to Delta and don’t have any prior teaching experience, then it’s going to be incredibly difficult to pass the course. The recommended time in between is at least 2 years in order to build up a range of experience (in different contexts if possible) which you can draw on to understand the concepts from Module 1 and to write your LSAs (essays) in Module 2. I would recommend that you postpone the Delta for a couple of years and build up your experience first if that’s the case.
        If you do have prior experience, it’s still worth giving yourself a little time (but not necessarily 2 years) after your initial training so that you can work out how the concepts you’ve learnt on the course can be applied to your teaching. Again, this will put you in a stronger position for Delta, and make the Delta-level concepts at least a little easier to get your head around.
        If you have prior experience, but don’t want to postpone your course, then perhaps you can complete the course but postpone the exam itself. The exam is a real challenge even if you have got your head around most of the concepts, and if you haven’t, it’s likely to be a waste of money and a very stressful experience.
        Pacing out the material definitely helps, whenever you decide to take the exam. If you haven’t found it already, the materials from ELT Concourse are particularly useful as they’ve already broken things down for you:
        Whatever you decide to do, good luck!

  3. Thanks a lot, Lina and Sandy for clarifying many things for me. I will have to so some solid thinking and decide how to take this forward. However, I have some great pointers from both of you, which, I am certain will aide me in my decision making.

  4. Hello! Thank you so much for such a useful post!
    I have a question about past papers. I have found 2016-2019 papers on your Google drive – which are quite rare on the Internet 🙂 thank you! But there aren’t any reports for them. Do you think it’s possible to find them somewhere?
    I would really appreciate your answer.
    Thanks and cheers!
    Stay safe!
    Eugenia from Ukraine

    1. Hi Eugenia! I’m glad you found this post useful. The reason the reports are not there is because I was unable to find them but I can have another look – maybe they’ve uploaded them recently.

      1. Lina, it would be so nice of you if you could take another look and see, maybe they did upload the reports. This would help a lot of teachers over here in Kiev, Ukraine 🙂
        I’ll be waiting for a note from you.
        Thanks a million for your time.

      2. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find anything. Seems like Cambridge stopped publishing Examination Reports after the exam was revised. However, the older reports are still very helpful 🙂

  5. Hi Lina, could you please share the guideline answers for 2016-17-18-19? Thank you very much for sharing all the useful materials.

    1. Hi Esra! Unfortunately, those are unavailable. You won’t find them anywhere on the internet. As far as I know, the reason is that Cambrdige simply stopped publishing Exam Reports after 2015.

      1. Oh thank you very much Lina, apologies, I have just seen your reply to someone else, and was about to delete my comment. Many thanks though, I am finding your website and your links extremely useful. Best wishes, Esra.

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