Here is a short overview of the exam structure with short comments:
Paper 1 = language theory, language analysis and other language-related stuff.
Part 1 – name 6 ELT terms from definitions provided. That part must take as little time as possible. You know it – you name it. You don’t remember – whatever, it’s not a big deal of points to worry about.
Part 2 – define 4 ELT terms. Almost same with the previous one, but a bit more tricky – don’t forget to include examples and some extra details.
Part 3 – you get an activity, now give 3 things the students are supposed to know before they can do it. Use your common sense and try to do as many past papers with comments as possible. Choose wisely to mention the most important ones and provide examples. And, relate it all to the given level, it’s very important!
Part 4 – you have a text (written or spoken) by a student whose level and maybe some other details are given – name 4 key strengths and weaknesses, give your reasons for the choice (certainly based on the level), include examples. Read the task very carefully! They can ask you to comment on specific areas or, vice versa, say nothing about certain fields. Don’t mess it up!
Part 5 – discourse analysis plus language analysis of whatever one may happen to come across with. You will need plenty of time for this task. Keep it in mind and do all the previous tasks first, don’t think that you can come back to them later, you definitely won’t. You must know text features. It’s obligatory. You must know parts of speech and what characteristics each of them have. You should clearly understand the difference between “meaning”, “form” and “use”and be able to comment on all three of them for any given word in any context. It will take time to practice but once you got the grasp and have a kind of a scheme in your head, the main problem will be your hand tired of constant writing and a race against time. And don’t forget you knowledge of phonetics, it will be here as well.
General advice: “Take your time” is not about this exam. You work against the clock. You need to learn to prioritize your ideas, to organize them on paper in a clear way (don’t forget to start each task on a new page). Whenever you come across unknown terms or can’t come up right now with an idea – skip it and keep going.
Be very careful with spelling for the terms, a wrong letter may ruin the point. And read the task as it can slightly vary in details. Circle the numbers, areas to be mentioned or excluded, all “not” – it may save you from extra work. Do not write extra points if you are asked for a specific number. No one will read it all and look for the best answers among your long list. Only the answers written up to the limit matter.
Paper 2 = let’s talk about teaching.
Part 1 – you see a test with some comments about general context and students’ level: now write 6 strengths and weaknesses of the test. Add fancy terms, show that you’ve done some reading. Be careful with the student level. Don’t write absolutely obvious ideas or vague comments which can be interpreted both as positive and negative. Read comments for past papers.
Part 2 – you’re given a page or two from a coursebook. At first you speculate about 6 purposes the task creators could have in mind. Sprinkle it over with another bunch of fancy ELT terms, add comments. Then you look at another set of activities from that same book to find 6 connections with those you’ve just described. Keep talking about assumptions and possibilities. Now it’s time to suppose what assumptions about learning could be tracked down from same pages of activities. Don’t forget to label each assumption with the number of corresponding exercise and comments why is it important.
Part 3 – The Black Box of DELTA Module 1. It can be anything. You get a few lines from an article or some other text about teaching. Give your comments about it according to the task. Explain. Comment. Support. Agree. Disagree. Criticize. Use bullet points and try to write as much as possible. Support your ideas with theory, big names, terms, examples – do your best.
In most cases people at first look at the last task, learn that it’s something not that bad and do the paper from the beginning. This paper is not that much stressful and usually people even have a couple of minutes to look through the answers and add a few more ideas.