Frequently asked questions: About the TKT Exam

TKT stands for Teaching Knowledge Test. TKT is a series of modular teaching qualifications which test your knowledge in specific areas of English language teaching to speakers of other languages. It should be noted that TKT tests teaching knowledge rather than teaching ability and that language proficiency, e.g. listening, speaking and extended writing, are not tested. 

TKT is suitable for teachers of English in primary, secondary or adult teaching contexts and is intended for an international audience of non-first language or first language teachers of English. Candidates taking TKT will normally have some experience of teaching English to speakers of other languages. TKT may also be taken by:  

  • pre-service teachers  
  • teachers who wish to refresh their teaching knowledge  
  • teachers who are moving to English teaching after teaching another subject. 

Candidates are not expected to fulfil any specific entry requirements for TKT. In order to keep a record of their professional development and reflections of their teaching, candidates are encouraged to keep a portfolio. Through the portfolio, candidates are encouraged to become reflective practitioners by analysing their teaching and how this impacts on their students’ learning. The portfolio does not form part of the assessment for TKT, however. 

To access TKT, candidates need a level of language proficiency of at least Level B1 of the Council of Europe’s Common European Framework of Reference for Language. However, candidates are not required to have taken any specific English language exams. 

TKT candidates are expected to be familiar with language relating to the practice of ELT. A non-exhaustive glossary of teaching terminology can be found in the TKT Glossary

This easily accessible test about teaching English to speakers of other languages, prepared and delivered to international standards, can be used by candidates:

  • to demonstrate their knowledge of concepts related to language, language use and the background and practice of language teaching and learning.
  • to access further training and enhance career opportunities. 
  • as a first step in a developmental framework of awards for teachers of English.

TKT consists of three free-standing modules each testing different areas of teaching knowledge. There are 80 questions in each module and each test lasts for 1hour 20 minutes. The modules are: 

Module 1  - Language and background to language learning and teaching

Module 2 - Lesson planning and use of resources of language teaching

Module 3 - Managing the teaching and learning process

To find further information about each of the modules, please have a look at the TKT handbook here. You can also find a summary of the modules and what they test here.

No, candidates can take all three modules or choose the modules that meet their needs. In this TKT preparation course, we are preparing you for all three modules.

No, candidates can take all three modules or choose the modules that meet their needs. In this TKT preparation course, we are preparing you for all three

Objective tasks such as matching, multiple-choice, sequencing, orderning and odd one out. For all modules, candidates indicate their answers by shading the correct lozenges on an answer sheet. 

Extracts, original or adapted, from the following sources may feature in TKT:  

  • ELT coursebooks, or supplementary materials  
  • handbooks on English language teaching and learning  
  • ELT journals and magazines  
  • testing materials  
  • reference materials on language, e.g. grammar books and dictionaries  
  • diagrams or other visuals  
  • transcriptions of classroom talk or descriptions of classroom situations.

Each question carries one mark.

Candidates receive a certificate for each module taken. Candidate performance is reported using four bands. 

You can find a description of each band here.

TKT results are issued to centres approximately two weeks after we receive the answer sheets in Cambridge.

Please note that despatch of candidates’ results will be delayed if they need special consideration or if malpractice is suspected (see section on Special Circumstances in the TKT handbook page 9).

Enquiries on results must be made through the candidate’s centre.

The test is taken on paper in one of the TKT centres around the world. For those of you staying in Sheffield, you can take the test at our centre in the week beginning 7th September. If you decide to take the test, please let us know by the end of week 4 (7th August) so that we can sign you up for the exam. We will keep you updated in case there are last-minute changes due to the Coronavirus pandemic. 

To do the test, you need to pay the Cambridge entry fee (currently £25 per module in the UK).

Frequently asked questions: About the course

The course is 8 weeks long and the materials are released every Monday at 10.00 am (UK time)

This will depend on the student and you may go faster with some sections whereas you may need more time with other sections. On average, we have designed a course that requires about 6-8 hours, not including the weekly live sessions.

The course contains a wide range of activities including: 

  • Guiding questions to help you develop your understanding of the course. We recommend that you use a personal notebook to write down your ideas. 
  • Reading texts with questions
  • Video observation tasks
  • Interactive tasks such as multiple choice, labelling, short-answers, etc.
  • Forum tasks to discuss a wide range of issues with your fellow teachers
  • Collaborative tasks that include analysing a grammatical structure or adapting coursebook materials to help you share best practice and learn from each other.

The material will be presented through a series of interactive activities created by the ELTC. However, you may also want to get a copy of Spratt, M., Pulverness, A., and Williams, M. (2011) The TKT Teaching Knowledge Test Course, Modules 1,2 and 3 (Cambridge: C.U.P.), which will be an invaluable source for extra exercises, extra reading, self-study, exam practice and consolidation of what we do in this online course.

We will have a live session every week for about 90 minutes. These are optional sessions that will provide you with an excellent opportunity to interact with your classmates and develop your understanding of the course. We understand that we all have different working commitments, so the live sessions will also be recorded in case you cannot attend them. For the rest of the activities, you can decide when and how you work through the modules but we recommend that you log on as often as possible to help you keep up to date with the content and forum discussions.

We will focus on the key aspects of the planning and teaching of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) covered in TKT Modules 1, 2 and 3. The content of each module is described below: 

Module 1 - Language and background to language learning and teaching. 

Module 2 - Lesson planning & use of resources for language teaching

Module 3 - Managing the teaching and learning process

For a full description of each module, please access the module handbook from the Cambridge TKT official website.

Yes, the course is suitable for anybody interested in ELT, with or without previous teaching experience.

Doing this course offers a lot more than just a way of preparing for an exam. We want you to participate in a range of activities so that you can develop as a teacher. Participation includes completion of the week’s activities, forum discussions, group tasks and live sessions. The following provides more details on how to participate in these different activities. 

Firstly, we recommend that you log on as often as possible, even if it’s only a few minutes to read some posts or do a few exercises. This will help you to keep the course current in your mind and keep up to date with the forum discussions. 

Secondly, you are expected to contribute to forum discussions regularly during the week, as we believe that this interaction with other course participants is one of the most effective ways of learning. Please keep up with the weeks as tutors will focus their attention and comments on current weeks over past weeks. 

Thirdly, remember to participate in the group tasks we have designed. These tasks aim to provide you with an opportunity to learn from the wide range of teaching contexts and experiences that each of you bring to the course. Indeed, some of the best ideas in teaching come from working with other people so we want to encourage this collaboration in our course. 

Finally, don’t hesitate to come to our weekly live sessions if you can. They are a great way of meeting other course participants, asking questions and developing your understanding of the course.

Yes, you will. It will be issued by the ELTC, University of Sheffield. However, there are no credits attached to this course, it’s purely developmental. Please note though that to receive the certificate, you need to contribute regularly to the course forums and tasks. This certificate is independent of the TKT certificate issued by Cambridge when you take the exam.

Please contact your course tutors if you have any problems with the content of the course: 

Manuel Flores Lasarte: m.flores-lasarte@sheffield.ac.uk

Caroline Grainger: c.grainger@sheffield.ac.uk

For technical issues:

Matt Tregellas: m.tregellas@sheffield.ac.uk

For a short time, about 3-4 weeks after the end of the course. We will keep it open so that you can revise before the exam and also save some useful information for your own teaching. 

We will make all the forum discussions available  in a separate online folder once the course is over so you have most of the important content.