An exam teacher who is successful is aware of the importance and usefulness of exams. Such a teacher likes the exam discipline and uses time resources in an effective manner. A successful teacher understands the content of exams and the administrative aspects. Exam teachers pay attention to their students’ worries and provide honest feedback for students.
Exam teachers also offer motivation to students stressing upon an autonomous style of learning. In other words, teachers’ attitude towards exams should be a positive one. It is important that the teacher should convince students about the importance of preparing an exam. Learners should not forget that they have the opportunity to follow a certain purpose, to study as much as they can, to review their knowledge.
Learners also have the opportunity to show their potential, to compare themselves with their fellows, to get qualifications and to be proud of what they achieved. Students can write these reasons for preparing an exam on a sheet of paper or poster so that they can feel motivated all the time.
If we want to prepare our students for exams, we need to submit to the content of the exam course. Moreover, we as teachers have to be well organized when teaching and we should fructify time as well as possible.
The challenge lies in the fact that the teacher has to help students reach a certain level in limited time giving up creativity to a good extent. This implies that planning the course becomes primordial and the course itself covers all the exam tasks and techniques consolidating the four skills plus vocabulary and grammar.
Thus, a good exam teacher is able to integrate the course parts and elements into the time at his or her disposal. It is not advisable for teachers to neglect time and to rely more on their students’ spontaneity and creativity during the step by step lessons in the detriment of a pragmatic approach meant to help students adapt to the requirements of an exam. It is much more important to adapt to the rigor of an exam than to be very creative and fail it.
We as teachers should have solid knowledge about the exam we prepare our students for. Students want us to be capable of answering as many questions as possible regarding the exam. Our answers can be immediate and prompt together with our exam experience. When we are beginners in teaching the exam course, we need to know where to send students in order to find the expected answers.
Another strategy is that of noting the question and answering it during the future lesson; in this way, we do not provide wrong answers about the presentation and assessment of an exam. It is not normal for teachers to be reluctant towards giving information about the exam.
Students want teachers to be reliable sources of information not only about scientific matters but also about the administrative ones. For example, students need to be taught how to enroll and they need to know what they are allowed to bring with them in their exam room.
The teacher’s duty is to create a warm and inviting atmosphere in the classroom. Students long to be happy and self-confident when they learn. In order to achieve this, the teacher has to monitor both students’ learning and their motivation to make effort in order to successfully pass the exam.
If we want to monitor the learning process efficiently, we should communicate with students as persons and try to understand the difficulties they face and the anxieties they feel. At the beginning, many learners believe they will succeed and it is advisable that teachers should support this belief later when learners may become anxious.
The belief in success can be supported by us especially by talking to students, finding out how they feel throughout the learning process and telling them what they have to improve. For example, we must see why a student doesn’t make too much effort, makes grammar mistakes, uses the wrong style or does not understand the instructions.
All these problems can be solved if we provide efficient and personal feedback. Learners have to be aware of the fact that their mistakes will be penalized during the exam itself. Motivation is at its highest level at the beginning, but it has to be supported by teachers’ effort to make learners aware that passing or not passing an exam represents first of all their own responsibility.
Teachers must develop that ability which help learners to identify their strong and weak points. It is also up to teachers to put into practice those strategies which improve students’ skills necessary for the exams. Learners have to be taught how to become autonomous learners because in this way they can understand their abilities and they are not largely dependent on learning in class.
There are students whose motivation and ambition are bigger than their knowledge and skills. Apart from developing the skills, teachers have to be realistic and in the end they should explain to students what are their chances to succeed. Not only students have to know this, but also their parents or those who sponsor and support them.
It is great responsibility for teachers to prepare their students for exams. The results of exams greatly influence students’ lives and their career. An exam can be the door to a profession and can help students to have access to a high level of education. The results of exams help students occupy a place at a famous university or get a job they like.
Preparing the class for an exam is not opposite to preparing the class for general language. Activities and techniques meant to achieve general language my help the teacher be successful when teaching for exams. It is not enough for teachers to technically help students pass exams; it is equally important to introduce fun as well as variety into the exam class.
Teachers are also responsible for sharing the exam procedures with students because these procedures generally take time and formal exams are full of such procedures. Only by following these procedures, exams can be correct and security can be established, the exams being recognized as valid by institutions. For example, a candidate can be disqualified if procedures are not respected.
It is not enough for teachers to find information about the exam and share it with the students. It is also necessary that teachers find information about their students and about the reasons for which students want to pass the exam. Certain learners are not interested at all in the exam, other are interested only in the course and not in the exam itself. Others go to the exam because they want to gain experience or because their parents want them to pass the exam.
The conclusion is that there must be permanent communication between teachers and students and it is this communication which create a solid background meant to help students pass their exams and to help teachers learn more about themselves, the subject matter and the students.
Harmer, J., 2007. How to teach English. Harlow: Pearson/Longman.
Jones, L. 2007. The Student-Centered Classroom. New York: Cambridge University Press.