Hello Exam Seekers!!!
How many of you have heard about the terms “TKT”, “CELTA”, “ICELT”, “FCE”, “CAE”, “CPE”, and so many other acronyms and felt lost in this English Language Teaching world? What is all that? Are they courses, are they certifications, or maybe exams?
Okay… Perhaps you are not so new to this, and you already know that the FCE is now called B2 First, and the CAE is called C1 Advanced, and the CPE is the C2 Proficiency. However, you still come across some words like “ESL” and “EFL” and can’t understand the differences between them. Isn’t it right?
Well, I must say that I did really get lost at first…
I started my journey with English very young. I was about 8 when my mother enrolled me in an English school, and I left at the age of 16. I can’t say that I “finished” learning English at this age because the journey with English is far from finishing if you are to become an English teacher. So, I continued my path, taking a language undergraduate course at university.
I was still studying at university when I first heard about the TKT. I didn’t really know what it was back then; I only knew that it was a test and that my group was being tested. I mean… The university was applying the test on us, volunteers. Now I know they were pretesting the TKT, which means trialing the exam materials with the students before using them in exams. At that time, I already liked these kinds of testing systems – for free -, you know? The sad thing is that we wouldn’t receive any result or certification…
Anyways… I only came across that acronym again 2 or 3 years later when taking the TKT prep. course in Canada.
As an English teacher who was just starting on this path, I needed the “foreign experience”, as my mother said. So I enrolled in a one-month course in Canada.
I remember that when trying to enroll, I said that I was a teacher and that I knew English already, but I wanted a course to improve my teaching skills. They offered me two options: one was a 6-month program, and the other was a 1-month course. I just had a month to spend abroad due to my vacation. So there I went.
I didn’t know the name of the course. Actually, I knew very little about the course I was taking. I only knew that I was in a course to develop teacher skills or prepare people to become teachers – which was the case with my Korean peers. We were about to finish the course, and suddenly, my teacher asked us: “Who is taking the TKT?” Of course I raised my hand, even though I was clueless. Then she asked when I would be taking it. At that time, I did not know I had to enroll for it by myself, I thought it was all already set up. So, as you imagine, I didn’t take the TKT in Canada.
When I came back to Brazil, I finally looked for the TKT, and I took the three of them (TKT Module 1, TKT Module 2, TKT Module 3). Not much later, my boss told me they were to become a Cambridge Authorized Application Center and that they were offered one of the exams for free, so he offered it to me. I’m sure you know what my answer was! 😛 So I took the FCE, now B2 First. I took both certificates back in 2011, and now I know it was only the beginning…
UPDATES FOR 2021
I wrote this text/story back in 2018 when I started this blog. Back then, I already knew what many of the acronyms I mentioned meant, and I already held some of them. But so many things changed… In 2018 I had just received my ICELT Course certificate and I was a bit frustrated with these preparation courses/centers – this is actually part of the reason why I started this blog.
After sitting for the B2 First in 2011, I started to get familiar with some certifications for teachers. A friend of mine – a teacher as well – told me about the CELTA Course and how he was planning to take it. He worked for a school that used to teach the CELTA course, and therefore, I went there to ask for some information.
In 2016, when I was back on my feet, I went back to study for the C2 Proficiency, which I had started the year before. It was almost a year and a half studying for it before sitting for it. But it was worthwhile; I got my C2 Proficiency Certificate.
In 2017, I also started taking another course. I was back at the place I took the CELTA and the CELTA YLE, but now, I would take the one-year-long ICELT course (thanks Cambridge for discontinuing it…).
I wish it had been easier, though. I wish someone had guided me through it all. I mean… I had to figure out all this stuff: the courses, the certifications… I might have not taken that long to get where I got, and maybe I would have been more focused from the beginning.
In 2018, I wanted to work for a specific school here in Brazil, and I had to undergo pre-service training. There I met a woman who had had some experience with English courses and certifications like me. We shared common interests and frustrations concerning the English Teaching world. Talking to her, I mentioned that the English market was so saturated with information that we wouldn’t add anything by creating our own content for Youtube or other media.
On the other hand, she told me she was taking the ICELT that year, and I told her that I had taken it a year before, and I had much difficulty because there is not much information on the web. Even though there are many channels about English tips and all, my ICELT group really felt lost while taking the course. I don’t know if it was the center or the tutors; what I know is that I had to research content on the web to help me write my assignments.
That was the moment when Exam Seekers was born.
I know that many teachers go for these certificates every day. However, many teachers don’t even know their existence in the first place. So I decided to create content to tell everyone about these exams and help people like us get a better experience when trying for these courses and exams. Because the process might be painful. Once you are into this “exams” world, things are pretty messy, and people are usually put under a lot of pressure. Mainly because, when it comes to teaching certifications, information tends to be even scarcer, and you never know for sure what to expect – you will find very little about the courses before you actually start them.
Therefore, as I have much experience with some of these exams, I decided to share them with you. I’ll bring everything I know about exams in general. However, if you need information about something that I didn’t cover, make sure you comment in the comment section, and I’ll rush to find something about it.
Hope you all certification/exam seekers enjoy my content. Let’s take this pathway to teaching together. 🙂
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Have a great week,