Last-minute tips on how to get the highest scores on the TKT test

How to score high in TKT: last-minute tips

How to score high in TKT: last-minute tips


  • Cambridge English
  • Teaching qualifications
  • Activities
  • Tips & Strategies
  • Methodology

English teachers choose to take the Teaching Knowledge Test (TKT) for various reasons, but they definitely have one thing in common — the desire to score high at the exam and not lose all their nerve cells during preparation.

There are many resources with educational materials and courses preparing for TKT, but for high-quality training, it is important not only to learn everything necessary, but also to prepare mentally.

So, if you are one of those who decide to complete any of the TKT modules, this blog is for you! We have prepared tips that will help you pass the exam calmly and successfully.

Improve your online teaching!

Become the best online teacher

Tip 1. Look through the test and examine the structure

At the exam, when you receive the exam paper, quickly look through the entire test.

So you will have an idea of its content, which will help you navigate quickly when completing the tasks.

Usually, all TKT tasks look structured and clear, and include the following types:

  • matching,
  • multiple-choice,
  • sequencing,
  • odd-one-out.

Don’t overestimate the power of going through the same test structure over and over again during your preparation process. This piece of advice may be familiar to you, as this is something that teachers say to their students while working on TOEFL or IELTS preparation.

Once you get used to completing certain types of tasks, you start seeing some patterns and tendencies. 

Moreover, you don’t spend too much time trying to guess  what you are supposed to do. It really gets easier once the structure is nailed. 

You might be surprised to learn that people tend to fail their exams because they don’t know what to expect, and, therefore, they get really anxious.

This is indeed a problem you can easily avoid if you carefully go through the structure of TKT both before and during the exam itself.

Tip 2. Do the tasks one by one and move on

Start answering the questions from the first one and move forward. By doing the tests in random order, you run the risk of missing some of the questions.

This might affect your score and make you feel extra anxious when filling out the answer sheet. It is indeed much more difficult to fill in the cells in a random order.

However, if you do not know the answer to the question, move on, do not waste time. There are definitely more tasks that you are going to answer easily after that one evil task you are spending too much time on. 

The worst thing you can do is to fall into some kind of stagnation. Just move on. Then, return to that question at the end of the exam.

One more thing you must remember is that under no circumstances should you leave the cells on the answer sheet empty. It is always better to try to guess the answer. So you will have a chance to get a high score.

Tips to boost motivation

Tip 3. Read the instructions carefully

Be sure to read the task instructions. Moreover, do it carefully and meticulously!

First of all, this way you will understand what type of question is in front of you, and you will be able to choose one of the exam strategies.

Secondly, teachers frequently make silly mistakes as a result of inattentive reading of the task. And this is definitely the saddest thing that might happen. 

How often do we hear it from our students “I know this question very well. I just haven’t read the task till the end”? Don’t let the same thing happen to you!

Take your time and be careful!

Tip 4. Follow the right test-taking strategy

Always use a certain strategy when doing tests.

For example, in the matching and sequencing tasks, mark the correct answers immediately. All ESL teachers are definitely familiar with them because we are supposed to teach them to our students who are about to take some tests

However, we often forget about applying them when it comes to our testing! You should keep in mind that they are advised to be taught for a reason. And the reason is their effectiveness!

Applying specific strategies helps to save time because you do not get stuck on all the options and don’t need to read them again. The strategies are also beneficial when it comes to scanning the text or composing an open-ended answer etc.

Learn and master these strategies as you prepare for the exam, because later you will have less than a minute to answer each question.

How to conduct entry testing?

Tip 5. Don’t fall for the most obvious answer

A little trick from our trainers: don't choose an answer with words and phrases that are in the task.

This is too good to be true. 

Such options are rarely correct because they are created to be noticed first due to their high resemblance with the question itself. 

However, noticing such an answer does not require a lot of extra critical skills. We often do this trick with our own students: create wrong answers which look almost identical to the initial question. Don’t fall for classical tricks!

The correct answer is likely to be composed of different words and hard to find at  first sight.

Tip 6. Choose one correct option

There is ONLY ONE correct answer to the question, and it is 100% in the test. So do not leave any comments or notes for the examiner.

The examiners won’t read anything more than the required amount of answers or words. So, don’t waste your precious time and better focus on finding the exact answer to the posed question.

What is validity in the test?

Tip 7. Practice transferring your answers

The answer sheet can scare, confuse and make an inexperienced person worry twice as much. Therefore, be sure to practice transferring the answers there while preparing for TKT.

Analyse how much time you spend on it, how you can save it, and how it is more convenient for you to do it.

When transferring the answers to the form, be careful not to confuse or miss anything. Filling out the answer sheet carelessly might spoil your result.

And once more: don’t leave any cells blank. Try to make the most of your test.

Tip 8. Do a final check

Leave yourself some time to check everything finally. How much time you need is up to you, but we recommend you to spend at least 5 minutes.

You will have an opportunity to check that all of the tests have been finished and that the answers have been correctly transferred within this period.

Also, don’t try to correct your answers during the last seconds. At the end of the testing, you are likely to be much more tired and stressed than before.

So, it’s rather improbable that the choice made right at the end is better than the one you made a couple of hours ago being fresh and focused. 

What makes a good test?

Tip 9. Prepare to fit in the limits from the start

Do practice tests in an exam atmosphere while you prepare.

That is, limit yourself in time, print the answer sheet and take the test, transferring the answers there. This way you will assess your speed and prepare yourself for the real exam.

After mock testing, analyse your mistakes. See if the things you have done are due to carelessness, or maybe you really don't know something.

Sometimes it happens that a test-taker changes the correct answers to incorrect ones. So pay attention if you do this.

Tip 10. Don’t “over prepare”

These are general recommendations for anyone preparing to take any exam.

Be sure to rest the day before and do not prepare on the last day, and especially at night. Do not take any sedatives immediately before the exam. There is a risk of losing concentration, being inattentive and sleepy.

Remember that you have prepared well and definitely know the correct answers to most, if not all, questions. Therefore, relax and move forward to new achievements.

The TKT qualification is a great start on the way to CELTA and a useful experience that teachers can share with their students

Still, a lot of recommendations that you get while preparing for TKT actually look like those that you give to your anxious students before the exam.

Get ready to DELTA!

It’s often hard to follow these exact recommendations under real stress; however, it’s not impossible. After having long and proper preparation, you will feel 100% ready for this challenge!

And if you are hesitating about which TKT module to choose, how to prepare for it, and what the advantages of each of them are, ask Grade University professionals about all TKT tests and quality preparation for them.

Is the structure of TKT different every time?

Article authors & editors
  • Arina Kravchenko

    Arina Kravchenko


    Teacher of General English & IELTS



Leave your comment