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Delta Module One, Paper 1: Task by task

paper 1

Nearly all the materials and guides on this site will be useful in preparing you for the demands of the Delta examination.  In particular, those that deal with language analysis rather than methodology will be of the most help.
What follows is a brief overview with some examples of what to expect and what to do.
A little more advice from the examiners is set out in the guide to what to avoid in Module One.

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Paper one carries half the 200 marks available to you.  The apportioning is not equal, however:

Task 1: 6 marks Task 2: 12 marks Task 3: 12 marks Task 4: 20 marks Task 5: 50 marks

That means that Task 5 is worth half the total marks awarded, for example, and Task 1 only 6% of the total.
Given that you are allowed only 90 minutes for each paper, it makes sense to allocate the time you spend in the same manner.  There's really no point in spending half your time getting full marks for Tasks 1 and 2 because that will only get you 18% of the marks.  Worse, leaving yourself no time to do Task 5 will almost certainly mean you can't pass.
In what follows, this information is repeated with a suggested time allocation.

1.1 This is a labelling task.  You will be given six definitions of ELT-related items for which you have to provide the correct term.
This question carries only 6% of the possible marks so spend no more than 5 minutes on it.  Less if you can.  Don't take up time cudgelling your brain for an answer.  If you don't know, move on.
For example, can you supply the correct term for the following?  Click on the table when you have an answer.
For each correct definition, 1 mark.
If you said a prepositional phrase for the third item, you'd be half right.  The bit describes the preceding noun is the clue here to being more precise.
A set of revision tests is available here.
banana Avoid these:
  • writing more than one answer in the hope that one will be correct – if one is wrong, you'll get no marks
  • misspelling your answers
  • not answering all the questions – guessing is better than nothing.
  • giving an example – you'll get no credit for it
  • using a lay term which may be correct (e.g., opposite to mean antonym)
1.2 This is a short written-response test.  You have to provide a definition and an example of the four terms you are given.  There is no choice.
This question carries 12% of the possible marks so spend no more than 10 minutes on it.  Less if you can.
In this example, we have given 6 items for a bit more practice but in the examination, you will only get four.
Click on the table when you have an answer.
You get 2 marks for each correct definition (maximum 8 marks) and 1 mark for each correct example you give (maximum 4 marks).
It is, therefore, pointless to provide more than one example for each item.
A set of revision tests is available here.
banana Avoid these:
  • providing an example without a definition or vice versa (do both)
  • providing a definition which is incomplete or vague – if you say that X is a sort of Y, make sure you say what sort it is
  • providing two examples – examiners will only mark the first one so if that is wrong and the second is right, you will get no credit for either
  • providing any information not required by the task – do not waste time demonstrating that you know something you have not been asked for
  • using the terms you might use with students – don't say linking verb when you mean copula
  • not answering all the questions – guess if you don't know

Preparing for tasks 1 and 2

There are a number of things you can do, short of learning a dictionary of applied linguistics:

  1. Go through one of the in-service guides every day but, instead of doing all the tasks and tests, pause at every technical term and ask yourself two questions:
    1. Can I provide a succinct definition of this term?
    2. Can I provide a different example from the one given here?
  2. Pick up a book on an area you have studied so far and open it at the index page.  Then ask yourself the same two questions before you go to the relevant part of the book to check.  Don't use only one sort of book – choose a different focus every day such as pronunciation, reading skills, speaking, grammar, discourse, lexis etc.
  3. Use the glossary of simple grammatical terms to reassure yourself that you understand the basics of grammar and structure at Delta level.  A glossary covering a wider area and including lexis and phonology is available here.
  4. Use the glossary of simple terms relating to background theory and methodology in the same way.  Again, a fuller glossary is available here.

If you do that conscientiously, it will prepare you well for the first two tasks in Paper 1.

1.3 This task requires longer written answers.  You will be given a section of published ELT materials and directed to some of the language features learners would need to be able to command successfully to complete the task.
The task is slightly variable so read the rubric carefully.  Usually, you have to supply a list of the features of the text and another of the skills learners will need to access it successfully.
In this example, your task is to provide three more things they need to know with examples of what you mean.
This question carries 12% of the possible marks so spend no more than 10 minutes on it.  Less if you can.
For example:

The task is to role play the encounter between an unhappy tenant and a landlord / landlady.  The tenant is complaining about cold and damp, the landlord / lady is making vague promises of action.  The tenant needs to insist on a timetable.
You are given the fact that learners will need the vocabulary concerning accommodation and faults as well as a way to introduce the topic (e.g., I need to tell you about a problem with ...) and also the ability to make a complaint.  Think of three more things and then click here.

banana Avoid these:
  • not knowing the features of both spoken and written texts
  • not reading the rubric and supplying data you are not asked for
  • repeating features mentioned in the rubric
  • providing more than three abilities / skills – only the first three will be marked
  • repeating yourself – the three areas need to be distinct not rephrased so look for grammatical knowledge, lexical knowledge, functional ability etc.
  • providing a point without an example or vice versa – do both
  • using pre-learnt points from sample papers or mock examinations
  • giving incomplete examples such as The ability to talk about the future as in I'm going to ... (omitting the need for a bare infinitive following the form
  • using the same example twice
  • waffling – you do not need an introduction or a summary
  • providing ideas which are clearly above the level of the audience learners
  • being disorganised – use headings:
    Feature – Example
    Feature – Example
1.4 This task also requires a longer written response.
You will be given either a transcription of a learner's spoken language or a piece of authentic writing from a learner.  Your task is to analyse the language noting strengths as well as weaknesses.  You need to find four strengths and/or weaknesses.  Draw on the guide to error on this site but note the need to find strength as well.  It is not necessary to prioritise the areas you identify.
This question carries 40% of the possible marks so spend no more than 35 minutes on it.  Less if you can.
There's no right answer to this but when you have noted down four strengths and four weaknesses in the following text, click here for a few comments.
The following is the text of an email received in response to a job advertisement.  The advertisement asked for a CV with "the usual data".  This response was written by a learner at B1 level.
Dear Mrs Smith,
I have all the right experiences for the job you advertised in the papper because I have been many years as a chef in a real posh hotel.
First, I can cook good and am always punktual and clean.
Secondly, I have an advanced diploma in catering from a college well rekognised and important in my country.
Thirdly, the job is right up my street because I love the cooking.
I am available for interview at your conveniences and attash my CV.
I am 23 years old and have a working visa.
In my work now I have too little chances of going up and am not happy so I want this job. If I get this job I will help my sister who is study at college.
With best regards,

Simon Shi.

You may have found other strengths and weaknesses but these are the main ones.  Note that everything is exemplified.

3 marks for each strength / weakness (maximum 12 marks)
2 marks for each example (maximum 8 marks)

banana Avoid these:
  • misreading the rubric and discussing irrelevance
  • identifying more than four strengths or weaknesses – examiners will only look at the first four
  • omitting to include at least one strength and one weakness
  • ignoring the learner's level
  • giving more than one example for each area – other examples will be ignored
  • writing in prose – use bullet points
  • being unclear about whether the feature is a strength or a weakness – set out each point as:
    Strength / Weakness: e.g.,
        Type of ability (taken from the rubric): e.g., use of lexis
        Point: good range of affixation is shown
        Example: disappointment (line 4)
 1.5 This task also requires a longer written response.
You will be given an authentic text (such as an article from a magazine or a brochure etc.) and asked to identify typical features of the genre.  You are also asked to explain the form, meaning, use and phonological features of different language items.
The rubric will tell you how many you need to discuss.

Areas of the text will be highlighted for identification purposes.
You will often be told not to include something, such as more than one comment on the layout of the text.  Do as you are told.
This question carries 50% of the possible marks so spend 45 minutes on it.

(Fortunately for you, it seems that the examination questions setters and markers are not able to distinguish between a genre and a text type, so just stating that something is a newspaper article may be enough to satisfy the marker providing you go on to say why you think that.  If you follow the guide to genre, linked in the first point below, however, you will be better placed to be more accurate and precise in your response.)

It's impossible here to provide an example of a response to this task because it draws on too wide a range of issues but you need to consider:

  1. Generic features of the text (remind yourself by (re-)doing the guide to genre).  Once you have identified the genre, it's easier to identify specific features.
  2. Form and use features will draw on your knowledge both of grammatical issues (which are covered in some depth on this site) and your understanding of the relationship between form and function so the guides to many areas are helpful for this question.  Look at the guides to style and register, cohesion, circumstances and verbs as processes in particular but you will need to draw on a wide range of knowledge to answer this task well.

You gain one mark for each correct point you make so don't repeat yourself.  You will not get marks for saying the same thing a different way!

banana Avoid these:
  • writing too much – the rubric will tell you how many features you need to discuss and any more will be ignored
  • spending time saying why the features have been included – no marks for that at all
  • merely stating the line number without identifying what you are talking about

Preparing for tasks 3, 4 and 5

There are a number of things you can do.  If you can, work with a colleague who is also taking the Delta examination.  You can bounce ideas off each other.

Task 3

Browse a selection of course materials which contain tasks for learners to complete.  Choose range of material types, skills focuses and a range of levels.  Then ask yourself two questions:

  1. If I were setting this question, what three obvious abilities learners need to have to complete the tasks would I supply?
  2. Now can I think of three or four more abilities the learners will need to have?

There's a practice example of this task here.

Task 4

Look again at texts written by your learners and those of your colleagues.  Check the requirements of Task 4 and apply them to the texts you have found.  Remember to find strengths as well as weaknesses.

There's a practice example of this task here.

Task 5

There is a practice test exercise for this task here.

Get a selection of texts of different sorts and do three things:

  1. Identify the genre
    The common ones in the guide to genre are:

    There may, of course, be subgenres within these categories so, for example, you may be presented with a news report which happens to be a kind of recount and follows the same pattern as most recounts.  A news report, however, is a text type, not a genre.
    You may also be confronted by a blog page and will need to figure out whether it's a narrative, a recount, an exposition, a discussion or what.  A page from an instruction manual will usually follow the patterns of an explanation and so on.
    Once you have identified the overarching category, you can then say what subgenre the text belongs to.
    Do not suggest, for example, that a newspaper is a genre.  It isn't because it is a collection of different sorts of texts which have different generic characteristics.  Web pages, too, do not constitute a genre because we have to look at the intentions of the author and the purposes of the texts to identify exactly what the genre really is.
    Here's the diagram from the guide to genre to help you identify which genres a text type may represent.
  2. Then look at the text again and identify how you classified the text.
    To do that, you need to consider three concepts and here's a way to remember them:
    To explain:
    1. The field of discourse
      1. what is the topic?
      2. what are the writer's views about what the reader needs to know?  In other words, what is the producer of the text trying to achieve?
      3. layout: what does the text look like?
    2. The tenor of discourse
      1. what is the relationship between the writer / speaker and the reader / hearer?
      2. are they equal, client to supplier, supplier to client, giver and receiver of information, knower to non-knower etc.?
    3. The mode of discourse
      1. is it written or spoken?
      2. what sort of writing or speaking?
      3. is it public or private?
  3. Then look at the language itself:
    1. What sorts of circumstances and adverbials are used?
      1. Ordering and sequencing adverbials (firstly, then, afterwards etc.) will be used in procedures and narratives, for example.
      2. Other texts, such as information reports will use lots of adverbials and circumstances to say where, when and why things occur and so on (on 14th April, before the war, in Glasgow, during the meeting, according to police reports etc.).
      3. Narratives and recounts will start with some kind or orientation: where, when, who, with whom etc.
      4. Expositions and discussions will start with a statement of the issue, where it occurs and whom it affects.
    2. Check the modal expressions to see what sorts are there.
      1. If the text contains lots of should, must and ought expressions, it's probably an exposition.
      2. If the text contains lots of hedging with things such as It may be argued that, It appears that etc., then it may be a discussion.
      3. Explanations and information reports will contain little modality because they are concerned with factual matters.
      4. Recounts and narratives may contain speculation modal expressions such as she might have thought, he could have assumed etc. and so on.
    3. Look at the tense use.
      1. Recounts and narratives are conventionally in the past with perfective verbs uses (saying what (has) happened, who did what, thought what etc.).
      2. Procedural texts contain present tenses and imperatives.
      3. Expositions and discussions may contain conditional speculation about the future or the expression of consequences with future forms (if we go on this way ... etc.) and so on.
    4. Now look at the verbs and what processes they encode.
      1. Relational processes will appear often in information reports, expositions and discussions.
      2. Narratives and recounts will contain behavioural, material and projecting verbs.
        See the guide to verbal processes for more.
    5. Now look at the lexis.
      1. Are there obvious chains running through the text to tell you what it's about and help it cohere?
      2. Can you immediately identify the register from the lexis?
      3. What does the writer's choice of lexis and style tell you?
        For more, see the guide to style and register.

Do all this and you will be well prepared for this paper.