15 TEFL Sample Questions and Quizzes for Perspective Teachers

tefl example questions

Accredited TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) certification courses generally cover a standard set of English-teaching fundamentals. The basic structure of a high-quality TEFL course includes:

  • A “refresher” on parts of speech, basic grammar rules, and other English-language essentials that may have slipped your mind since your last high school grammar course.
  • The basic teaching theories and strategies that inform effective lesson-planning
  • Cultural issues (may be region-specific or generalized)

To earn your TEFL certificate, many providers will require the completion of quizzes and tests throughout the course to verify that you’ve properly absorbed the material covered in class.

To help you prepare for your TEFL course (or brush up on your skills), here are 15 TEFL practice questions and quizzes from the most commonly covered fundamentals.  We’ve even included explanations to help clear up any confusion!

TEFL Sample Questions

TEFL Sample Question #1

In the statement, “I put it down to experience,” the underlined part is an example of: 

  • an adjective
  • a phrasal verb
  • an adverb
  • an article

Explanation: A phrasal verb is essentially divided into two parts: the verb itself (“put” in the sentence in question) and an “adverb particle” (“down” in this sentence). Phrasal verbs — which are commonly used in everyday speech but are often confused as simple verbs/adverbs – may take the form of “call in,” “bring up,” “give away,” etc.

TEFL Sample Question #2

Being a needs analyst is primarily identifying the social needs of your learners.


Explanation: Rather than identifying the social needs, the purpose of a needs analysis in the context of TEFL means figuring out what sort of academic instruction your students need to develop in their language skills. Although the social welfare of your students is always a concern that you should keep in mind, this technique is intended for optimizing opportunities for academic growth, not social.

TEFL Sample Question #3

A motivated learner gets frustrated by situations involving a temporary lack of understanding or confusion.


Explanation: The term “intrinsic motivation” refers to an “urge to engage in a learning activity for its own sake.” For the motivated learner, the process of learning is rewarding in its own right – and temporary confusion is a natural part of learning. Being temporarily lost is unavoidable for any human that is engaging in the learning process – issues only arise if that temporary confusion is not resolved through further explanation.

TEFL Sample Question #4

In which of the following lesson plan models does the teacher evaluate the learners’ skills, understanding and knowledge before teaching the language/structure?

  • ESA
  • PPP
  • TTT
  • 5 Step Lesson Plan

Explanation: “TTT” is an acronym that stands for “test, teach, test.” The central idea is that you don’t know exactly how best to approach an upcoming lesson without first gauging your students’ current proficiency. If you teach them things they already know, or, conversely, if you teach them things too far beyond their current grasp of understanding, you likely won’t achieve your teaching objectives.  

TEFL Sample Question #5

The 5 major word classes are:

  • Nouns, verbs, conjunctions, prepositions and pronouns
  • Nouns, adjectives, verbs, prepositions and adverbs
  • Nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs and interjections
  • Conjunctions, determiners, prepositions, nouns and adverbs

Explanation: Nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs are commonly considered the four basic parts of speech. Some TEFL course curricula will also include interjections (“No, I don’t want any ham” or “Hey, let’s go to the cinema”) as another major class of words.

TEFL Sample Question #6

Phonological awareness should start with lots and lots of listening games that focus your learners’ attention on words.


Explanation: Learning proper pronunciation is extremely difficult for some foreign learners. As a general rule of thumb, the more dissimilar a learner’s mother tongue is from English, the harder time he or she will have getting the basic but relatively unique sounds in English down such as “th,” “ch,” “r,” etc. Listening for and enunciating these sounds comes as second nature to a native speaker, but they are totally foreign to a foreign student. Practice breeds familiarity.

TEFL Sample Question #7

Which of the following is unlikely to be a barrier to listening for a language learner?

  • Inability to adequately distinguish particular sounds
  • Lack of familiarity with commonly-used vocabulary
  • Speaker speaks too slowly
  • Inability to distinguish the key elements from the unimportant parts of the message

Explanation: You can never speak too slowly or pronounce each portion of a word too clearly. It’s natural for us to speak at a normal pace, but when teaching it’s best to diligently focus on slow, steady speech. Often, like many teachers (especially in their first time in the classroom), you might become overly eager or anxious and naturally begin to speak too quickly for your students to keep up.

TEFL Sample Question #8

Which of the following is a poor practical lesson planning tip?

  • Don’t wing it.
  • Don’t depend on your memory.
  • Don’t add variety.
  • Don’t worry – it usually turns out fine.

Explanation: In the ESL classroom, as in life, variety is a spice that you need to work into your lesson plans to avoid boring your students and yourself. No one learns well when they are bored. That’s why, if you pause to reflect, maximum learning in your own academic career has likely occurred when you are entertained and, ironically, least aware that a learning process is occurring at all.

TEFL Sample Question #9

Which of the following is unlikely to be a successful body language tip?

  • Stand behind your table.
  • Project your voice in the classroom.
  • Use the whole classroom.
  • Stand next to misbehaving students.

Explanation: Desk-clingers will learn — either through diligent note-taking in a TEFL course or through the school of hard knocks in an actual classroom environment – that standing behind a podium and dictating an English lesson is doomed to fail.

The youngest students respond the most poorly to the “university lecture” model of ESL instruction, but even older students learn more effectively when the teacher uses the entire space available and moves around.

TEFL Sample Question #10

Cultural rules regarding proximity are not the same in different cultures. True/False

Explanation: Americans tend to value and cherish personal space. “You’re in my bubble” is a classic American response to someone who is standing or sitting too close. This social norm is not shared by large portions of the rest of the world. Invariably, if you teach ESL in a foreign country, your students or coworkers will eventually “violate” your personal space – rarely with ill intent.  

TEFL Quizzes

TEFL Sample Quiz #1

This “General Grammar Terms Quiz” tests your knowledge of basic grammatical concepts like sentence structure, singular vs plural, active vs passive voice, etc. It covers the basic parts of a sentence – subjects, verbs, and objects as well. While many of us have internalized the rules of English grammar and know how to correctly form our syntax, we might not be up to speed on the various terminologies and concepts at play that inform the language we create through speech.

TEFL Sample Quiz #2

This “Parts of Speech Quiz” assesses your understanding of, and ability to identify, the eight “parts of speech” in the English language. Each word in English belongs to a category of speech: noun, pronoun, verb, adjective, adverb, preposition, conjunction, or interjection. Next to the essentials of sentence formation, distinguishing the parts of speech is one of the fundamental aspects of English that new learners should become familiar with.

TEFL Sample Quiz #3

This “Teaching Terms Quiz” will show your level of comfort with common industry jargon – which, like any specialized discipline, ESL (English as a second language) has in spades. Terms like “TEFL,” “ESL,” “PPP,” and similar industry acronyms become second nature after enough experience in the field, but they take time to learn for someone just breaking into the ESL sector.

TEFL Sample Quiz #4

This “Classroom Terminology Quiz,” similarly to the previous quiz featured here, test your knowledge of the various terms that are unique to teaching in general and ESL in particular, such as the meaning of “pedagogy” and the difference between “guided” and “free” practice.

TEFL Sample Quiz #5

This “Listening and Reading Terms Quiz” shows how well you understand the terms and concepts related to listening and reading, two of the four essential English skills next to writing and speaking. The literature on best practices for effectively teaching listening and reading is extensive, and the high-quality TEFL courses devote a portion of their curricula to understanding how English learners optimally process and retain information they take in through listening or reading.

Preparing For Your TEFL Course

You might ask yourself, “How do I prepare for my TEFL course?” or “how hard is my TEFL exam going to be?“.

Successfully navigating the test at the end of your TEFL course or between modules is easier than it might sound. When you take an online course, for example, you will have access to your study materials during the test for easy reference.

TEFL courses have exceptionally low failure rates. If you invest the necessary time and effort into acing your end-of-course exam, you’re virtually guaranteed to succeed.

Where to Start

Visit TEFL Hero to get started on your journey to TEFL accreditation. Founded and run by experienced ESL teachers, TEFL Hero offers a fully accredited, all-online 120-hour TEFL course that delivers a marketable TEFL certificate to students at a fraction of the cost of competing TEFL providers.

Everyone needs support from time to time. TEFL Hero’s tutors are available to answer any questions you might have that pop up – including ones regarding the assessments that cover the course materials. They respond to all their students within 48 hours of receiving queries.