Alex Webb

Getting it Write in Exams

Getting your students, particularly teenagers, to write in class or for homework can be a challenge. At the same time, this is often an area that requires significant improvement. This talk will look at how we can encourage our learners to produce more writing and improve the standard their written work.


How can we encourage our learners, especially teenagers to produce more writing over the course of the academic year? In exams such as First Certificate and Advanced, writing is often the section in which students achieve their lowest scores. But does this necessarily have to be the case? There is plenty of scope for helping students to improve the standard of their written work, but this requires students to practise, as they would reading, use of English or listening. Often these exams ask students to produce things like reviews and reports – texts they are unlikely to have ever written before. It is therefore important to show our learners what is expected of them when they write texts like this and give them enough opportunities to practise them. Excuses for not doing written homework are almost as old as teaching itself so it’s important to find a way to encourage students to write on a more regular basis. This talk will look at why students are reluctant to write and what we can do to engage them in this task. The session will include some practical ideas that can be used in class and attempt to explain why getting students to put pen to paper can often be a challenge. There is often huge potential for students to improve their scores in the written parts of the exam and we will look at ways of tapping into this and improving those writing scores and getting more of our students to pass the exams they are taking.


Alex Webb is a teacher and teacher trainer and has a degree in German and politics from the University of Swansea and an MA in translation from Exeter University. He has been teaching English since 2008 and completed the DELTA in 2017. Before moving to San Sebastian he lived and taught in Miranda de Ebro in Spain as well as Frankfurt in Germany, Bordeaux in France and in Portsmouth and Torquay in the UK.