Published 29th October 2019

Is tefl hard to pass?

If you’re considering teaching English abroad and are looking into doing a Teaching English as a Foreign Language course, you will likely be wondering is TEFL hard to pass? After all, if you are either starting out in a career or changing careers, you don’t want to waste your time and money on a venture which will get you nowhere, do you? So, is TEFL hard to pass?

Is TEFL hard to pass?

Unfortunately there is no easy answer for this, simply because we don’t know you. A TEFL course is an intensive course of study. The shortest TEFL course we recommend you do is 168 hours long and a lot of that time will be spent reading books, digesting information, and trying to understand theories of learning and methods of teaching. The rest of the time will be spent either planning lessons and developing content or teaching. 

If you are not very academic (and not many of us are) or if it’s been a long time since you were last in a classroom, you might find the course challenging simply because you don’t enjoy reading or haven’t had to read academic texts for a while. The same goes for the assignments: if you haven’t written an essay in years or if writing is not your strong point, then you might find the assignments in the course overwhelming.

Is it possible to fail TEFL ?

In a word, yes. Many people believe that you can’t fail a TEFL course because there are not many people who do. The argument is that TEFL institutions are run as businesses so they prefer their students to pass because they’ll then recommend the course to their friends. Of course this might be true of some of the dodgier TEFL courses, but for the most part it’s not.

TEFL teachers around the world are judged according to their TEFL certificate by potential employers. TEFL institutions will become known by the caliber of their teachers. In other words, if a TEFL course passes every Tom, Dick and Harry who does the course then there is a real possibility they’ll get a bad reputation based on a few bad apples. But if their teachers are consistently good, that TEFL course will become respected and known as a good preparation course.  

Is TEFL Hard to Pass

Why would you fail the TEFL?

Generally speaking TEFL is not hard to pass. Face-to-face courses generally have interviews and strict admission requirements so if it is not likely to complete or pass the course, they will not be admitted in the first place. Online courses these days offer so much in the way of support that even if you are struggling with the course you will be mentored and assisted until you overcome your difficulties. 

However, there are a few reasons a person might find TEFL hard to pass:

Personal Issues

Personal issues may mean a person does not complete the course. The TEFL course is a hectic course which you need to dedicate a lot of time and energy to. If there are personal issues preventing you from focusing 100% on your course, you will have problems completing it. 

It is totally true that things can come up in people’s lives unexpectedly. Extraordinary circumstances can arise for all of us from time to time. The TEFL Academy are above all else a reasonable and supportive educational body. For this reason, there are processes that we will follow in these situations and we will give all of the support we can follow in these situations and we will give all the support we can. Unfortunately, personal issues can be a common way that a student finds it hard to pass TEFL.

Time Commitments

Time commitments can prevent a person from being able to dedicate enough time to the course. If you are working or studying while you are doing the TEFL course, you might find that there aren’t enough hours in your day to do what you need to do. Needless to say, if you don’t have time to put in the work, you won’t be able to finish or pass the course.

It is really important to ask yourself some hard questions before you dive into the TEFL course. We understand that people are always juggling other commitments in life. That said, one first remains true. The more time pressure you do come under the more difficult it can become hard to pass. A home truth as it may be, time management is a vital part of life. It is something that every single one of us struggles with. With a little bit of discipline and determination a TEFL course is well within your capability!


A person might not complete all the required assignments, or not to the satisfactory level.If you cannot complete all the required assignments, you cannot pass the course. At the same time, you might not pass the assignments, which might mean you cannot pass the course.

The question of assignments and submissions can be bound up with time management. You may find yourself being under serious pressure in order to submit a particular assignment. The good news is that there are many ways to say on top of your deadlines and assignments. Setting reminders on your computer or smartphone calendar in advance of submission dates is a crucial tip for getting assignments done on time. As with extraordinary personal circumstances, we are reasonable. We can accommodate extensions to submission deadlines if there is grounds for it. But we really can make it clear that deadlines are there to meet and the ultimate submission responsibilities rest with the student.

English Level

Their level of English might not be high enough for them to handle the course material. Most TEFL courses take your English level into consideration. This means that you should be able to handle the level of difficulty of the course materials. However, if English is not your first language, you might find that your English level is not high enough for the course. 

For non native speakers we want to stress that TEFL teaching is not a closed shop and you can definitely do it! You are wanted by the TEFL world! Taking an english language test is the best way to check out your suitability for doing TEFL. Thankfully, there are a multitude of test options that can be found easily online. Once you are confident in your ability to take the course and go on to teach english as a foreign language, the world is really your oyster!

Not What You Expected

They might realise that teaching is not suited to them.This happens in any course of study. When you start something it can seem like a great idea, but when you actually do it you realise that it’s not what you expected and it’s not something you enjoy doing.

This is probably the most unfortunate reason for finding TEFL hard to pass. This can happen to anyone unfortunately. The best thing to do to not end up not passing TEFL is to do your research beforehand. Read up about the course content firstly. Are you sure you fully understand what each part entails? Check out some of the video content on the The TEFL Academy Youtube channel to see what teaching english is actually like from people that have done it themselves. Check out some TEFL jobs on our site too. This will help you see what kind of positions are out there and that you could see yourself doing after you become TEFL certified. Once you have done this research around the course itself you will be able to make an informed decision around whether the course and the lifestyle is for you.

To go back to the question, is TEFL hard to pass? For the most part the answer is no, if you have the time to dedicate to the course and if there are no extenuating circumstances which can derail you. If you’re still not sure if TEFL is for you, join a few online forums and ask TEFL teachers what they think. There’s nobody better to ask than someone who has done it themselves.

  1. Hi,
    I am very interested in taking a Tefl course because teaching is my passion. I would like more information about the course and how we can found a job after passing the course. And I will appreciate to know the method of teaching that you use.
    Kind regards

    1. Hello Hajar, there are very few requirements to do the TEFL course with us. You only need to:

      be over the age of 16 (Online Course) or be over the age of 18 (Combined Course)
      have a minimum C1 level of English (advanced)
      have access to a computer/laptop and the internet
      have basic computer skills.
      If you fit all of these requirements then you will be able to enrol for our course online or over the phone. Please let me know if you need any assistance with registration. Upon successful completion of the course, you will be qualified to teach online worldwide and in-person worldwide except for Ireland, Canada and Malta. Please note: some countries will require you to have both a TEFL certificate and a bachelor’s degree in any subject for visa purposes. A degree is not required for online teaching although some employers may prefer this.
      When you complete the course, we will assist you in your job search by giving you access to our job boards and by assisting you with your CV and cover letter. Please note: we do not place students in positions.

  2. I understood every comment and reply above including your post. What is the level of my english?
    It definitely will help me to decide if I should do this course or not.

    1. Hi there Maitriya. Thank you for commenting on our blog post. Non-native speakers should have an English level of C1 (advanced), as a minimum.
      C1 Advanced is proof of high-level achievement in English and is designed for learners preparing for university or professional life. It is having a comfortable level of English to understand and work with. We do not check your level. It is the student’s responsibility to decide whether they can take on the course.

    1. Hi Leanne – Thanks for your interest in our course! I am happy to hear that you are interested in enrolling on our TEFL course. Enrolment is very simple and can be done completely online or over the phone. You will need a credit or debit card to make payment. If this is not possible then you can first register and then ask for an invoice so that you can do an international bank transfer.

      You can find our current course prices here:

      If you want to pay online then please just click the enrol button on the website to start registration. 😊

  3. After working extremely hard on my first assignment and receiving very positive feedback, I was rather disappointed with my merit result (66). I’m curious to know roughly how many students manage to score a distinction on the first assignment as I’d like to know how my progress compares to that of the average student. At the moment I’m feeling quite demotivated.

    1. Hi Sandra – The majority of students would probably be a merit for their first attempt at assignment 1. Remember if you need help with any academic queries or are looking for feedback clarity then you can always contact the Tutor Support Team.

    1. Hi Doreen – Thanks for getting in touch. We have sent you some more information now! 😊

  4. Good day

    I’m considering doing the level 5 180h course but obviously haven’t studied in 12 years. English is also my second language although I’ve been teaching/lecturing in English for the past 10 years. Will I be able to cope with the content of the course?

    1. HI Elena – We have graduates from all ages and backgrounds so as long as you are managing your time and asking questions to the Academic Support team if stuck and taking their feedback on board you should be able to manage!

  5. Good evening I would be very interested in doing an online course with TEFL Academy
    and would appreciate an application form (2) for Mr Marcello Acquisto and myself,
    Beverly Acquisto.
    Yours sincerely
    Beverly Guiney Acquisto

    1. Hi Beverly – Glad to hear you’re interested! We’ve emailed you some information on how to enrol now 😊

  6. Hi I want to study tefl but I afraid that it might not render and benefit to me as I do not have A degree. What do you think?

  7. How many assignments are needed in the level 5 course please? And do we have to right exams or have an assessment?

    1. Thank you for contacting us, There are 10 units – each with an end of unit test. Additionally there are 3 assessments which you will be marked on making up your final grade.

  8. Hello,
    I was working full time on a cruise ship while doing my course. I finished the course in 4 months and then I did my 2 classroom days when I finished working on the cruise ship.
    Prior to this I hadn’t written an essay or read a book in over 5 years. I’d say it can definitely be done with a full time job.
    Now I am a full time English teacher in Genova Italy.

    1. Hi Kesia, We have emailed you more information about our course now. Feel free to reply to this if you have any more questions.

  9. Good day I am looking to be a tefl English teacher kindly assist regarding acquiring a tefl certificate.thank you.

    1. Hello Terence, thank you for your interest in our Level 5 TEFL course. We have sent you an email with our course information and a prospectus. 🙂

    1. Hello Kirsten, the course that we are offering is a level 5 168-hour TEFL course. Some students finish the course in 4-6 weeks working on the course full time, but we give you 6 months access to the online course so you can fit your studies around your existing commitments. Your 6 months of online enrolment starts from the day you pay for the course. 🙂

  10. Good day

    I have great interest in enrolling for TEFL course early next year 2020. I would like to know if there are usually teaching opportunities in Halifax Canada?

    1. Hello Mamosa, we have sent you an email with our course information and a prospectus. Canada is one of the few countries that do not accept TEFL qualifications unfortunately. 🙂

      1. Hi,

        I am doing the TEFL course and would like to speak to someone who has done it.

        My number is 0717715253

        Please will you contact me regarding this.


  11. Good day,
    I trust that you are well.

    I am not sure whether I will be able to cope with the TEFL course as I am a full-time employee. Any input from TEFL qualified teachers who had a full time position and a family who got through and passed the course would be highly appreciated.

    Kind regards,

    1. Hello Nabeweya, we have many students who are working full time or have family commitments. The course is designed to allow flexibility for every student as we give 6 months access to the course. We have sent you an email with our course information and a prospectus. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *