Can you fail a CELTA?

Can You Fail Your CELTA Course?

The quick answer – Yes. Yes, you can fail your CELTA course.

But the good news is that only 3% of all CELTA applicants end up with this fate.

A CELTA course is so intense and rigorous that it demands all your attention. Many applicants go into the course thinking it will just be as simple as showing up and taking some notes.

This is why before being accepted on a CELTA course you go through a stringent application process. The interview and assessment components are there for a reason.

The interview will make sure if you will be able to deal with the course workload so that you don’t waste your time and hard-earned money.

If you are still anxious that you might spend all that money just to fail, here’s everything you need to know about failing your CELTA.

How To Fail The CELTA Course


This a no brainer.

If you don’t show up your CELTA classes, you are not going to pass the course.

The CELTA course covers content-heavy subjects every day in just a few hours. By missing one of these classes, you are setting yourself up for failure and putting yourself under unnecessary pressure. You will need to score 100% on class attendance to pass.

Think of it this way: with the high price tag attached to any CELTA course, do you want to pay that much money just not to turn up?

Lessons Planning

Another major reason CELTA students end up failing is “bad teaching habits”. Throughout your time on the course, your instructor will be assessing how you incorporate the material into your classroom teaching.

Even if you have zero teaching experience before starting the course, you will be expected to show understanding and practical examples during your lesson plans.

By not following the guidelines set out in the CELTA on how to plan an effective lesson, you could find yourself not achieving a pass by the end of the course.

Your instructor will also be assessing you on how well you understand the theory behind the English language, like the difference between past perfect and past continuous, as well as your time management during the lesson.

If you feel like you aren’t grasping certain concepts, make sure to speak to your instructor so that they can help you and you can improve your score in the next practical session.


With the high workload and limited time to complete the CELTA course, stress is another major factor in why 3% of students fail.

By not getting enough sleep, eating poorly, drinking too much, and having to deal with time-consuming commitments outside of the course – you can easily fail your CELTA.

It’s important to remember that it is just 4-weeks out of the rest of your life. You will have plenty more late nights in your future. But during your CELTA course, you will need to devote yourself to completing assignments on weekends and evenings.

It will be tough, and your social life will suffer, but, think about the end goal. By putting your schedule on hold for a few weeks, you can reduce the amount of stress you will feel while on the course.

Poor Time Management

A key factor that can influence the amount of stress you will feel during your CELTA course is poor time management.

Managing your time effectively to complete your assignments on time is a cornerstone of success on this course.

Once enrolled in the course, the reality is that you will be devoting a minimum of 14 hours a day to achieving a pass rate. By not managing your time efficiently, you will be shooting yourself in the foot and sabotaging your success.

Furthermore, assessment is continuous. Every day, your course instructor will be assessing your growth as a teacher and if you are putting into practice what you have learnt. You won’t be able to pass your CELTA if you walk into the classroom with a poor lesson plan or the attitude that you can wing it.

Can you fail your CELTA course?

Will I Fail My CELTA Course?

That is up to you. If you are mentally prepared to take the course seriously, you won’t have a problem. Don’t let the 3% failure rate scare you away from getting your CELTA certification.

To make sure you get through the 4-weeks without any problems, follow our advice and enjoy watching yourself grow as a teacher:

  • Clear your schedule. You should be 100% focused on the course as you will be dedicating the majority of your free time to the course.
  • Ask your family and friends for emotional and practical support during this busy time.
  • Pass on the nightlife. Your social life is going to have to take a backseat for a few weeks.
  • Mentally prepare yourself for honest, constructive feedback which won’t always be positive.

But most of all, don’t let your nerves get in the way!

Your CELTA course will be intense, but it can also be a period of personal growth. By the end of the four weeks, you will not only have grown as a person, but you will be a new breed of English teacher ready to take on the world of English as a Foreign Language with confidence and ease!

About the Author

Lauren Melnick is a South African travel blogger and EFL teacher currently living in Ubon, Thailand. When she isn’t making lesson plans and watching nursery rhymes on YouTube, you can find her eating up a storm, taking selfies with dinosaurs, and planning her next adventure.

Follow her travels on Wanderlust Movement, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.


Read more about CELTA:

Why a TEFL Certificate May Be Better Than a CELTA

My CELTA Journey: From Start to End

So You’ve Completed the CELTA… Now What?