As the end of the school year nears and exam season creeps up, energy levels and enthusiasm among your student will quickly drop. To make the most of your remaining classes and give your students a break from a grueling revision schedule, it’s a good idea to scatter your lesson plans with interactive games. Not only will this help you keep the attention of the class, but also test their knowledge in an enjoyable way. To help you get started, here are 5 great ideas for revision games that can be adapted to suit any subject or level of ESL learners.

Head to Head

Divide your class into teams, and ask two students from different teams to come to the front of the class. Ask them a question related to any of the topics you are revising, and the students must race to answer correctly. The student who answers correctly wins a point for their team. You can either alternate evenly between teams, or heat up the competition by keep the winning team up until a team member loses a round. This quickfire game usually gets students very excited, so you’ll need to make sure to incentivise the class to keep quiet whilst their team mates are competing.

Required Materials: None

good esl teaching games

Fill in the blanks

This simple game is both easy to prepare and a great hit among students. Choose several different sentences that you’ve covered during the term, and remove one word from each. Write these words on separate pieces of paper and group them together with their matching sentences. Split the class into teams of no more than 5 students and give each team a pile of sentences and their missing words.

When the class is ready, shout GO, and students must work together to match their sentences with the correct missing word. The group that matches all words and sentences correctly in the shortest time wins.

Required Materials: printed words and sentences, a timer

20 questions

This engaging game is ideal for getting students to think and formulate sentences for themselves. Choose a topic such as professions or fruit and ask 4-5 students to come up to the front of the class. Whisper a different word relating to the topic (e.g. doctor, fireman) to each of the students and check they understand. Then, ask the rest of the class to raise their hands and ask their classmates closed questions to work out what they are. In order to ensure they get the most out of this game, make sure to give each student a go at asking a question.

Required Materials: none

ESL lesson inspiration


Bingo is a great game that’s both popular among students and easy to adapt to suit different subjects. Prepare bingo cards for your students on which you switch numbers for pictures related to the topics you’re revising. Hand out your bingo cards, and read out words for the class to hear. Students cross off the pictures from their bingo card when they hear the corresponding word. As always, the first student to call BINGO and have correctly crossed off the pictures wins. You’ll find you can reuse this game for several rounds as your students’ competitive streak kicks in.

To change things up a bit, ask different students to come to the front and call out the words to their classmates.

Required Materials: Bingo cards

Alphabet game

This popular car game is also a great filler activity perfect for testing your students’ vocabulary retention. Choose a certain topic, and start by saying a word related to this beginning with A. Then, go around the class, asking students to say a related word beginning with the following letter of the alphabet. To make this more fun and competitive, give students a certain number of seconds to come up with a word. If they fail to do so, or give an incorrect or already used word, ask them to sit out. As the group gets smaller, the game gets harder and gives you a great chance to test their knowledge and listening skills.

Required Materials: None

These simple yet effective games are perfect for the end of term. By incorporating your topics into engaging student-led activities such as these, you’ll help your students retain information and head to their end of term English exams feeling much more confident. If you’re looking for more lesson inspiration, check out these 8 great games.


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