Ranking ESL subjects by difficulty

Hey guys! I’m really interested in researching specific English topics and how difficult each one is to teach to foreign students. I thought about ranking these subjects by difficulty for a start, and I want some opinions from other ESL or English teachers regarding this ranking.

Level 1 - General English
Level 2 - Conversing in English, Pronunciation
Level 3 - Test Prep (IELTS, TOEIC, etc.)
Level 4 - Business English
Level 5 - Academic

If there are other common topics I might have missed, and/or if these rankings may need some changes, feel free to let me know!

Thank you so much!

It depends on the students’ level, no?


Add another level for Journalism/Literature

Scrabble master level

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And the teacher’s skills and expertise, for example a Taiwanese with poor conversation skill but high TOEIC score might prefer test prep to pronunciation. But a skilled and experienced Taiwanese teacher might have the materials to get around their own poor speaking. A FOB native speaker will probably be terrible at teaching general English.

What’s the difference in difficulty between business and academe? Isn’t it mostly just genre?

In short, the whole concept of ranking these things by difficulty is fundamentally flawed. If you’re interested in researching the differences between these things, how about looking at instructor competencies?