How to Study for the NHS Numeracy Test – A Helpful Guide
The NHS Numeracy Test is one of the steps job applicants must go through toward a position in the United Kingdom (UK) healthcare system.
To maintain the quality of healthcare, it is important that applicants are properly tested to ensure all employees are skilled, professional, and reliable. While the NHS numeracy test is just one of the assessment tests distributed by the National Health Service, it bears significant weight in gauging the skills and competency of aspiring applicants.
Just like any other test, it is important that takers properly prepare themselves for it, both physically and mentally. This is especially important for those aiming for positions that use computations heavily. In such a competitive job landscape, test prep is one of the few ways one can increase their chances of getting their desired position in the NHS.
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NHS Numeracy Test: Structure
As the UK’s publicly funded healthcare provider, the NHS is serious about finding the right professionals to fill in positions with the system.
After the online application, applicants will receive information about their testing time. During this period, it is important for applicants to read all information available about the position on the website, as well as other guidelines for the application process. This is to make sure that they don’t miss their testing date or any other vital instruction.
Like every other category or subject in the NHS Test, the numeracy test can be done at home with internet access, preferably using a computer or laptop. However, calculators are not allowed. There are a total of 20 items and applicants are given 30 minutes to finish the test.
What should one expect in the numeracy test? The subject covers a range of topics to assess applicants’ mathematical skills in the context of the healthcare or medical system. The difficulty of the questions may also depend on the position being applied to. Expect questions along the following lines:
- Data Interpretations – Questions rely on interpreting the data in a given table, chart, or graph. These questions will gauge one’s ability to extract information and come up with correct interpretations. For example, you will be presented with a table showing the number of dengue patients per quarter of the last three years. You will be asked to correctly infer based on the provided information, such as which quarter has the most number of patients, etc.
- Calculations – Questions will cover basic mathematical operations in the context of healthcare. For example, you might be asked to calculate dosages, hospital bed availability, or patient measurements. Knowledge of conversion of basic units will also be tested.
- Percentages and Ratios – Understanding percentages and ratios is important for any role within the healthcare system, especially when dealing with specific dosages. Applicants might also encounter questions about ratios involved in the everyday workings of the position.
- Problem-solving – Questions will be presented as real-life scenarios that will require numerical reasoning. Depending on your applied position, you may also be asked to calculate costs or analyze data relevant to the healthcare system. Problem-solving requires the ability to not just compute, but also find the data needed in the pool of information provided.
Remember that the test items are not strictly bound to these types of questions. This is where test prep packs or practice packs will help you fully prepare for the numeracy test. The NHS also provides official study materials and guidelines that applicants should take advantage of.
NHS Numeracy Test: Preparation
Whether it’s your first time or your fifth time applying for a position at the NHS, it is important to prepare yourself for the numeracy test. For those applying to math-heavy positions, such as in accounting or pharmaceutical, acing the numeracy test will definitely be an advantage and will get you to the next step of the application process.
How to Study for the NHS Numeracy Test
There are many ways to study and prepare for the NHS Numeracy Test. The important thing to note is that everyone learns and retains information differently. While it may be nerve-wracking, the following are surefire ways to get the ball rolling in reviewing:
Job applications are a process. It does not stop or end within a testing page or within an office building. It is important that you manage your time properly and devote time not just to taking practice tests or reviewing, but also preparing yourself physically.
Make sure you have read all the instructions for the test, set the right alarms and calendar reminders, and if possible, inform your housemates or family members that this will be an important date for you.
Create a study plan and make sure that you have prepared your environment for this exam, because you have to prove not just to your future employers, but to yourself, that you are dedicated to this job application. Get enough rest, exercise, and relax your mind so you will be more ready for when the day of the test arrives.
Invest in Practice Tests
There is no better way to know where you need to improve or where you excel than by taking practice tests. While there are many available test practices online, make sure to find ones that are specific to the NHS tests and more importantly, ones that are made by experts.
By taking practice tests, you can get an idea of what the questions might look like and which ones take you the longest to answer, giving you an opportunity to improve yourself in the area.
It is also ideal that you take your practice tests on the same device that you will be taking the actual test, so you can foresee any technical issues that you may face.
Related Reading: Everything You Need To About NHS Graduate Scheme
Find your Rhythm
There are many ways to study and retain information. Aside from practice, study habits such as taking notes, highlighting books, and listening to a specific playlist can help you during your review sessions.
Are you more of a visual learner, or do you learn better with audio devices? While taking tips from friends or fellow applicants is a good start, it is more important that you find the ideal study method for yourself.
Yes, the job landscape is competitive, more so if you are aiming for a position in an institution as prestigious as the NHS. But it is important that you believe in yourself, your credentials, and your skills to ace this test. Employers find the right balance of skills.
They’re not just looking for one with the highest technical knowledge, they also need someone with good critical thinking and communication skills. Begin your review sessions with positive affirmations or surround your study area with your inspirations to ace that test and get that job.
Confidence and Caution
While it is easy to think that a 20-item test will not bear so much weight in your overall job application process, it is important to remember why it’s part of the process.
These questions, which cover many areas related to the position you are applying for, are there to figure out not just who has the skills, but also who takes the process seriously. As a prestigious, publicly-funded institution, the NHS aims to get only the best of the best.
So while confidence is important to bring to the table, remember to take caution along, as it will help ground you in preparing for the test.
In reviewing for the NHS numeracy test, it is important to find the right materials and the right method of studying for yourself. Devote time and exert effort to bring yourself closer to your dream job. It will not go to waste when you get that call for an interview, and hopefully, the call to offer you the position.
Sarah is an accomplished educator, researcher and author in the field of testing and assessment. She has worked with various educational institutions and organisations to develop innovative evaluation methods and enhance student learning. Sarah has published numerous articles and books on assessment and learning. Her passion for promoting equity and fairness in the education system fuels her commitment to sharing insights and best practices with educators and policymakers around the world.