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How to Prepare for Numeracy Skills Test (QTS) – The Ultimate Guide

Last Updated on February 22, 2023

This success guide for the QTS numeracy skills test we’ll tell you what to expect and how to succeed, step-by-step. Let’s get started!

2 Useful Starting-point Resources

  • You should definitely check out our numerical reasoning hub – It will be a treasure trove for you in preparing for your numeracy skills test.

Download our Ultimate Assessment Day & Interview Guide 2022 here. (It's packed with tips, tricks and insider-secrets to help you succeed.)

The Basics

The numeracy skills test worries all aspiring teachers, but this part of the professional skills test can easily be negotiated with the right preparation. We’ve put everything together for you in one place so grab a drink, keep reading and we’ll walk you through the whole thing.

Let’s look at the basics first.

What Is the Numeracy Skills Test?

numeracy-skills-test The numeracy skills test is one of the professional skills tests that must be passed by all prospective teachers.

The test is designed to assess a core skill that all teachers need to work with competence (it does not assess a specific subject knowledge).

The numeracy skills test checks that you have strong and broad numeracy skills, regardless of what subject you may intend to specialise in.

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Why Is the Numeracy Skills Test So Important?

It’s pretty simple: You can’t progress from trainee teacher status unless this test is passed. Once you have it under your belt you can proceed towards qualified teacher status.

Where Do I Take the Numeracy Skills Test?

You will take your numeracy skills test at one of Learn Direct’s test centres, which are dotted all over the country.

Ok, let’s get into the detail of the test itself.

Numeracy Skills Test – The Specifics

You will have 48 minutes to complete your numeracy skills test. It’s broken down into two sections:

  • Mental Arithmetic
  • Written Arithmetic and Data

Let’s take a look at both sections in more detail.

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The 4 Steps to Numerical Test Success – Download a Copy of Our Popular 4-Step Report

Make sure you grab a copy – this is a useful tool: Click here to download our popular report ‘the 4 steps to numerical test success’

Numeracy Skills Test – Mental Arithmetic

professional-skills-test-numeracy This section of the numeracy skills test has 12 mental arithmetic questions and is audio-based. You will be provided with headphones to hear the questions.

You will be assessed on your ability to carry out mental calculations and with this in mind you can’t use a calculator.

The questions are individually timed, so it’s imperative that you make your calculations swiftly.  You can use a pen and paper for your workings.

You should expect to be assessed in the following areas:

  • Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication and Division
  • Time
  • Fractions, Decimals and Percentages
  • Proportions involving Fractions, Decimals and Percentages
  • Measurement, including Money, Distance, Area and Volume
  • Conversions

You will hear each question twice and you need to make your basic calculations and enter your correct answer into the computer within 18 seconds. It’s a tight timeframe and speed is key. (You are being measured against other candidates, remember.)

‘I’m Terrified by This! How Can I Improve My Maths Skills?’

This is a question we get asked often. It’s pretty simple, the best way to improve your skills is to practice, practice, practice. We always recommend these practice tests for aspiring teachers because they benefit the candidate in two ways:

1) Familiarity with the test format increases both your competence AND your confidence. This helps you relax on the day and that’s HUGE in terms of boosting your performance.

2) The tests above also include explanations and this is a game-changer for many people. The tests allow you to identify your weaknesses beforehand and show you how to improve. This is transformative for your performance.

Practice, practice, practice. (Do it for half an hour a day for the 2 weeks leading up to your numeracy skills test and you will sail through.)

Let’s move on to the next section.

Professional Skills Test Numeracy

Numeracy Skills Test – Written and Data Section

You can ditch the headphones for this section of the numeracy skills test. You’ll see the questions on the computer screen and you will have to answer 16 questions in 36 minutes.

This part of the test assesses you in the following areas:

  • Identifying patterns and trends
  • Comparing data and drawing conclusions
  • Interpreting written numerical data

You’ll be pleased to know that you can use a calculator for this part of the numeracy skills exam.

qts-numeracy-skills-test The mathematical problems you’ll be faced with within this section:

  • Time
  • Money
  • Fractions, Decimals and Percentages
  • Proportions and Ratio
  • Measurements (eg Distance, Area)
  • Conversions
  • Averages (including Mean, Median and Mode)
  • Range
  • Formulae

Expect to be provided with lots of visual information; tables, charts and graphs etc. There’s no single type of question here. Some are multiple-choice and some are direct-entry (with you typing in your answers).

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Download a Copy of Our Popular 4-Step Report

Make sure you grab a copy – this is a useful tool: Click here to download our popular report ‘the 4 steps to numerical test success’

How to Prepare for This Part of the Numeracy Skill Test

This part of the test is a standard numerical reasoning assessment. You should check out our numerical reasoning hub, there’s TONS of stuff there that will help you.

5 Top Tips for Passing Your Numeracy Skills Test

  1. Practice, practise, practise! This is the fundamental point in your preparation. Practising allows you to discover your strengths and weaknesses and that shows you the areas you need to concentrate on. It will also ensure you get faster, which is a key part of the numeracy skills examination. You can get hold of excellent QTS practice tests here.
  2. Don’t waste precious time, examining useless data. This is a really practical tip.  Always read the question before spending time analysing a table/graph etc. Using this strategy will allow you to quickly disregard data that is not required. This is the key to speed.
  3. Use Our Numerical Reasoning Hub. The Hub is there to help you visually make sense of numerical reasoning. We’ve made a series of coaching videos for you, check them out!
  4. Keep an eye on the clock. Don’t allow yourself to waste precious marks on unanswered questions. Move through them at pace. Again, you’ll learn how to manage your time effectively by practising and by visiting our numerical reasoning hub.
  5. Invest in your future. Prepare. Don’t leave your preparation to the last minute. Cramming is nowhere near as effective as a steady intake of knowledge. Use the time leading up to your test, to your advantage. There is no secret to success. Success is an entirely natural byproduct of doing the right things consistently. In this case, the ‘right thing’ is preparation.

What Is the Pass Rate for the Numeracy Skills Test?

The current pass rate is 63% – that equates to getting 18 out of the 28 questions correct.

Each question is worth 1 mark (no matter how many answer-entries the question may require).

When Do I Learn My Numeracy Skills Test Score?

The numeracy skills examination is computer-based and also computer-marked, meaning that you will walk away from the test centre with a printed score. (There’s no certificate issued, so keep the record card safe for future reference.)

Brush Up on Your Times Tables

Make sure you have a firm understanding of your times tables. Check out this brilliant video for a refresher.

QTS Numeracy Skills Test Video

This is an excellent video from Julie Kevill (of Middlesex University)

Even More Useful Resources for Your Numeracy Skills Test

Thanks for Reading!

We hope you enjoyed this free guide and found it useful? Good luck with your test and your future career as a teacher! 🙂

Come and say Hi on Facebook. We’d love to hear how you do in your numeracy skills examination.

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1. What Is a Basic Numeracy Test?

Basic numeracy tests are used to evaluate a person’s ability to do basic arithmetic operations. This type of test evaluates your ability to perform addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division operations as well as logical reasoning. It is based on easy math that is usually not more difficult than middle school levels.

2. How Can I Prepare for the Numeracy Skills Test?

There is no definitive way to prepare for the numeracy skills test. However, some tips to improve your score include practicing basic math skills regularly, focusing on problem solving, and using practice tests to identify areas that need more work.

3. What Is the Difference Between Maths and Numeracy?

Maths is the study of numbers and their operations, while numeracy is the ability to use maths in practical situations. Numeracy might involve using maths to work out how much petrol is left in a tank, or how many days of holiday someone has left.

4. How Can I Learn Basic Math Skills?

There are a few different ways that you can learn basic math skills. One way is to take a class at a local community college or adult education center. Another way is to use a resource like Khan Academy, which offers online video tutorials that can help you review basic math concepts. Finally, you can also find practice problems and worksheets online or in books to help you strengthen your skills.

5. What Are Four Examples of Numeracy?

Numeracy is the ability to use numbers and mathematical concepts in order to solve problems. Some examples of numeracy include: adding and subtracting, multiplying and dividing, working with fractions and decimals, and solving equations. Numeracy is important in many different fields, including science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

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