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Maths tests for Primary PGCE interview

Discussion in 'Thinking of teaching' started by Alec2005, Nov 9, 2011.

  1. I don't want to sound rude or unhelpful, but if you have great difficulties in simple mental Maths, do you think you are suited to be a primary teacher? You have precious little time to brush up on subject knowledge once you are on the course, and pretty soon you will be giving lessons, doing mental Maths and teaching children how to solve problems. You may even have to teach top-set Year 6 class. Numeracy and literacy are subjects you will be teaching every day, and lack of subject knowledge and expertise will hold you back.
    You had a year since last interview to do something about it.
    For your interview tests, you have no choice but to keep testing yourself using revision notes (KS2 material is good) and online QTS revision tests on TDA site. Read 'how to pass numeracy test' book to give you basic understanding of maths concepts and operations.
  2. Echo what Alec said but also you need to practice mental maths. If you can do these things on paper then you need to practice the timed, pressurised part of it. Not sure if you have access to something like a nintendo DS or wii but the Dr Kawashima and Big Brain academy type things are good ways of practising your mental maths without it becoming too stressful (I use them with my nephew who is practising for 11+). Also do maths in your everyday life, add up your shopping bill as you go around, work out how they came up with your mobile phone bill. Do you know your multiplication tables? If not this needs remedying urgently as so much of mental maths depends on them.
    Or is it just any maths without a calculator that scares you?
    In primary teaching you will have to be able to do this, this is why they set it as a test. I know some people find maths dificult but if you want to make a decent job of being a primary teacher I think you owe it to yourself to get over your difficulties.
  3. sparkleshine

    sparkleshine New commenter

    Alex2005 - I'm afraid you're being rude and unhelpful, even if you
    don't 'want' to be.I never said I didn't have basic understanding of
    simple mental maths and concepts, just that I haven't had to do much
    maths beyond the usual stuff for years and so I'm struggling a little
    with refreshing myself. I appreciate what you're saying but some
    smart-a** response isn't particularly helpful in this case. I'm very
    well aware of what being a primary teacher entails and I am fully
    committed to getting my maths up to speed before the course starts, if
    I'm lucky enough to get a place. I know that I have plenty of qualities
    that would make me a good teacher and it wasn't as if I've struggled
    helping a Year 6 class with their Maths when I worked in a primary
    As for the point that I've had a year, yes but I didn't
    want to start my maths prep too soon in case it wasn't fresh in my head
    for the interview. As for the other post - I really think my post has been a bit understood. I know a lot of maths and I do it in my head all the time - and yes, I can certainly add up my shopping bill and calculate percentages. It's just a little tough to get used to doing some of the more complex stuff in my head.
    If anyone's got a slightly more encouraging and less patronising response it would be great to hear from them.
  4. You asked a question and I and Kritur replied. I see so many trainees with poor Maths skills - not lack of subject knowledge per se but how to apply concepts to practice and really quick and accurate with mental Maths, that my comment is quite apposite.
    If you know how to do things, all you need to do is to test yourself in exam conditions - there is no other way.
    Remember you also owe it to your future pupils to have excellent Maths skills.
  5. sparkleshine

    sparkleshine New commenter

    I appreciate that, I just continue to find your tone rather patronising. My question was to any applicants that are struggling like me so I could see how they were tackling it. As I mentioned above, I'm committed to improving my maths skills anyway. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses and I'm working on my weakness.
  6. Patronising? Well, I can only speak as an experienced professional to someone who is just starting off in this wonderful but demanding career. Take my advice as it is - meant to help you and stir you into action. If you take your attitude to your training, I guarantee you will hit problems big time on placements.
  7. sparkleshine

    sparkleshine New commenter

    I said in my post I was taking action, so I fail to see what need there is to spur me to it . I appreciate your views as an experience professional and they are useful, I just felt that your delivery was a little sharp. Anyway...that's that.
  8. I don't want to prolong this discussion but just to say that acknowledging you have a weakness you want to remedy is good. So many trainees just assume they are capable and don't realise their inadequacy until they stand in the classroom teaching a full class, by which time it's often too late.
    Just keep practising Maths tests and you should be ok. Hope you get shortlisted. Best of luck.
  9. I don't think Alec was being rude and unhelpful, merely asking a challenging question which many people really don't like. He has a lot of experience and your response to him was quite rude and defensive in itself.
    I honestly do recommend the Nintendo DS games as well, my nephew's mental maths has really speeded up by using them and there's even one that reads out questions to you. You can do them on the train, 10 minutes here and there.
  10. I'm feeling pretty anxious as well,. I haven't really practice maths properly in 5 years, so thingd aren't particularly fresh in my mind..I have gone through all the tests on the tda website. Sometimes I have done really well, with 25/28, but other times I just can't seem to get my brain to work in the way I need it to! The maths section where you have the time isn't my problem, it is the mental maths section that is. The time limit seems to get to me :/ Questions I could answer under normal circumstances seem to become impossible with the time limit...
    We'll just have to keep practicing, and hope that on the day it goes the way we want it to :)
  11. sparkleshine

    sparkleshine New commenter

    Agreed - sometimes I do okay on the QTS practice tests, but it's just doing them so quickly that is the hardest bit! I know exactly what you mean...it's like you know you have so little time left and it just makes you panic. I'm trying to practise answering questions as quickly as possible but it's tricky.
    Here's hoping it goes well for us [​IMG]

  12. Hi glitteratiglue,
    I am also rather anxious about this and have invested in some GCSE revision books and workbooks so I can work from those a little every evening. I completey agree with what you and the previous poster (sorry, can't see your name anymore) about "getting your brain in the right place" and feeling out of practice. It'e the silly things you forget and you just lose a bit of that mental agility over time but mostly I think it's down to confidence.
    If you were to ask me, I would tell you that I am terrible at maths. My grades in the subject however, have always been very good. In truth I am probably just rather lazy with my maths. And who isn't! There are fairly few jobs where you have to work with numbers everyday or where you encounter quickfire mental maths regularly (and don't just lazily reach for the calulator). On top of revising, I've been trying to combat this by challenging myself to do things like work out a different ratio of recipes, how much my boyfriend owes me for the shopping, how much the gas bill is between myself and my 3 flatmates. I know this sounds very basic but this is really helping my to get my confidence up and combat that laziness that I think we all battle with. And the more of it I do, the more I realise how lazy I have been up til this point and I have started looking for little challenges like adding up all the numbers at the bus stop. SIlly, but this has really helped me to feel more confident.
    Mostly, I'm really trying to use the time I have 'til my (fingers crossed) interview wisely nad positively. Rather than fretting about the maths test, try and channel your energy and make constructive use of your time.
    Saying that, I'm still terrified...but that's allowed :)
  13. sparkleshine

    sparkleshine New commenter

    Boosid - know exactly what you mean there about trying to incorporate maths practice into everyday life. I work in a job where I do calculations every day but instead of reaching for the calculator I'm working it out by hand instead. I'm even playing Brain Training on the Nintendo DS when I have a spare moment which I know sounds a bit silly but it's really helping me speed up my mental maths calculations.
    I'm not as good at Maths as you I'm sure, so I'm trying to work steadily through some of the topics in one of those CGP GCSE Maths revision/practice books. I think Maths is just one of those things that people panic about, but I suppose it's like anything - just keep doing it and you finally get it. I even had to remind myself of long division and long multiplication - but once I did I realised I remembered how to do it and it's not that hard after all.
    We'll get there!

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