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QTS numeracy, literacy and ict tests

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by buntlemania, Aug 1, 2011.

  1. Hi, I will be starting the PGCE course in September.
    I'm worried about the QTS skills tests as my maths is very weak!!
    Does anyone have any tips? or good book recommendations?

  2. Hi, I will be starting the PGCE course in September.
    I'm worried about the QTS skills tests as my maths is very weak!!
    Does anyone have any tips? or good book recommendations?

  3. mickymilan

    mickymilan New commenter

    Go to this link for the numeracy; print off the content, learn it and do the practice tests http://www.tda.gov.uk/trainee-teacher/qts-skills-tests/numeracy/numeracy-areas.aspx
    For the literacy, the QTS skills test book had loads of stuff - and do the online tests
    For the ICT, current knowledge and a few hours of the online tests should suffice
    All prospective teachers should be able to learn the numeracy stuff covered in the test content, it's very basic, some of it is KS2.
  4. " Passing the Numeracy Skills Test "

    They have these books for literacy and ICT too, you can get them on amazon.

    They are really good for revision - there are online practice tests too so you can get used to the timings of the mental maths section!
    Good luck :)
  5. Thanks a lot!!
  6. I would definitely suggest focusing on the online practice tests, as the people I knew personally who failed one failed due to lack of preparation and were thus confused by the format of the test - particularly for ICT. Practice them now and see where your strengths and weaknesses lie, and then book your tests as soon as possible. The sooner you get them done, the less you have to worry about!
  7. Also check with your training provider what support they offer, my uni had a subject knowledge booster week which included seminars about passing each of the qts tests.

  8. Hi to all the new students teachers!

    As someone who struggled hugely with the Numeracy exam (passed it today after 7 attempts when I have a job waiting for me!), I have every sympathy with those who are worried about passing the Numeracy so I wanted to offer some advice:

    1) Start taking it as early as you can. I thoroughly recommend just retaking it as many times as you need to pass as I ended up in the situation of going to interview and being told that they would not offer me the post because of my not having passed the numeracy test. I would not wish this on anyone so I recommend listening to everyone who tells you to take them early as they are completely right! Even when things are insanely busy with placement and university, its never as bad as being told you are not being offered a post because you have become complacent with the skills tests.

    2) Look at the practice materials online as everyone so far has suggested. They are helpful in seeing what areas exactly are covered ( i.e. Fractions, Time, Scatter Graphs etc) which can help you narrow down your revision. The questions do tend to be quite formulaic and it is good to make sure you are familiar with the question types by using the practice papers online.

    3) Ask friends who are good at maths to give you some help with methods. I took my GCSEs quite some time ago and all the methods that I once used had escaped me so I found it very helpful to speak to friends who are good at Maths and make notes on copies of the practice papers about the methods that I could use to answer the questions. If your friends can't stand maths then maybe wait until your PGCE / training has begun and then ask Maths trainees on placement with you, to perhaps go through a practice paper in an hour after school. If you are not on placement with a maths trainee then ask your university tutor if they can contact the maths PGCE tutor and ask if anyone is interested in helping with tuition.

    4) Whilst the materials on the TDA website are very helpful at explaining how to answer the questions, they are obviously more suited to people who already have fairly strong numeracy skills. For people like myself who struggle with some of the more basic numeracy skills (i.e fractions) , I would recommend simply buying one of the GCSE Foundation Guides ( I purchased the CGP GCSE Mathematics; The Revision Guide Foundation Level which was about £5) and reading the relevant parts of that (use the TDA 'Areas of Numeracy' section as a guide as a lot of the book covers Prime Numbers and things like that which are completely irrelevant!). I found this style of book alot more helpful as it explained the methods what I would need and in a way that anyone can understand.

    5) Persevere. I took my test 7 times and ended up feeling very upset and frustrated at myself which actually made it worse as the tests are fundamentally not that tricky but once you start to panic, you can easily run out of time and fail the exam. If you fail, it really does not matter, just go away and revise the sections that you know you struggled with (i.e ratios), this way you are improving what you have already learnt.

    6) Know if you can get extra help; If you need extra time, then persevere with the TDA and get the evidence that you might need for extra time as soon as you possibly can. The process to get extra time can take up to 6 weeks and its worth getting it sorted asap so you can concentrate on passing the skills test. If you need medical evidence, then ask a doctor for it soon so thats one less thing to stress about.

    Obviously everyone learns in such different ways that my advice probably won't work for some of you but for those who genuinely do worry about numeracy as I did, I hope it does help.

    Good Luck to everyone!

  9. Sorry about the awful formatting; I am using a mac!
  10. Well done on passing the numeracy skills test!!![​IMG]
  11. Be careful though, aren't the rules changing this year? 3 strikes and you're out? Or you have to pass at the beginning of the course?
    Or are these just proposals at this stage? Sorry, I've forgotten, but if you do a search you should be able to find out pretty quickly.
  12. I think the "3 strikes and you're out" rule applies to people wanting a place on a PGCE for September 2012.

    My Maths isn't great either, so I am nervous about that test. I scraped a C (with a lot of extra tuition) in my GCSE 10 years ago. Because I know it's a weakness I've started to study for the Numeracy test this summer, and it's not (quite) as bad as I feared- as other posters have said, most of the material the test covers is quite basic. In my opinion the trickiest part of the test seems not to be the material, but the whole set up and timings- particularly the 18 seconds per question in the mental arithmetic part. Like all computer-based tests (such as the theory test when you're learning to drive) I think being familiar with the format is half the battle.

    I bought the How to Pass QTS Numeracy and it's a good starter but I find that concepts aren't really explained in great detail or at a simple enough level for people like me who are very rusty! I think the TDA website is actually more useful. I went to my local library and borrowed a book called Work Out Numeracy by Ted Penketh which has really clarified a few things as it assumes a very low level of knowledge and gives you loads of examples and exercises.

    Good luck everyone.
  13. Sorry if this sound fippant, but to give this some persepctive my year 6 class (kids aged 10 and 11) got 5 secs, 10 secs and 15 secs per question in their 20 question mental maths test as part of their SATs and it was read out to them. In fact that is all my Year 4s will get when they do them too.
    These tests are really straighforward. The key is not to panic. You don't have to get 100% so if you miss one or two it doesn't matter. Also their are plenty of practice tests online - Remember the 6 Ps :)
    Prior Planning Prevent P**s Poor Performance ;-)
    Sorry but trainee teachers should be able to pass these tests first time - for crying out loud, everyone is supposed to have a decent degree, and GSCEs in Maths, English (and Science for Primary). If you are planning to teach primary, then you certainly should not struggle with these tests as this should form your basic subject knowledge. I can perhaps understand it for someone teaching Art, or perhaps PE or something like Textiles but even then, as a graduate the command of English language should certainly be good enough to pass the English tests.
    I do think the maths tests cause most anxiety but they really are incredibly straightforward.
  14. Uff! Didn't a lot of Primaries opt out of SATs last year...?

    But honestly, I wasn't suggesting that 18 seconds per question was some kind of impossible feat. I only meant to say that the tests -as you say yourself, bobby_carrot- require preparation if you want to pass first time. You have to understand what the test requires and practice. Just as I'm sure you helped your Y6s to prepare by practicing mental arithmetic beforehand.
    Yes- it's basic material. But if, like me, you're an English graduate who plans to teach at Secondary level, you might not have done any Maths for a long time, and you might be rusty. I know I am and that's why I'm studying carefully. Hopefully I *will* pass first time.
  15. That doesn't really give this any perspective for comparison puposes, unless you also give examples of the problems your year 6 class are expected to solve in 5, 10 and 15 seconds respectively.
  16. I got A* in my maths GCSE and I'm still having to go over all the material in the Skills Tests books. When you haven't done it for a while you become rusty! Good luck to everyone taking them x
  17. Hi All,

    I totally sympathise with those that are concerned with all the QTS tests full stop. I passed my GCSE Maths with extra tuition and was grateful when my maths exams were over. I never imagined I'd have another maths related test and then I chose to become a teacher! I'm a Design Tech GTP with a degree in Graphic Design, where apart from measurements I didn't have to use much more maths.

    Having said all of this, I passed all my QTS tests first time all in one go, on a very stressful Thursday afternoon in the first week of the holidays! There is one VITAL tip I can give, I truly believe this got me through these tests and through all the exams I have taken so far.

    This is to make the most of the review time!!

    I made a number of changes to my answers during this time when completing the numeracy test in particular. This is because my focus was the accuracy of my answers rather than time running out at this stage. My thoughts were clearer and therefore any mistakes I made 'jumped out', and I changed them. It's amazing how when put under pressure with time, we miss read questions and miss read graphs etc. This is the most valuable tip in my opinion. Practice is all very well, but if you don't read the question accurately in the first place, you've got no hope! And when you are nervous it's so easy to miss something.

    I wish everyone much luck. READ THE QUESTION!
  18. Just remember that when doing the mental maths part you can jot down the important information on the white board provided!

    Good luck everyone!
  19. Those of us who are unfamiliar with what 10/11 year olds are expected to be able to handle, might have been hoping for some typical examples. Does GCSE have a timed to the second element? The O level that I took certainly didn't.
  20. Sorry, I was simply trying to point out that they are of a similar level as to what an 11 year old would be expected to handle - in other words, any intelligent adult should be more than capable of answering them.
    In the first section of the test (the xxx seconds per question and you have to listen to the question, rather than read it) they only really test simple arithmetic, ie multiplying/dividing and adding/subtracting. There are some questions in there about fractions or precentages, but if you do your homework you will see that these are just division questions as well. Written down as, for example, 3.25 x 12 nobody would struggle; but when it is dressed up as "you are taking a class of 12 pupils to the cinema. The original price was £4 per ticket but you have agreed a discount of 75p per ticket. What is the total cost of the pupils' tickets?" it suddenly seems a little trickier.
    Which is why the most common advice is to practise the tests, and get used to plucking out the important information and writing those numbers down on the paper or whatever they give you to do your working on. Then you can look at it and say "oh, it's just 12 times 3.25 ... easy!!".
    Hope that makes it a bit clearer.
    And, no, there's no timed (per question) element to the GCSEs - only for the KS2/3 tests which have a similar audio test.

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