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Secondary PGCE Maths - what maths questions at interview

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by piyr9754, Jun 29, 2011.

  1. Hi - I have an interview at Reading next week for secondary PGCE in Maths. This will apparently involve an in-depth maths test. can anyone advise as to what would be good preparation for this test and what sorts of maths questions I would be asked?
  2. DM

    DM New commenter

    I understand there is a big section on tensor calculus.
  3. googolplex

    googolplex Occasional commenter

    As you can see from DM's response, you're going to get pretty short shrift on this forum from such a request. If you don't feel confident with your own maths, when facing a maths interview process which is designed to decide on your ability to teach the subject, well then the consequences are quite obvious.
    The internet is packed full with information about the curriculum. It isn't hugely different from what you would have experienced at school. Do your own research!
  4. Clearly the wording of my question was insufficient. I am fairly comfortable with my applied maths (but tensors...far too close to physics for my comfort I?m afraid). Having done some research (yes really) I am trying to establish whether it is actual mathematical ability that will be tested or the ability to communicate mathematical ideas, simplify and explain the more complicated mathematical concepts and trace and manage errors in calculations. The two are different and would call for a different approach to preparation.

    Having waited for Reading to re-open entry on gttr I have only a few days to prepare now that I have received notice of an interview from the university. I am therefore trying to access every avenue of help and information that I can in a short space of time while juggling the needs of a young family. None of this is your problem but it is why I have asked for help and continue to hope for a helpful response - as would any new poster on this forum.
  5. Rubbish
    Candidates have to work out if 12 months rent, gas, electricity and water, 365 days of food, 190 days of travel and 4 quartely prescriptions of prozac fit into £9000. If the answer is "I havent thought about it" then you get the place.
  6. ...and on top of this you have made yourself aux fait with the typical KS/4 and post 16 syllabus and are able to give examples of the maths taught at school I assume?
    If so you will know the level the kids work is pitched at which may give you some idea of where things may go in terms of what you are expected to be able to teach aswell as know.
    Depending of the sector, the 'old school nature' of the ITT provider and the candidates you may get some real maths but its more likely you will be expected to explain topics rather than smashing out post grad level maths
  7. DM

    DM New commenter

    I was being facetious piyr9754. If you can cope with the content of GCSE mathematics then I suspect you have nothing to fear from this test.
    It is unusual to assess subject knowledge at all in a PGCE interview. The normal thinking is that the PGCE year provides time for you to bring yourself up to speed.
  8. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    Initial Teacher Training (ITT) providers are required to satisfy themselves you have the basic subject knowledge. They do this through a combination of looking at your qualifications, and some sort of interview and selection test.
    Typically you'll get asked to do a GCSE Higher paper in informal "exam conditions". Then you are likely to be asked how you might explain some topic from the GCSE to a class.
    They might want to see you with kids which is likely to mean you going into a partner school and being with a class to see how you get on - perhaps helping out during an activity.
  9. DM

    DM New commenter

    My local providers do not assess subject knowledge Paul (my sample size is admittedly only two). Both do insist on a written English test to ensure the applicants can spell, use sentences and paragraphs and can respond to a text.
  10. During my PGCE interview last year they required everyone there to sit a literacy and numeracy test. It was very simple. If it is the same as LJMU then it was the same test that all applicants there sat, this included, maths, science, design tech, food tech and a couple of other subjects. I then went off to an interview with only the maths applicants were we had to present something we would teach to a secondary class and how we would go about teaching it.
    If it is the same as the one I sat, it is not a test to examine your deep mathematical knowledge but that you can add, subtract, do fractions and percentages - bascially the things you'd find on the QTS skills tests. It was honestly nothing to worry about.
    Although I will say, doing the maths test as a prospective maths student did apply a bit of pressure of getting all ten questions correct. But I also felt pressure doing the English test as that's what' my degree is based in (I'm an SKE'r). I think you'll be okay.
  11. Is the topic of Presentation given?
    If not any idea what common topics are likely to come up for Presentation and group interview.Thanks
  12. Many thanks for all your replies. Very valuable in particular to understand Reading is considered more traditional in approach and that demonstrating how to teach a given topic is likely. The information package has given no real details and as there is no formal presentation requirement I will instead prepare for a short teaching demonstration. Much appreciated.
  13. HI,
    I am in the same situation as you. I got my pgce-secondary maths, nterview at chichester uni next week. Can you please advice me what to expect at the maths test? I am very much worried.Am good up to higher GCSE. but a bit unrevised with some topics of A levels. Please give me some information. It would be great help. Would be really appreciated. Thanks a lot.
  14. MathsMum5

    MathsMum5 New commenter

    Hi zain37

    If you've read all the previous posts you'll realise that ITT providers all do their own thing so you can't get a definitive answer unless someone has gone through a Chichester interview. At mine I had some basic differentiation and integration, solving quadratics and sketching graphs of a quadratic including tp. Can't remember much else but it was a while ago now. Basically, easy AS level type questions. Good luck next week, let us know how you get on.
  15. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    I suggest that you try a GCSE Higher paper and, if that goes OK, some AS level stuff - a C1 and a C2 from the same board, perhap. The former would probably be enough to get onto a PGCE course; I am not sure that I could have done an A level peper of any kind when I started training as it was a long time since my degree.
  16. I remember being given what was described as a "challenging but doable" assignment by my ITT provider. It was only the latter.
    I also remember them converting 10/10 on the assignment to 75%. I worry that they are still in charge of maths ITT provision.
  17. I occassionally served as 'one of our school partners' on the panel for PGCE Maths interviews at a University that would consider itself an elite university.
    The interview day had various sections which took place on a rota - individual interview; 5 minute presentation on anything of personal interest in front of the other applicants followed by Q&A; - a mathematical investigation taking around 40 minutes and then candidates were put in groups of 3 and asked to discuss how they found the task, how they approached it; who might it be suitable for etc.
    The interview included a bit of 'live' maths 'teaching' such as "A student has said that 2/3 + 1/7 = 3/10. How would you go about addressing this?" Just using these to see how the candidate's mind works rather than a right/wrong answer.
    There was no doing maths to check ability of candidates (that was done through qualifications etc.) - it was much more about personality and 'robustness'.
  18. IMO
    Anyone applying to do a Maths PGCE should have started subject knowledge development at the time of application or well in advance and certainly not fear questions asked at interview.
    I really feel there are too many people going into teaching who are not fit for the job. I believe all existing teachers who have KS4 groups should be fluent certainly in C1/C2 and have a passion to drive kids onto A Level from GCSE where appropriate.
    Being concerned about the questions you may get asked about the job you are being paid to do IMO suggests the person is not suitable.
    I await the first "Im not sure I can pass the maths QTS test" from a teacher to be.

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