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Terrified of the numeracy test

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by Hixy, Aug 24, 2018.

  1. Hixy

    Hixy New commenter

    I have my professional skills numeracy test tomorrow and despite practicing I still can't seem to pass the practice papers. I'm no good at maths at the best of times (dyscalculia) but I just seem to freeze up with the mental arithmetic section and there just isn't enough time for me to even process what I have to do, let alone do it.

    It's so frustrating and I don't really see the point of it? I'm going to be an English teacher and the parts of my job where I will have to use maths I'll be able to use a calculator and won't have to answer in 18 seconds anyway?

    I passed the literacy one easily, but I just know I'm going to fail tomorrow.
  2. celago22

    celago22 Occasional commenter

    The point of it is that every teacher has to show a particular standard of Literacy and numeracy as some may have attained their GCSE maths and English years before commencing teacher training.

    You need to pass by 31st August so go there tomorrow and smash it! Just take your time on the second section and pick up the marks there. Good luck!
    Pomza, stickittotheman and pepper5 like this.
  3. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi Hixy

    You may not fail.

    If you fail, you might find it useful to hire a tutor for a few hours who can give you hints, tips and practice the tests with them so they can see where you might be able to pick up speed or do things differently so you pass.

    You have come so far with your studies and you can do it.

    However, if you don't pass, don't go it alone but get professional help by means of an experienced tutor.
  4. celago22

    celago22 Occasional commenter

    I know that this is a bit controversial but I don't think people need a tutor. These tests are really not hard and people should be able to pass them first time. Don't take them until you're ready?
    Pomza and pepper5 like this.
  5. fluffy81212

    fluffy81212 New commenter

    In the maths test you will have a whiteboard and marker pen so just jot down the numbers as it is read out and try to ignore the second read out giving you time to do the sums.

    Secondly don't get stressed if you miss a couple just focus on getting the other part spot on as you have time there to think and check.

    Next don't get wound up about the "why do I need to do this" thing. You need to do it because maths does matter for grading, assessment, etc whatever your subject. Dismissing it is a distraction, you need to do it, if you have the GCSE grade to qualify for teacher training then you can do it, so take a deep breath and go smash it.

    Finally if you have dyscalculia then you might qualify for the modified test that gives you either extra time or the written rather than spoken version of the question.

    Most of all though think positive. Good luck.
    Gsr25 and pepper5 like this.
  6. StarbabyCat

    StarbabyCat New commenter

    Hi I don't post much here anymore but saw your post- if your dyscalculia is diagnosed you will be entitled to extra time and special provision. I took my test in 2013 when I was already on the PGCE and needed to pass to get QTS. My university were very supportive and I was referred to an educational psychologist who diagnosed dyscalculia. I had failed the test twice before by one mark and was on my final try. I had a paper test with no time limit and comfortably passed. I taught history so didn't need to use a lot of maths and if I did I used a calculator!

    Just something to bear in mind if it doesn't work out. Good luck!
    stickittotheman and pepper5 like this.
  7. StarbabyCat

    StarbabyCat New commenter

    Oh and I also had a tutor who was very helpful. My dyscalculia means that I can learn processes but have very little conceptual understanding of maths. The tutor was a good investment.
    Hixy and pepper5 like this.
  8. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    As from February of this year, according to the DFE's web site, there is no limit to the times you can resit the tests.


    Thanks for your post - I am glad a tutor worked out well for you and what you write about getting extra support is most useful. I always recommend getting a tutor - the tutor as I said before will give hints and tips and work through the practice papers.

    Anyone needing extra information, Google Department for Education Professional Skills Test and the link will come up with their site giving all the details on what to do if you need extra support.
  9. celago22

    celago22 Occasional commenter

    How did you get on, Hixy?
    Hixy, Flanks and pepper5 like this.
  10. Hixy

    Hixy New commenter

    Thanks all!

    I managed to pass in the end, I nearly fainted when I realised! The questions were significantly easier than the practice ones (which my husband, an economist and maths grad, thought were rather difficult!). I have no idea how much I passed by because I definitely froze up a few times, but at least it's over.

    As for the comments about needing to do it - I understand that maths needs to be used for calculating grade averages and such, but I don't understand why there needs to be a section where you have just a few seconds to do it, and why you wouldn't have access to a calculator. It seems completely behind the times.
    pepper5 and fluffy81212 like this.
  11. fluffy81212

    fluffy81212 New commenter

    First up awesome news well done.

    On that second bit yes I definately agree with that. I found it challenging and unless your subject uses maths or your primary then mental arithmatic is probably less useful.
    pepper5 and Hixy like this.
  12. celago22

    celago22 Occasional commenter

    Aww, congratulations! Well it's like any test really, when has anyone used Pythagorus' theorem in real life?!
    pepper5 and Hixy like this.
  13. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    Have you bought anything with a monitor lately?
  14. celago22

    celago22 Occasional commenter

    That's the point. The way these things are taught means that we learn them for an exam rather than their practical application.
    Hixy likes this.
  15. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Well done hixy. Many congratulations on passing.
    Hixy and celago22 like this.
  16. nisha_patel2

    nisha_patel2 New commenter

    I have my maths skills test in just under a month (putting it off as much as possible!) and I am absolutely bricking it. It's comforting, reading this thread, to know that there are others out there who find this as daunting as myself and who are just as frustrated as I am over having to do it in the first place and over how fast paced the test is. I am becoming a Drama teacher and have no intention whatsoever of ever being in a situation (in school or otherwise) where I do not have access to a calculator (probably on my phone/ laptop!). This test is maddeningly behind-the-times, and I'm absolutely DREADING it. :( Having to re-learn everything I erased from my memory after school is NOT my idea of fun, and putting this amount of pressure on everyone who wants to become a teacher must be off-putting for a significant number of people!
    pepper5 likes this.
  17. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    Glad to hear it.
  18. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi nisha

    If you can possibly afford it, you might want to get a maths tutor who has experience of helping people prepare for the test. Perhaps three or four sessions just to help you on what you are weak on.

    Sending you prayers and hugs since I know how you feel.
  19. TheOneTonBun

    TheOneTonBun New commenter

    I'm nearing the end of the PGCE now and the skills tests just fit with the general theme of tripwire tests that don't appear to have anything to do with teaching. None of them are particularly difficult, it's just there are so many inevitably you faceplant and are left on your own while you try and pick yourself up.

    Learning to accept this uncertainty will stand you in better stead for the PGCE than acing the test will (you never see the grade anyway).

    You can have unlimited goes so just do your best and don't go in with any pressure to pass. You can only prepare and do your best on the day. If that isn't enough then you can try again.

    What I will say is that my numeracy test was extremely easy compared to the practice tests. I forget all the nonsense about charity laps and things but the hardest mental question was something like:

    "Multiply £20 by 3, multiply that by 4, then divide the total in half."

    The graph questions had about 5 data points on them and I had ages of time left when I hit submit.

    It does seem that they occasionally hit people with tough ones, probably just to prove that people fail sometimes.

    In terms of stress, I took my literacy and numeracy test together, 10 days before the course started, 2 weeks after being made redundant (I almost cried when the woman told me I had passed), so if a pressure averse maths-phobe like me can that and pass then you definitely can.
  20. adeniyisara

    adeniyisara New commenter

    I'm due to take the numeracy test on Saturday 22/6 and am dreading it. I've done all the 4 DFE tests and scored over 75% on each of the tests papers, of course after many trials. But each time I think of the test day, my heart skips. I have spent the last 3 weeks preparing after 2 failed attempts. I hope the questions won't be too difficult. Any suggestions you can render would be helpful.

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