Professional skills tests
The QTS Skills Tests also known as the professional skills tests are made up of a numeracy and literacy exam that all prospective teachers have to pass to demonstrate you are competent in Maths and English regardless of your academic background. You have to pass both the literacy and numeracy skills tests in order to achieve qualified teacher status. There are many teachers out there who haven’t achieved this and do not get recognised for the work they do in terms of pay or progression so QTS is certainly something you should achieve.
Now the QTS Skills Tests are a minimum requirement in order to be accepted on to initial teacher training courses. All initial teacher training providers will set you a deadline by which the professional skills tests have to be passed and failure to pass them within the timescales set by your initial teacher training provider (ITT) will result in you losing your place on the training course. For the specific deadline set, you should speak to your ITT who will give you their exact requirements. ITT's may be strict about how quickly you need to pass the test.
QTS Skills Test Numeracy
The numeracy skills test is usually considered the more difficult of the two tests and the statistics nationally do reflect this. More people fail the QTS Maths test on their first attempt and more fail all three attempts in comparison to the literacy skills test.
The QTS Maths Test is composed of 28 questions split into two distinct sections. The first section is the mental arithmetic section which many people find difficult due to the timing aspect. You only get 18 seconds after the second repeat of the question in order to submit your answer. You can’t use a calculator and you can’t go back to the questions in the mental arithmetic section. The second section is the written section which is composed of graph and data questions including topics such as cumulative frequency curves and box plots. There are 12 questions in the mental arithmetic section and 16 in the written data part.
QTS Skills Test Literacy
The literacy skills test can be quite a tricky test if you haven't studied English as an academic subject say at GCSE or at a higher level for a while. The test consists of 4 sections which will test you on spelling, grammar, punctuation and understanding of basic sentence structures.
The spelling section is worth 10 marks, punctuation 15 marks, the grammar section can vary between 10-12 marks as can the comprehension section which is the last section. Therefore the literacy skills test is out of 41-49 marks depending on which test you sit on the day. This makes calculation of a literacy skills test pass mark quite tricky which is why a percentage is always better.
The spelling part of the test is completed via headphones with each question read out and your answer completed via the onscreen box. The spellings can be English pr American versions of the words. For the punctuation part of the exam you will have to insert punctuation into a passage of text where you think it should go. The onscreen counter tells you how many pieces of punctuation should be in the passage. After you have used the number of expected pieces of punctuation you will not be able to add anymore so if you use them up before getting to the end of the text you know you have made an error somewhere. You will be able to go back and amend bits if you wish too. As part of the grammar section you will have to identify sentences and text that has poor grammar or doesn't make sense within the context it is in.
Until recently there have been very few literacy skills test resources out there that have been useful to use in preparation for the QTS exam; however recently new Literacy Skills Practice Tests have been published on the literacy skills test site and these are in the same format as the real exam. We highly recommend using these practice tests over any other resource including literacy skills books.
Before taking your professional QTS skills tests...
Revise using practice materials available from the Department for Education’s website including literacy practice materials as well as QTS Maths Tutors literacy skills test revision. You can also access the 21 numeracy skills tests available from their site.
Ensure you book your test for a time when you are not likely to be tired or in a hurry or have to cancel at the last minute. Reducing stress levels so that you can concentrate on the content of the professional skills tests is essential. Try to practise tests at home in exam conditions so you get use to the time pressure of both QTS Skills Tests.
Make sure you feel confident and don't just take your first attempt as a practise; prepare effectively for it and try and pass both QTS Skills Tests first time. Although there is no lock out period, those candidates who fail the professional qts skills tests multiple times will be more likely to lose their places on training programmes simply due to the deadlines set.
If you need help preparing for your professional skills test then please ask for it.
Professional Skills Tests Information
QTS Skills Tests FAQ's
What are the professional skills test pass marks?
The pass mark for QTS Skills Tests vary but are usually as follows:
The numeracy skills test pass mark is around 18 out of 28.
The literacy skills test pass mark is approximately 60%.
It should be noted that the actual pass marks for the professional skills tests do vary depending on the difficulty of the questions that appear in the test. If you have difficult questions, the pass mark will fall and vice versa.
What help can I get with my QTS Skills Test?
You can contact learndirect for help with booking your test via the following contact details
Telephone: 0300 303 9613
You can visit the Department for Education website for more information
Which is the harder of the two QTS Skills Tests?
This depends on the individual but generally more people fail the numeracy skills test which would suggest on the whole that this is the trickier of the two professional skills tests.
What QTS Skills Book or professional skills test book would you recommend?
There are many professional skills books out there to choose from. For a more in depth review of the top 10 numeracy skills books visits QTS Maths Tutor.
Where can I find free professional skills test revision materials?
QTS Maths Tutor provide a free numeracy skills test. You can also access free literacy skills test materials form a dedicated page on the same site. We recommend that you also use the free government tests but that you don't just rely on these as they are a few years out of date and there are more up to date professional skills test materials out there.
In addition to the numeracy skills revision materials you can also access resources for the professional literacy skills test. We recommend using the practice tests on the http://literacyskillstest.co.uk/ website.