Passing the numeracy skills test isn’t just a case of being able to answer the questions correctly, with the mental arithmetic section in particular, it’s a test of whether you can answer the questions correctly and quickly.

Before you even think about booking in for the QTS numeracy test, make sure you prepare yourself properly.

1. Borrow or buy a GCSE Maths textbook. I would recommend getting a Higher tier book. The questions in the Foundation tier books may not be quite challenging enough to prepare you properly.
2. Print off a copy of the test content information from the Department for Education website
3. Use the test content information as a checklist for the topics you need to revise
4. As you work through the topics, make sure you look at related sections of the book. For example, the test content lists ‘measurements, eg distance, area, so related topics would include calculations involving volume, miles per gallon, km per litre, average speed, journey time etc
5. The topics listed under Mental arithmetic are especially important because you don’t have much time to answer the questions in this section, and you have no control over the speed the questions are asked. Practice answering questions on these topics without a calculator, and think carefully about the quickest method to use.
6. Measurements and conversions are included in the Mental arithmetic section. Make sure you know and understand how to convert between metric and imperial units, and how to convert between fractions, decimals and percentages
7. Make sure you know your times tables, preferably including 11 and 12. Knowing your tables well can save you precious seconds in the test, especially the mental arithmetic section
8. Practice working with data, especially two way tables, bar charts, pie charts and box plots. You need to able to quickly assess the data in a question and know how to fill in any gaps or use the data to calculate means, means of differences, etc
9. Once you have worked through the full list of content, it’s time to try an online practice test.
10. If you can do the practice tests without any difficulty, and you’re feeling confident then you’re ready to take the QTS numeracy test. If not, you’ll know where the problem areas are now.

For many people, the biggest issue is the lack of time in the mental arithmetic section. If that’s where you have trouble, there are two things you need to look at:

•  Make sure you know all the topics listed in the test content well, so that you can very quickly work out what the question is asking
• Have a look at mental arithmetic strategies. You need to know a good range of mental maths techniques, and be able to spot straight away the quickest way to do the calculation

Been practicing or revising with friends? Don’t forget there are usually several different mental maths methods for any particular sum. What your friends find the quickest method may not be the one that’s quickest for you. Find what works for you.

If, after revising all the topics listed in the test content, and revising mental maths strategies, you still don’t feel confident then consider getting some extra help. Your tutor may be able to help. If not, a few hours of individual tuition may be all you need.

For those of you in the Oxofrd area, I can offer individual tuition which will improve your knowledge, improve your mental maths techniques and give you the confidence you need to pass the QTS numeracy test. If you are interested in tuition, check out the FAQsEmail me or give me a call .