Skills Tests for Teaching

We asked our current trainees for their best tips for passing the Skills Tests for Teaching and this is what they came up with. We hope you find them helpful – if you do use them or if you have any of your own, do let us know via Twitter (@TeachingLDN) or email.

Good Luck!

  • I didn’t know we could make notes when doing the skills tests so I did all my practising without! So, keep this in mind but, don’t spend ages making notes as you may lose valuable time.
  • When preparing early on, try one of the online trial tests to get an idea of what the test will be like, but save the others for a lot nearer the time of the real test.
  • Go to YouTube where there are lots of clips of people explaining different ways to approach answering the questions for the teaching skills tests.
  • Check out YouTube; there are plenty of maths geeks who go through the online practice tests with quick ways to solve maths problems and step by step tips in the timed section of the test as well as the main test. I could not have done it without them!
  • Get one of the books with sample questions and find a friend willing to spend a bit of time testing you with sample questions.
  • Many of the maths questions are easy once you spot what you must do. Try converting decimals to fractions, reducing fractions, and moving decimal points.
  • Practise answering as many of the questions as possible without a calculator. The on screen calculator is fiddly and can slow you down where it is not essential; it’s also a good way to work on your mental arithmetic.
  • There are help options for the official online trial skills tests. After you’ve done the test re-do it with this option selected to find out exactly how the correct answer should have been achieved.
  • Deliberately look out for the use of language and punctuation when you are reading.
  • Try to avoid getting too stressed about the tests, so long as you prepare properly you should be able to pass them.
  • If you don’t think you’re ready for the test, postpone it. Bear in mind LDBS ask you to take and pass it in a limited amount of time, don’t waste the 3 chances you have and don’t feel pressured into sitting it; do it in good time but do it when you’re feel absolutely ready to sit it.
  • Practise again, and again, and again! Do the skills tests for teaching papers on the DfE website and don’t panic when you get in to the exam itself.
  • Don’t get too stressed – it’s easy to imagine they are going to be a lot more difficult than they are.
  • The thing most people seem to get worried about is the maths test where a new question is being asked every few seconds. Apart from practising, ask for more than one whiteboard and write notes as the question is being asked so the only thing you have to do (once the timer starts) is answer the question. By the time the timer starts it is quite possible to construct the sum.
  • Avoid taking the maths and literacy skills tests on the same day; too stressful for anyone and the test centre adjudicator verified this, whilst it’s not impossible, it’s a little crazy.
  • Go early in the morning, don’t spend all day stressing about it, my test was at 8am, it was quiet and I was a lot calmer as I could almost talk to myself in an empty room and then it’s over and done with, avoid the weekend if possible.
  • The skills tests for teaching are not as hard as the practice tests; I went on the TES forum pages and hundreds agree, so if you pass a practice test you’re more than equipped to pass.
  • The literacy test is a lot less easy to revise for. Do the practice test to get a feel for the format but if you’re a reader, it’s easier for the spelling, grammar and punctuation section of the test.
  • Practise, practise, practise – has anyone said to practise as much as you can?!
  • Remember, you don’t need to ace the test, you just need to pass!