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QTS Skills tests-numeracy

(31 Posts)
historysock Wed 10-Jul-19 11:09:45

Hi,
I'm in the middle of the process of applying for PGCE to start September-schools direct (secondary school-History). Interview next week.
I'm ok (ish) about the interview-but I looked on some of the practice tests for numeracy last night-which if successful at interview I will need to pass before September and oh my goodness! They seem so hard!! This is a career change for me-I haven't done Maths like that since 1996 and even then I had to resit my Maths GCSE after only getting a D first time around (came out with the required C). Box and Whisker diagram anyone? Algebra? Fractions into decimals. Long division 🤷🏽‍♀️
I honestly think I have no chance of passing this bloody test sad. The literacy one seems reasonable-but the Maths!!
Has anyone done these recently? Was it as hard as it seems? And what are the best resources to use-even the advice on how best to prepare is confusing!

OP’s posts: |
QueenofCBA Wed 10-Jul-19 17:11:37

There are practice books out there, my training school actually recommended one, I can’t remember the title, though. There are also practice questions online.

You will have to practise for the test, I found the timed mental maths part really hard. I actually paid my dc’s primary school teacher for a tutoring session!

stdmumihope Wed 10-Jul-19 18:29:14

I did mine a few weeks ago. I only had a few days notice and used the practice tests online. You can also find videos on YouTube with excellent explanations and shortcuts to look out for. I pretty much spent the whole day practising the day before. I passed. The actual test was possibly a bit easier than the practices, but I think they rotate them. Just keep doing the online practice test and you will get quicker and tuned in to the maths you need to use. Practice tests also have explanations in case you are stuck. Good luck!

SkaTastic Wed 10-Jul-19 20:22:15

I did mine a few weeks ago and passed first time. Honestly the real test was much easier than the practice ones!! You just need to practice practice practice. There are loads of videos on YouTube with top tips and the DfE website has practice papers.

I wept almost daily at the thought of doing it and was fine. Now I'm crying over my maths equivalency test tomorrow FML!

AnnaFiveTowns Wed 10-Jul-19 20:28:41

I did mine about a year ago and felt like you. I'd got my offer on the pgce and then when I looked at the maths test I thought I'd never pass it. Anyway, I spent about a month working through the practice books and I ended up passing first time. The good thing now is that you can take it as many times as you need to so there is no longer any pressure in that respect. Just get some books and keep.on working through them until you feel ready.

CanILeavenowplease Wed 10-Jul-19 21:54:21

Check with the uni you are working with - the one I went to (albeit some 7 years or so ago) had a tutor working free of charge several mornings a week to help people. I also got myself a tutor - did about 10 hours with him and a further 10 hours with the uni one and passed first time. Box and whisper diagrams were new to me too!

Chillijamntuna Wed 10-Jul-19 22:45:12

I spent an entire summer being tutored through it and passed first time (with. 2 GCSE D grades behind me!)
If you practise often (really often) you’ll be fine.
The test itself doesn’t give you nasty questions.

historysock Thu 11-Jul-19 06:40:33

I'm going to download the QTS maths tutor package I think-and try and teach myself maths. And I will look for a tutor in my area.Just really worried as I don't have a lot of time-it's nearly August already and I'm away for two weeks of that...plus I've still got a full time job and kids to deal with.
Why do they make it so needlessly hard? I don't understand why you need anymore than very basic maths if you aren't going to be teaching actual Maths itself? It seems much harder than the literacy which actually you'd think was more universally needed 🤷🏽‍♀️

OP’s posts: |
historysock Thu 11-Jul-19 06:42:43

I've looked a few practice questions and they are making me worse as I just think 'I have no idea how to answer that'. Lots of revision needed!

OP’s posts: |
Pangur2 Thu 11-Jul-19 06:44:20

You need to be able to do quite a lot of data crunching as a secondary school teacher, especially if you end up being HoD at some stage. All the percentage/ fraction stuff does get used.
I had never seen a box and whisker graph in my life, however.

historysock Thu 11-Jul-19 07:30:09

I'm a social work team manager now and also have to do a lot of data crunching and budget stuff.
I never do it without a calculator or an excel speed sheet however-it just seems odd to me that teach history you need to be able to do long division and algebra in your head shock.
I read that something like 2000 people have failed this test in the last two years. When there is a dearth of teachers it seems a bit mad to make the test so hard that it excludes people who would never need to know half the stuff in the test again!

Still no point in moaning I know-it is what it is-will just have to try and muddle through it. Not confident though sad

OP’s posts: |
floraloctopus Thu 11-Jul-19 07:34:42

If you pm me an email address I have a document I wrote which will help you.

CanILeavenowplease Thu 11-Jul-19 11:48:23

If you’re getting a tutor, you could try and find a current maths PGCE student as they will understand the content (and probably be glad of the money over the summer).

noblegiraffe Thu 11-Jul-19 12:17:49

If you think you need to do long division in your head then you’re probably using the wrong method. There are questions on the mental test which are easy if you know the mental method but not if you don’t.

E.g. convert 7/25 to a percentage in your head is awful if the method you know is 7 divided by 25 multiplied by 100.

But if you know to do 7/25 multiply top and bottom by 4 is 28/100 so 28% is easy.

Make sure you read up on the tricks.

floraloctopus Thu 11-Jul-19 15:19:36

The document I wrote is all the tricks with worked examples, anybody who needs it can have it.

Jayblue Thu 11-Jul-19 15:28:17

Yes, part of it is knowing all the right tricks to do things quickly. There's a really good YouTube video for this. You are also expected to know basic conversion by heart and to be able to half an double numbers quickly.

Personally, I didn't think the qts tests were too hard, and I do think it's important for all teachers to be able to model good numeracy skills in the classroom (where you won't always have a calculator to hand).

Katy012 Thu 11-Jul-19 15:56:12

Hi there,
I was in the same position as you, I also did my maths GCSE in 1996,and had to retake it! Math's has always been my worst thing and when I found out I had to do the skills test I thought there is no way I'll pass!! I got a book which goes through everything you need to know and kept reading it and then doing the practice tests online. The test is split into 2 parts, mental arithmetic and interpreting data eg looking at graphs and answering questions about them. I found the mental arithmetic really hard, especially with the time limit, so I concentrated on learning all the interpreting data. That meant that if you get all of that section correct, plus one or two of the mental arithmetic ones,then you passed.
You get 3 goes at the test free(you can do as many as you like but have to pay). I passed third time. If I can do it then anyone can, so don't give up hope and good luck!

Conflicted121 Thu 11-Jul-19 18:21:11

My test was much harder than the practice ones. There were questions that never came up in practice but I still passed first time. My top tips:

1. Some questions are long winded but the calculations are often simple. Practice your times table as much as possible. Often the question will be a perfect multiple. Eg. French Teacher has 2 hours and 15 minutes a day to do speaking tests on students. Each test expected to last 15 minutes, how many students can teacher test a day?

2) I had a lot of area test and distance questions on mine which did not come up on the government practice so make sure you check that.

3) most questions on the mental maths, you will be able to simplify. It will be find 15% of something where you can work out the 10% first easily and then the 5%

4) learn your fraction/decimals/percentages eg: 1/8 is 12.5% This really helps as you may get a question that asks states that 2/8 of the class passed an exam and to put that into a percentage.

5) remember that an hour is 60 minutes, 2 hours is 120 and so on up to 5 hours. It saves time on the time questions. Also a bit silly but remember that an hour is 3 lots of 20. I got caught out so many times working out my answer to something but then using 100 rather than 60 and getting the answer wrong.

cassgate Thu 11-Jul-19 20:10:37

I am a ta and much of the content that has been discussed so far on this thread comes up in the year 6 sats papers.

CheesecakeAddict Thu 11-Jul-19 20:16:35

I subscribed to Numeracy Ready and that is worth the money. The tests are hard depending on your weak areas; I had about 5 questions on currency conversion, and that was my weak area. I still passed though.
I also agree that it's a bigger ballache than it needs to be; I would never organise a trip, work out percentage grades etc without a spreadsheet to work it out for me

LolaSmiles Thu 11-Jul-19 20:17:51

Why do they make it so needlessly hard? I don't understand why you need anymore than very basic maths if you aren't going to be teaching actual Maths itself?
In my opinion, it's not needlessly hard. It's basic functional numeracy for the job.

When I did my skills test the questions involved:
Reading data from a table
Reading graphs
Working how how much a trip would cost per pupil (generally round numbers too)
Working out fractions/decimals/percentages

Personally, I think it's a fairly reasonable standard of numeracy to expect people to have. Unfortunately, whilst most people would be embarrassed to admit to being illiterate, it's seen as being socially acceptable to 'not do numbers' and 'be rubbish at maths'. As for why keep the test 'so hard' when there's a shortage, it's already hard enough to get decent teachers without saying people can teach being essentially illiterate and innumerate.

To prepare, there's some mock tests online you can do and the skills test preparation books are good too. It's just going to be a case of working through the basic skills to refresh yourself.

Good luck.

BringOnTheScience Thu 11-Jul-19 22:49:58

It's not hard. It's different techniques. I had to relearn maths when I did my PGCE.
Eg, we were given 602-198=... I dutifully wrote out the column subtraction, borrowed, etc. Then 600-200 and correct for rounding was pointed out. Modern naths teaching is so much simpler and more logical.

Apart ftom box & whisker... they exist only in QTS tests!

historysock Thu 11-Jul-19 23:20:47

Thankyou floral, I will message you. smile
And to everyone else for tips.
I have my interview on Tuesday and have booked tests (prospectively-if interview doesn't go well then it won't matter anyway) for end of first week in August..so three weeks or so to hit the books hard smile

OP’s posts: |
historysock Fri 12-Jul-19 12:14:13

I see on the news this morning that they government is planning on ditching these tests as they are 'needlessly complex' and 'contributing to the teacher shortage'. Which is great news except that it will take them three years to phase Them it as they have a contract with the test provider. Coincidentally that's probably as long as it will take me to pass the maths 😂.

OP’s posts: |
floraloctopus Fri 12-Jul-19 14:02:22

When I find the file (just searching through my stuff now) I'll send it over- I've got to scan the papers.

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