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Passing the professional skills tests

You have to pass the professional skills tests in numeracy and literacy before you begin your teacher training. You’ll have unlimited attempts at resitting the skills test, with over 80% of candidates passing both literacy and numeracy skills test on their first attempt. The key to passing is plenty of preparation and practice.

Test changes  

On the 14 February 2018, the Department for Education announced changes to the professional skills tests, these changes included: unlimited resits of the tests, with the first three numeracy and literacy attempts free of charge and the removal of the lock-out period that previously prevented candidates who were unsuccessful after three attempts from re-taking tests for two years. For more information, visit GOV.UK.

Preparing for the tests

There’s plenty of support available to help you get ready for the tests from the STA website, which includes:  

Booking the tests

You’ll need to book your skills test via learndirect, you can:

  • book your tests once you’ve submitted you teacher training application
  • book in advance of submitting your application, but you’ll need to have submitted your application by the time you sit your tests 
  • take the tests after receiving a conditional offer if this is offered by the training provider

Register with UCAS Teacher Training to make a start on your application. You don’t need to complete it all at once – you can save your progress and sign back in any time. 

Find out more information on how to book, cancel or reschedule a test via the STA website. Don’t be late to the test centre – arrive at least 20 minutes before your test start time. 

Please note, your first 3 attempts at the numeracy and literacy skills test are provided free of charge. If you cancel your third free test within 3 days of your test date, you’ll need to pay for your next attempt.

Important documentation for the tests

As well as providing 2 forms of identification at the test centre, you’ll also need to take proof of your teacher training application with you. The evidence that will be accepted includes:

  • an email from UCAS Teacher Training Track or Teach First
  • email correspondence from a teacher training organisation
  • correspondence from a school or training provider
  • a copy of a completed application form
  • confirmation of, or an invitation to, an interview from a teacher training organisation, training provider or school

Special arrangements

If English isn’t your first language or you have different needs to other candidates – such as a hearing or visual impairment, a physical disability, or dyslexia – you can ask for special arrangements to be made or additional time in your tests. You’ll need to make your request in advance and ensure you supply any stipulated evidence to prove you require special arrangements – find out more.

Related content 

Read how a newly qualified teacher prepared for the skills test 

Upcoming events

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Train to Teach Newcastle

30 June 2018 10:00

This event in Newcastle will give you the chance to ask experts about your teacher training options and what it’s like to teach.

Newcastle upon Tyne

Preparing for your teacher training

25 June 2018 18:30

If you've been offered a teacher training place, this online session will answer your questions on how best to prepare for your teacher training.

Gaining school experience for primary teachers

27 June 2018 12:00

This online event will provide advice on gaining school experience for those interested in primary teaching. It will offer helpful hints and tips on gaining and making the most of your primary school experience and it's relevance to your UCAS application.

Teaching a STEM subject and SKE

02 July 2018 18:30

Teaching is a great way of making your knowledge in a STEM subject count. We’ll help you with your routes into teaching and how subject knowledge enhancement (SKE) can help build up or refresh your subject knowledge before you commence your teacher training.