Passing the professional skills tests

You have to pass the professional skills tests in numeracy and literacy before you begin your teacher training. Almost 90% passed both skills tests in 2015/16 - the key to successfully passing is plenty of preparation and practice.

Preparing for and taking the tests

There’s lots of support available to help you get ready, including practice literacy and numeracy materials. You can complete a fully interactive online test; simply follow the instructions on the page and use this activation key: jhULiqgX

The Department for Education have recently announced changes to the professional skills tests. Changes will take place on 14 February 2018 and include: 

  • Candidates will be able to take unlimited resits
  • The two year lock out period will be removed, allowing those previously locked out to resit the tests
  • The first three numeracy and the first three literacy test attempts will be free of charge to candidates who sat the tests on or after 24 October 2017

More information can be found here. 

Booking the tests

You’ll need to book your tests with learndirect  – find out more information via the STA website.

Once you're ready to take the tests, the learndirect website will give you the five nearest centres to your chosen location, though if you are able to take the tests elsewhere, for instance if you’re away from home visiting friends and family, you could widen your search by looking at alternative locations – view the full list of test centres including 9 in London, 1 in Paris and 1 in Madrid (XLS document). Do keep checking the website for the latest availability, as additional test slots are made available on a regular basis.

If you have a conditional offer and have not yet booked your tests, don’t worry – book your tests and inform your training provider when you do take the tests.

Don’t be late – get to the test centre at least 20 minutes before your appointment

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.

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

For a full overview and additional information about the tests, please visit the Department for Education’s dedicated skills tests pages. You can also find out how to book, cancel, or reschedule a test. Please note, if you cancel a test within 3 days of the test day, you’ll need to pay for the next attempt. If you experience any difficulties, call learndirect’s helpline on 0300 303 9613 (available 8am to 4pm Monday to Friday), or email

Related content 

Read how a newly qualified teacher prepared for the skills test 

Take two forms of ID and your booking confirmation to the test centre

Upcoming events

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Train to Teach Blackpool

27 February 2018 16:30

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


Train to Teach Bristol

28 February 2018 16:30

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


Train to Teach Leicester

01 March 2018 16:30

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


Train to Teach Bournemouth

06 March 2018 16:30

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