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.

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. From 14 February, these changes include: 

  • unlimited resits of the tests
  • the first three numeracy and literacy attempts will be free of charge – with refunds for anyone who has paid for tests on or since 24 October 2017
  • 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

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

View all events

Train to Teach Doncaster

17 April 2018 16:30

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


Train to Teach Derby

02 May 2018 16:30

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


Train to Teach University of Greenwich

24 May 2018 16:00

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


Application Workshop London South

24 March 2018 10:00

Whether you’re just getting started on your application, or are close to submitting it, you will find lots of help and support at our application workshops.