Getting ready for the skills test

Photo of teacher providing tips on skills test

Most of us get nervous about tests, but practice and preparation is the key. We asked newly qualified teacher, James, to share how he prepared for his professional skills test. 

Practise, practise, practise!

"I made use of the practice papers online to test myself and check where I was going wrong. It’s definitely a good idea for applicants to revise from a higher-level GCSE revision guide to brush up on core skills and knowledge. You can never be too prepared."

Keep calm

"Don’t stress or worry about them as you do have three attempts. They are a necessary hurdle to overcome, but you must revise. The majority of people are more than capable, and it’s just a case of making sure you refresh your knowledge on numeracy and literacy."


"I also found it helpful to attend a university careers service. This is where I had the opportunity to talk directly to current trainees, so I could hear first-hand what the skills tests were really like, and get useful hints and tips."

Book the tests

"I think the ‘best’ time to take the test varies from person to person and each person’s individual situation. I took the tests after receiving my conditional offer – I felt I had enough to do with interview preparation without having to worry about the skills tests, so I made sure I prepared for my interview first, and then I set aside time to focus on them. But you can complete the tests once you’ve submitted your application."

I took my tests on two separate days, so I could stagger my work and balance my other work commitments.

The skills tests for prospective teachers assess the core skills that teachers need to fulfil their professional role in schools, rather than the subject knowledge needed for teaching. This is to ensure all teachers are competent in numeracy and literacy, regardless of their specialism. Through practise, both numeracy and literacy can be improved.