Passing the skills tests

Passing the skills tests

You have to pass the professional skills tests in numeracy and literacy before you begin your teacher training. You can only take the tests up to three times and you have to pay for resits, so it’s important to make sure you’re fully prepared. 

Booking the tests

When you’re ready, you’ll need to book your tests with learndirect. The website will give you the five nearest centres to your chosen location, though if you are able to take the tests elsewhere you can include alternative locations – see the full list of learndirect test centres (including 9 in London). Do keep checking the website for the latest availability though, 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 – but do let your university or school know, and inform them when you do take the tests.

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.

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

Taking the tests

Your first attempt at each test is free of charge. If you don’t pass within three attempts, you will need to wait 24 months before you can book any further tests – this would mean starting the teacher training application process again, so make sure you have plenty of time to revise in advance.

Don’t worry – there’s lots of support available to help you get ready. This includes the practice literacy materials and practice numeracy materials.

Remember, you’ll need to take proof of your application for a teacher training course with you to your skills tests. The evidence that will be accepted is as follows:

  • a welcome letter from a teacher training organisation, for example UCAS Teacher Training 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

When you’re ready, you’ll need to book your tests with learndirect using the skills tests booking website.

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, or make special arrangements.

If you experience any difficulties, call learndirect’s helpline on 0300 303 9613 (available 8am to 4pm Monday to Friday), or email

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

Watch this video for helpful tips on getting into teaching, from real trainees and experienced teachers. Transcript (PDF, 118KB)

I now have job security, opportunities for quick progression, new skills and a postgraduate qualification.

Sarah Fisher, newly qualified physics teacher

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