Preparing for the professional skills tests

If you’re applying for teacher training for 2019, you must pass the professional skills tests in numeracy and literacy before you begin your training. A new approach for assessing numeracy and literacy will be introduced for teacher training starting in 2020 - further information will be available before UCAS applications open for the new academic year.

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 PSI, 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

You’ll have unlimited attempts at resitting the skills test, with almost 80% of candidates passing both literacy and numeracy skills test on their first attempt. The key to passing is plenty of preparation and practice.

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.

STA marking scheme error

The Standards and Testing Agency (STA) has identified an error in the marking scheme for one of the literacy skills tests for teacher training. They are aware that this has caused at least a small number of candidates to fail when they should have passed.

Candidates who the Standards and Testing Agency know have failed their literacy test due to the error will be contacted.

If you have taken a literacy skills test since 2014 and would like to check if this issue has affected you, you can contact the skills test helpline by emailing

Related content 

Read how a newly qualified teacher prepared for the skills test