Skills Test Survival Guide


Skills Tests have to be passed before you can enrol on to any initial teacher training course that gives you Qualified Teacher Status. So with September on the horizon, here are our top tips to avoid the panic.

  1. Stick to the final deadline

The final deadline for passing your tests is before you enrol: we’re not allowed to enrol you on a teacher training course if you haven’t passed them. Ideally we do like you to complete them by the end of July but we realise that’s not always realistic. So for BA (Hons) Primary Education with QTS, 14 September is the deadline (just before Welcome Week). If you’re starting a PGCE though you must pass them by the end of August as your course starts at the beginning of September!

PGCE Post-Compulsory Education and Teacher Training students don’t have to complete Skills Tests as your course allows you to apply for QTLS rather than giving you QTS.


  1. Use any test centre

We’re aware that in Birmingham the test centre for Skills Tests is getting pretty booked up (it always does over the summer with everyone trying to squeeze them in) but did you know you can book your tests at any test centre? This might mean having to travel a little but it will be worth it to enrol on your teacher training course!

  1. Book your tests for as soon as possible

If at all possible, don’t leave your tests – particularly your first attempt at the tests – until the last few days before you enrol otherwise you haven’t got any contingency time in which to try again before you enrol of your course. We don’t want to have to turn you away!


  1. Prepare everything in advance

If you’re going to any test centre for the first time, whether that’s your local one or one you’re travelling a bit further to, give yourself plenty of time to arrive. Plan your route in advance – it will reduce the chances of you getting lost and arriving stressed out and panicked before you even start. Also make sure you have any documentation you need to take ready to go and, like any test, make sure you’re well-rested and hydrated. The aim is to help you stay calm and give yourself the best chance of passing.


  1. Take note of these tips

Working with numerous trainees teachers over the years, we’ve gathered some useful advice to help you approach the tests themselves. The most important thing to remember is to take your time, use all the time given and be confident in your ability.

With the Literacy test, the spelling section is where you must take your time. If you are unsure, repeat the words so that you pick up as many points as possible. It can help to write the word out visually so that you can see what looks right. If you’re still unsure, leave this section as you can pick up valuable marks in the Grammar, Punctuation and Comprehension sections.

For the Maths test, the mental arithmetic is often quite difficult as you only have limited time to answer but they do repeat the question twice. Listen carefully and use the given materials to work out your answers. Try to pick up the important parts of the question when it is read out the first time. The written section of the maths test is where you can pick up valuable marks.

Visit the BCU Xoodle account at where you’ll find some useful revision resources. You can create a new account and enter your details. If it asks you for an Enrolment Key, use this: education@bcu.


  1. Book yourself on to one of our Skills Test Bootcamps

We’re providing Skills Tests Bootcamps to give you as much support as we can. They’re designed for you to come with specific areas you need to improve on in either Literacy or Numeracy rather than teach you how to pass the entire test. So if you’ve already had at least one attempt at a test and need to try again, why not use the support on offer. You can find out more about Skills Tests, practice tests and how to book a Bootcamp on our website.


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