Message to all those who are taking their QTS tests Watch
This year did not go well for me as I was juggling between my career and stuff that was happening at home. Not to mention the fact that I just got married last summer. May no one experience what I did. Not being able to enjoy the most special time of your life to its full potential is a nightmare. These things always linger at the back of your head.
Anyways...enough of my ranting. I will go straight to the main bits. I decided to be a teacher this February 2019 and started applying by the end of April. It was a huge battle of racing against time including passing these tests. I know they are scrapping these tests but until then I hope this post will be helpful.
My first advice is...as soon as you decide to become a teacher. Even for a second where you think you want to be a qualified teacher, think of doing the tests first!! Especially if you have time. Say you are applying, don't wait for the schools/universities to reply just give in your UCAS confirmation letter after submitting. That is proof enough that you have applied and give to the test centre. They just want proof of your application. Please check with test centres first before doing this though, but I'm 90% sure this is true. If you want to wait for interview reply by all means that's your choice. These certificates last for 3 years, don't wait for them to reply even after interview just do them!
Now the rest...I have heard people saying that QTS maths tutor is harder than the real test. I agree. But...if you are willing to spend money to pass these tests I would definitely recommend. I first bought their book (the latest edition) and even though they didn't have explanations for questions, they gave you good shortcuts and tips on what certain terms mean and other tricks. When I failed my first attempt (and second attempt ) I realized how much it is important to practice. You need to practice online tests as much as you can before you walk into that test centre. After coming back from abroad, I bought the 39.99 package for 1 month of QTS maths tutor. Since I already had knowledge of their advice from the book, I did not have to learn too much. I started off with the revision questions they have for each topic you will be tested on (roughly 10 questions per topic) then moved onto the tests. The tests start from the free online test then test 2 - 21. As you go down the list the levels get harder. However, the point of these tests is to get to ready for anything that could come up in the real tests. I'm actually glad I signed up and paid money for this. Some of the questions on this website was designed in such a way that nothing in my numeracy skills test seemed surprising to me. Its always better to go from hard to easy than vice versa.
I read people saying that NumeracyReady was more similar to the questions asked in the real skills test. I agree also. Panicking madly, two days before my final chance of my numeracy test I paid for this package as well. The questions are similar, however, there is a catch. You cannot go back and do the tests again once you move onto the next. And like QTS maths tutor you cannot type your answer on the website. Basically you print out the answer sheet (you can just use normal paper, however) and write the answer yourself on paper and also the time of how long it took you to do each question. The benefits of Numeracy Ready is that the questions are very similar to the real thing and they prepare you for time. You have to be disciplined and make sure you answer the questions in 18 seconds for mental arithmetic and 2 minutes for the calculator one (per question). Both packages are good in their own special ways.
If you are ok to spend money to pass these tests then I would personally combine the two packages. However, if you want the cheaper option go for Numeracy Ready but be willing to not go back to a completed test once you have moved onto the next one. For QTS maths tutor it puts you off if you don't get the highest marks but it so so so helps. You practice within the time, you see a range of questions of the same topic, you get to type the answers, even use a online calculator for the calculator questions! You get a feel of the real thing. I am not going against Numeracy Ready. If I had time I would have definitely done their questions too. One package giving me the physical practice (QTS) and another giving me a practice of the questions (Numeracy Ready). By the way QTS maths tutor gives you a maths help sheet with all the shortcuts you need to learn for the test. Example 1/5 is 20% or 0.2.
The DfE tests online are harder than the real tests in some aspects and easier in others. In my opinion, the mental arithmetic for DfE online is harder than the real test (Numeracy Ready is better for this as their questions are better), some questions in the calculator paper are also harder than the real thing but also similar. For example, the mental arithmetic questions involving time and speed. Just think...people said you needed to get 82 or higher in the DfE tests to pass. I got lowest 67% (even when I ran out of time and didn't finish the test) and highest I got was 75% on Test number 4 which was supposed to be the hardest test lol.
I know I have written so much...sorry guys. The last thing I wanted to say is, that I actually got a whiteboard and pen to do my answers when doing the tests. It really eases you into the real thing. Give yourself time to practice and study. I studied for a week and passed 2 days ago. The more comfortable you get with the tests the better everything will feel.
I hope this helps. I wish someone gave me this advice too. If I can pass the test like this anyone can. I hope this helps.
Anyway, your advice is great. However, I have read they will be scrapping the skills test for the 2020 start (sorry for your trouble).
Although it could still be they'll change their minds and keep it...