Rules for the QTS Numeracy Skills Test Candidates

Instructor: Jessica Keys
If you are sitting for the QTS Numeracy Professional Skills Test, it's important to acquaint yourself with the rules and procedures that all candidates must follow before and during the exam. Failure to comply may invalidate your test results, so read on to learn about what these rules are and what you need to do to avoid disappointment!

Before the Test…

In order to gain Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), all prospective teachers in the United Kingdom must pass professional skills tests in both literacy and numeracy. These tests are administered to all initial teacher training (ITT) applicants regardless of subject or level taught, as they assess the basic skills that all teachers need to know.

Booking Rules

Once you have submitted your ITT application, you can schedule a test appointment through the Department for Education's learndirect service. Learndirect will also administer the Numeracy Skills Test at any of its testing centers throughout the United Kingdom.

Note: If you require special access accommodations, you may also arrange for these when you book your appointment.

Scheduling may be done any time, but you must submit your ITT application before you arrive at the test center. Before you can take the test, you will be required to show evidence of this application!

The QTS Numeracy Skills Test is free for all first-time candidates. If you need to resit the exam, there is a £19.25 fee, paid at booking. You may resit the Numeracy Skills Test twice within a 24-month period.

On Testing Day…

When you arrive at the testing center, make sure you have:

  • Primary identification, with your name (must match the name you used to register), your signature and photo. This can be a passport, a student ID card, an EU national identification card or driver's license (with photograph). An alternative ID form is also available from the Department for Education, but you will have to supply a photograph.
  • Secondary identification. This does not require a photograph, though you may use any of the above that you have not already used for your primary ID. You may also use a bank card (credit or debit) or a UK Armed Forces ID.
  • Proof that you have submitted your ITT application through UCAS Teacher Training, Teach First or another similar program. This may be a welcome letter, a confirmation email or similar form of confirmation. You may present this evidence as a printout, a photocopy or simply by showing the relevant email/message on your mobile device.

Failure to provide these documents means that you will not be permitted to take the Numeracy Skills Test. You will also be charged the £19.25 resit fee the next time you schedule.

Testing Rules

  • After checking in at the testing center, you will be given a locker for your personal possessions. This includes any mobile or electronic devices, food, drink, coats, hats, handbags, notebooks and so on.
  • The only items you are allowed to bring into the testing center are your locker key and your primary identification.
  • Testing center staff will direct you to the test room, where a supervisor will check your identification once more and ask you to confirm the details of your test. This is to make sure you're in the right place at the right time!
  • The test room is monitored by CCTV, as well as a supervisor; no cheating!
  • You may leave the test room once you have finished your test. However, you will have to wait in the reception area until you receive your results. Don't leave before you get your results!

Why Numeracy?

Even if you don't plan on teaching mathematics, chances are you'll encounter basic arithmetic in your day-to-day routine as a teacher. As such, the QTS Numeracy Skills Test is designed to test the arithmetic skills that you will use in a professional context.

Test Breakdown

The QTS Numeracy Skills Test is typically administered on a computer and takes about 48 minutes to complete. It consists of two sections:

Mental Arithmetic (12 questions). This section will test how well you can calculate and solve problems in your head. It's an audio test, meaning the problems will be spoken to you. Headphones are provided; alternately, a non-audio test is available for those who have permission to take the test in written or on-screen format. No calculators allowed! You will be tested on:

  • The four basic arithmetic functions (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division)
  • Portions of numbers (decimals, fractions and percentages)
  • Measurement, time and money
  • Conversion operations

Note that each question will be read only twice, so stay calm and don't panic if you don't understand how to solve a problem. If you run out of time, try what you think is the right answer and focus on the next item. Listen to the directions carefully, as they can be very specific.

Written Arithmetic (16 questions). This section will be presented to you as a series of on-screen questions. There is also a basic calculator built into the testing interface. Here, the focus is on the correct interpretation of data, trends and information. You will also be tested on basic written arithmetic in the same areas listed above, plus ratios, averages and other formulae.

Review Help!

In addition to the QTS Professional Skills practice resources available from the Department for Education, you can supplement your review with related online content from!

If you need to brush up on just a few topics, we have math flashcards that can help you. You'll find these Number Operations Flashcards and Fractions Flashcards the most relevant for this exam. Use them on your computer or mobile device, or print them out for everyday use.

Finally, for the most complete review possible, offers a comprehensive prep course in the QTS Numeracy Professional Skills Test itself, that will introduce you to every part of the test, including problem-solving strategies, money matters, practical data interpretation and mental math strategies for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Like all of our content, this prep course is accessible anytime, anywhere, and our short video lessons make reviewing fast and fun!