Are you worrying about the Skills Test?

Good Morning World. Taylor Cornes, our fabulous second year trainee teacher from the University or Worcester, has some great advice for passing the ITT skills test. So if you’re looking to become a teacher and your skills test is fast approaching, have a read!

For many, upcoming ITT skills tests are the avoided topic of every conversation due to the stress and panic that they bring. As a trainee teacher looking back, the thought of sitting a Maths and English GCSE equivalent exam made me feel nauseous, and I dreaded the day I would have to sit and take them.

In hindsight, panicking before you’ve even started revising is unnecessary and wont put you in the right frame of mind to study for the tests. I found that the fully interactive online practice tests (found on the Department for Education website) were an extremely valuable resource, and I would do at least two a day in preparation for the tests. It is a virtually identical format, and will get you used to the structure of the tests.

Other great resources I used – especially when revising for the numeracy skills test – were my old GCSE revision guides (in particular the CGP and Edexcel books). I was able to revisit the topics that were flagged up as my weakest areas on the online practice tests, and do more revision in order to better my scores.

There is also a skills test book, published by Critical Publishing, which is fantastic at answering any questions you might have prior to the tests, and includes sample questions and revision strategies.

When booking your skills tests, make sure that they are at a convenient time for you. If you book your tests around the time of your mocks or exams then your mind wont be fully focused, and you might end up putting yourself under too much pressure.

My advice for the days leading up to the skills tests would be to stay calm and collected. It is crucial that you get a good night’s sleep (not just the night before) so your brain is well rested, which will help you focus and absorb more information during revision and practices.

During the test do not panic, trust your ability and believe in yourself because that positivity will make all the difference. Make sure you do not rush and if you are stuck on a question, be conscious of the time, and move on. On a lighter note, during the tests (more so with the numeracy test), an invigilator will bring out new whiteboards for you to write your workings out on. Although it is polite to do so, don’t make the mistake of saying thank you each time the invigilator brings out a new whiteboard (I ended up saying thank you too many times, all the while losing precious seconds) – stay focused and pretend that no one is around to avoid you getting distracted.

With these simple tips, you should be well on your way of preparing for the skills tests, and remember, you have three chances!

Check out our book ‘Success! Passing the Professional Skills Tests for Teachers’ to ensure that you are as prepared as you can be when test day comes around.

blog post 161115 success cover photo