QTS Numeracy Skills Test

The QTS Numeracy Skills Test lasts for 48 minutes (unless you are entitled to reasonable adjustments) and is in two sections:

  1. mental arithmetic
  2. written section (written arithmetic and data)

The test contains 28 questions: 12 in section 1 and 16 in section 2. All questions are worth 1 mark.

Section 1: Mental Arithmetic

This is an audio test which you will listen to via provided headphones. You will hear each question twice. Each question has a time limit – answered cannot be changed after the time limit. This section tests your ability to carry out mental calculations using:

  • time
  • fractions
  • percentages
  • measurements
  • conversions

Each question is individually timed. A calculator is not allowed for section 1.


  1. Listen to each question very carefully. Might seem obvious, but it’s important to focus.
  2. The first time you hear each question, make a note of the numbers involved in the question. Then when you hear the question again, you can focus on what needs to be done with the numbers. If possible, start working out the answer whilst the question is being read for a second time.
  3. Fractions need to be entered in their lowest terms. For example, \(4\over 8 \) should be entered as \(1\over 2 \).

[info from http://sta.education.gov.uk/professional-skills-tests/numeracy-skills-tests]

Section 2: Written Section

In section 2 you may use the on-screen calculator. In this section, you can revisit questions before the end of the test. You are tested on your ability to interpret and use written data to:

  • identify trends correctly
  • make comparisons in order to draw conclusions
  • interpret information accurately

You will also be tested on your ability to solve written arithmetic problems which include:

  • time
  • money
  • proportion and ratio
  • percentages, fractions and decimals
  • measurements (eg distance, area)
  • conversions (eg from 1 currency to another, from fractions to decimals or percentages)
  • averages (including mean, median, mode and range where relevant)
  • using simple formulae


  1. Read each question very carefully. The same goes for all tests!
  2. Answer the questions you find easiest first. Get those done, and then concentrate on the other questions, but don’t spend too long on any one question!
  3. Don’t leave any answers blank. A guess is better than a blank.

[info from http://sta.education.gov.uk/professional-skills-tests/numeracy-skills-tests]

Practice Materials

Areas of numeracy covered by the QTS Numeracy Skills Test – booklet containing guidance for each of the areas of numeracy covered by the test as well as worked examples and tips for avoiding common errors (Department for Education website).

Practice papers from the Department for Education website – Paper 2, Paper 3 and Paper 4. (No, I don’t know what happened to Paper 1!)

A glossary of terms used in numeracy – you will not be tested on these definitions in the skills test, however knowing them will be useful (Department for Education website).

Practice Tests with worked solutions – from G&A Numerical. These are YouTube videos demonstrating worked solutions to some QTS Numeracy Skills tests.

Mental Arithmetic Tips and Tricks from Julie Kevill, Numeracy Support Lecturer, Learner Development Unit, Middlesex University ↓