Prepare for Computerised Numeracy Tests

In most cases, you do your numeracy test on a computer, which has many advantages, the main one being that you should get your results as soon as the test is over.

Sitting a computerised test also makes it easier for you to go back and change your answers if you make a mistake, and means that people with horrible handwriting can give legible answers.

You don’t need to be a computer geek to work the computers in a numeracy test. You need to be able to move a mouse and click a button, and possibly type in some of the answers. Computers don’t bite! If you’re a bit wary of them, and don’t have one of your own, try visiting your local library and asking the staff for help.

What to expect from a computerised numeracy test

The short version of what to expect is that the questions come up on your screen, and you answer them.

You’re likely to be given scrap paper or a small whiteboard so you can do your working by hand when you need to. You’re also given instructions on how and when to start the test.

When you start the test, questions appear on the screen one at a time. The two types of question are:

  • Multiple choice, where you’re given a selection of possible answers. You click your mouse on whichever one of the given answers you think is the right one.

  • Fill-in, where you type your answer in a box on screen. Read the instructions carefully in case you have to answer in a particular way.

If you’re not sure of any answer, you can normally flag the question to come back to later. When you’ve finished answering the questions, you can usually review all of your answers to check that you’re happy with them.

The only numeracy computer test that doesn’t allow you to go back and spend more time on a question or check your answer is the mental arithmetic section of the teacher training tests.

How to use the on-screen calculator

In some computerised numeracy tests, you’re allowed to use the computer’s built-in calculator. Most of the time, the calculator is part of the testing software, and you just need to click on the ‘calculator’ button to make it appear.

Depending on the test, you may be able to download a program that shows you exactly what the test will look like on your screen, including the calculator. Check out your test’s website and see!

If you do have access to a calculator, it’s likely to be similar to the basic calculator on your own computer. Here’s how you do a sum on it:

  1. Enter the first number in the sum, either by typing it on your keyboard or by clicking on the numbers with your mouse.

  2. Click or press the appropriate operation button (+, –, / or x).

  3. Enter the second number in the sum.

  4. Type in or press the equals (=) button. Your answer appears on the screen.

Calculators can be very powerful tools, but it’s very easy to make a mistake when you’re typing in a sum. Always check your work if you possibly can.

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