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Cheat Sheet

Teacher’s Skills Tests For Dummies (UK Edition)

From Teacher's Skills Tests For Dummies by Colin Beveridge, Andrew Green

You’re going to make a great teacher – that’s as soon as you get past those pesky Skills Tests anyway! Take a look at this Cheat Sheet for handy hints on how to quickly brush up on some of your numeracy and literacy skills and sail through the Teacher’s Skills Tests with flying colours!

Success on the Numeracy Test: Multiplying and Dividing by Decimals

In the mental arithmetic test, you’re often asked to multiply or divide a number by a decimal – something like 10.3 x 0.01 or 3.34 ÷ 0.2. Once you know the rules, they’re easy!

To multiply by a decimal number:

  1. Count how many digits are after the decimal point (the dot) in both numbers. In the example 10.3 x 0.01, the first number has one digit after the decimal point, and the second has two.

  2. Add these numbers up (here, you get three) and write the answer down somewhere.

  3. Ignoring the dot, work out the sum and put a dot at the end: 103 x 1 = 103.

  4. Move the dot back the number of digits you wrote down in Step 2 – there’s your answer! Here, you’d move the dot back three digits and end up with 0.103.

Sometimes, you’ll need to move back more places than you have digits – in that case, put as many zeroes as you need in front of the answer in Step 3.

Dividing by a decimal number is easier!

  1. Count how many digits are after the decimal point (the dot) in both numbers. In the example 3.34 ÷ 0.2, the first number has two digits after the decimal point, and the second has one.

  2. Multiply both numbers by 10 until the bottom is a whole number. Here, you need to do that once to get 33.4 ÷ 2.

  3. Do the sum! Your answer is 16.7.

5 Tips for the Teacher's Skills Test Spelling Section

When you're working on the Spelling section of the Teacher's Skills Test, you have to listen to words and spell them. Here are a few top tips to help you pass this section with flying colours:

  • Don’t leap at the word – listen to it carefully and listen more than once if you need to.

  • Sound the word out in your head – probably best not to do it out loud in the test centre!

  • Look for familiar parts of the word that you can spell and get them down first.

  • Remember that words are often made up of root words with prefixes and suffixes added. This can really help with tricky longer words.

  • If there are any words you know you struggle with, take the time and learn them by heart.

The Table of Joy on the Teacher's Skills Test Numeracy Section

The Table of Joy is a handy tool for working out percentages, ratios, conversions and much else besides! Here’s an example how you can use it to convert 300 miles into kilometres, using the fact that 5 miles is roughly 8 kilometres:

  1. Draw out a big noughts and crosses style grid.

  2. Leave the top-left square blank and label the rest of the top row with the things you’re converting: in this case, miles and kilometres.

  3. Again, leaving the top-left square blank, label the rest of the leftmost column with the information you have: the conversion rate and the distance you’re converting.

  4. Put the numbers you know in the logical places: 5 in the rate/miles square, 8 in the rate/kilometres square and 300 in the distance/miles square.

  5. Now shade the grid like a chessboard. Multiply the two numbers in the same-coloured spaces, and divide by the other. Here, it’s 300 x 8 ÷ 5 = 480km.

Teacher's Skills Test Literacy Section: Emphasis on Punctuation and Grammar

Accurate punctuation and grammar are the difference between knowing your stuff and knowing you’re stuffed! So take the time to work it out, so that you can do well on the Literacy portion of the Teacher's Skills Test.

Here are five top tips for literacy-related success:

  • When you’re reading or writing, the most powerful words are always nouns – focus on them if you’re having trouble.

  • Remember that reading a passage in your head and listening for where natural pauses occur helps you know where punctuation has been omitted.

  • Possessive apostrophes are always a giveaway. They’re simple too. Start by thinking who the object or concept belongs to, then add the apostrophe after that – so if the computer belongs to the bishop, it is the bishop’s computer. If the computers belong to the bishops, they are the bishops’ computers.

  • Remember, punctuation sometimes separates (words form words in a list, sentences from sentences) and sometimes connects (e.g. colons and semi-colons to show how ideas work together).

  • Reading in your head as if you were reading aloud is really helpful. It slows you down and helps you see whether what you’re writing or reading makes sense.

3 Tips to Avoid Teacher's Skills Test Panic

It happens to everyone. You’re sailing through a test when suddenly, you get one wrong and your confidence completely deserts you. If you were asked to spell ‘cat’ or work out 4 + 3, you’d be filled with panic. Not a great situation to be in, mid-test – so it’s good to have a plan. Here are some ways to deal with mid-test panic:

  • Sit up straight. When your posture oozes confidence, your brain behaves confidently.

  • Breathe deeply. Your brain runs on oxygen, and a big deep breath helps to relax you.

  • Talk kindly to yourself. It’s tempting to say ‘I’m such an idiot, I’ll never get through this’ – but it’s much more constructive to say something like ‘Oh, I think I got that wrong – never mind, there are plenty of other marks to pick up.’

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