Numeracy skills tests

The numeracy professional skills tests

This page gives an overview of the numeracy skills test so that you can prepare for taking the test. Further details about access arrangements are on the Process for taking the professional skills test page

Test content

The numeracy skills test is divided into 2 areas:

  • mental arithmetic section
  • written section (written arithmetic and written data)

You will not be tested on your knowledge of the mathematics national curriculum or on how to teach it.

The standard test will last approximately 48 minutes, unless specific arrangements have been granted.

Each test contains 28 questions made up of 12 mental arithmetic questions and 16 written questions (written arithmetic and written data), plus a practice question that is not scored. All questions carry 1 mark regardless of the number of required responses.

All the numeracy skills tests have been calibrated statistically against a benchmark test. As with any multiple set of tests, the tests are not identical to each other. This is because each test has different questions, but they are all of an equivalent standard. A test with slightly harder questions will have a slightly lower pass mark and a test with slightly easier questions will have a slightly higher pass mark.

Further information on numeracy test content and format is included in the numeracy test specification.

Mental arithmetic questions

The mental arithmetic section is an audio test which you will listen to via headphones provided for you. It tests your ability to carry out mental calculations using:

  • addition, subtraction, multiplication and division
  • time
  • fractions, decimals and percentages
  • proportions involving fractions, decimals and percentages
  • measurement, including money, distance, area and volume
  • conversions

Each question is individually timed. You are not allowed to use a calculator for the mental arithmetic questions.

Written section (written arithmetic and written data)

Written questions are presented in a series of on-screen questions. You may use an on-screen calculator.
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’ll be tested on your ability to solve written arithmetic problems which include:

  • time
  • money
  • fractions, decimals and percentages
  • proportion and ratio
  • measurements (eg distance, area)
  • conversions
  • averages (including mean, median and mode)
  • range
  • using simple formulae

Preparing for the tests

We have produced a short information sheet to help you to prepare for your numeracy test. We advise you read this and the information below to help you prepare for the tests.

Other support is available. Your ITT provider may be able to advise on appropriate materials.

Areas of numeracy

You can use the areas of numeracy support materials to help refresh your skills. You don't need to work through the whole booklet; it may be more helpful to look at sections as and when you need them.

Each section contains information on 1 of the areas of numeracy covered by the test. It includes a number of worked examples and guidance on avoiding common errors.


The glossary lists terms used in numeracy. You won’t be tested on definitions of these terms however they may help you prepare for the numeracy skills test.

Practice tests

Practising the tests will help you to familiarise yourself with the look and feel of the tests. It will also provide an opportunity to revise the different content areas covered by the tests.

You can access a series of practice tests which include similar types of questions to those in the actual tests. These will help you practise answering questions and become familiar with navigational features used in the online tests. Passing the practice tests provides no guarantee that you will pass your actual test.

The first time that you access the practice tests you will need to complete an initial registration. Click on the initial registration link at the bottom of the log in screen to do this. No personal details are requested, other than a username. Your details are not stored so please keep your username and password safe. You will also need this activation key for your initial registration: jhULiqgX. Once you are registered and have logged in you will also be able to:

  • practise the numeracy and literacy tests
  • view your previous results for the practice tests you have taken
  • pause the test so that it can be resumed later
  • access guidance which explains how to answer each practice test question

The practice tests are presented in 2 formats.

The fully interactive online tests will score your answers. The online tests include versions with special arrangement entitlements. You need to log in to your practice test account to access the online versions of the tests.

You can also download paper-based versions of numeracy practice paper 2, numeracy practice paper 3 and numeracy practice paper 4. These are designed for candidates who have been granted a specific arrangement to complete a paper-based test, but may also be used by other candidates. You do not need to register or log in to access these tests.

Answering questions

Please note the following acceptable answer formats when typing numbers into answer boxes:

  • Numbers can’t be entered in written form.
  • Don’t enter anything other than your answer in the answer box.
  • Decimal numbers should be entered using a ‘full stop’ for the decimal point, for example ‘12.5’.
  • There is no need to type the units (eg pupils, %) if they are already specified.

Technical advice for the practice tests

You will need access to a computer with the following specification to access the online practice tests: 

Operating system

Microsoft Windows XP/Vista/7/8
Mac OS X 10.5.x - 10.8.x
Display resolution of at least 1024x768 pixels with 16k colours

Supported browsers

Internet Explorer: Version 10 to 11
Google Chrome: Latest version

Internet connection

Download speeds required are minimal however for the best experience we recommend the test is taken with at least 500Kbit/s connections (0.5MB).

Getting help

PSI's helpdesk is available from Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm

Telephone: 0300 303 9613 

Email: and

You can contact the Teaching Information Line on 0800 389 2500 for advice on teacher training more widely, including what’s involved in teacher training; qualification queries; funding options; and arranging school experience. The Teaching Information Line can also help you to check if you’re eligible to receive one-to-one support from a qualified teacher to prepare for the skills tests and get ready for interviews. Alternatively you could visit the Get into Teaching website for more information.