Format, Content and Rules of the Test
What is the format of the professional numeracy skills test?
The numeracy skills test is composed of two sections. The first section is the mental arithmetic section and the second is the written section.
The mental arithmetic sections is comprised of 12 questions, each of which are read out twice and the you have 18 seconds to submit your answer after the second repeat of the question. Once you submit your answer you are moved to the next question and you can’t go back. You are not permitted to use a calculator for the mental arithmetic section
The written section is 36 minutes long and you can move from question to question in your own time. The questions are not individually timed so you can spend more time on a specific question if you choose to do so. The question types involve interpreting and using data as well as solving arithmetic problems. Out of the 16 questions in this section, 7 assess data and 9 assess arithmetic. A calculator is permitted for the written section.
You are able to use scrap paper to help you work out your answers for both the mental and written sections but all answers are submitted via an interactive online test, similar in format to the QTS Maths Tutor Practice Numeracy Skills Tests.
At the start of the test you will get asked a practice question, which is not scored, followed by 28 questions worth 1 mark each. You are required to achieve approximately 18 out of 28 in order to pass your numeracy skills test. It does not matter if you perform better on either of the two sections, it is the overall mark which is important.
What Maths topics are there on the numeracy skills test?
The numeracy skills tests will contain questions from the following topics
In the mental arithmetic section QTS numeracy test:
- Addition, subtraction, multiplication and division
- Amounts of money
- Measurement, including topics such as distance, area and volume
- Fractions, percentages and decimals as well as their conversions and proportions.
The written section of the numeracy skills test will contain:
- Interpret and use of information including comparison of data.
- Tables and two-way tables
- Bar charts, composite bar charts, Pie charts
- Line graphs and scatter graphs
- Box-and-whisker diagrams
- Cumulative frequency graphs
- Understanding of simple formulae
- Fractions, decimals and percentage questions
- Conversions including time, currency and measures
- Speed, distance and time questions
- Ratio and proportion
- Averages including mean, median and mode as well as the range calculations.
Do you get paper to help you work out the mental arithmetic questions?
Yes you are allowed to ask for scrap paper to help you with your calculations on both the mental arithmetic section as well as the written section of the exam.
Can I use a calculator on the QTS numeracy test?
You are permitted to use a calculator but not on the mental arithmetic section. An onscreen calculator will be provided once you enter the written section of the paper. This calculator will have basic functions that enable to add, subtract, multiply and divide.
How do PSI decide what goes in the professional numeracy skill exam?
The Standards and Testing Agency maintains a bank of equivalent test forms. When you got to take your test you will be presented with an onscreen test which has been randomly selected from the bank of questions. The test bank is maintained with a proportion of questions being replaced each year. For those individuals with special requirements PSI will look to facilitate these, whether that be wheel chair access into the testing centre or arranging a paper version of the test for those who require one for professionally defined reasons. PSI are currently undertaking a trial of new QTS question types which we anticipate will go live in the summer of 2019.