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Literacy Skills Test: Spelling

Literacy Skills Test: Spelling2018-10-27T12:49:35+00:00

If you are preparing for you QTS Literacy Skills Test then the spelling section is something you need to practise. There are a collection of certain type of words that appear in the exam so it is worthwhile familiarising yourself with a collection of them so you feel much more confident. Have a go at the spelling exercises below and prepare effectively for your QTS Literacy Test.

Section 1: Forming Plurals

Rule 1: Most regular plurals and nouns require an ‘s’ to become plural:

For example: the plural of ‘door’ is ‘doors.’ A few other examples are listed below.

toy s

flag s

table s

Rule 2: Nouns ending in a sibilant (such as ‘ch’ or ‘dge’ ) need ‘es’ adding to become a plural, unless they already end with an ‘e.’

For example:

class es

church es

flush es

size s


List 10 examples of plurals that use these rules and show your tutor.

Section 2: Nouns ending in ‘Y’

If there is a vowel before the final ‘y’ just add an ‘s’ to form a plural.

For example:

chimney s

But, if there is a consonant before the final ‘y’ change that ‘y’ to an ‘i’ and add ‘es’ to form a plural.

opportunity           opportunit ies


Now try these:













Section 3: Nouns ending in ‘O’

Most nouns ending in ‘O’ form their plural by adding an ‘s.’

These include:

Musical nouns such as solo s. Nouns of Spanish and Italian origin such as casino s. Abbreviated nouns, e.g. disco s

However, there are exceptions to this rule! The more common of these words are emboldened below:

buffaloes, calicoes, cargoes, desperadoes, dingoes, dominoes, echoes, embargoes heroes, innuendoes, jingoes, mangoes, mosquitoes, negroes, noes, peccadilloes, potatoes, stuccoes, tomatoes, tornadoes, torpedoes, vetoes, volcanoes.

Some words can end with ‘o’ or ‘oes’

For example: eskimos, flamingoes, halos, mementos, stilletoes and zeroes!

Some words have no singular form:

For example:

alms, binoculars, measles, news, pants, pliers, riches, spectacles and trousers.

Some words have the same singular and plural form:

aircraft, cod, deer, grouse, salmon, swine and trout.

Some plurals differ greatly:

child            children

foot              feet

die                dice

tooth           teeth

woman        women


Section 4: Nouns ending in ‘f’ and ‘fe.’

Add an ‘s’ to form a plural:

roof s

handkerchief s

safe s

giraffe s

But look out for the 13 exception (you can hear the difference!)

wives, shelves, knives, sheaves, lives, leaves, calves, loaves, halves, thieves, elves, wolves and selves.

There are 4 ‘f’ words that can be either way!

hoofs           hooves

scarfs           scarves

turfs             turves

wharf          wharves

Section 5: Adding suffixes.

one-to-one words

one-to-one words are words of one syllable that end with one consonant, which is preceded by one vowel.

spot             fit                beg              pad              mud            plan             hot              throb           sad

There is no change to one-to-one words when adding a consonant suffix but you should double the final consonant when adding a vowel suffix:

fit –> fitness                   sin –>  sinful

fit –> fittest                     sin –> sinning

Keep the ‘e’ when adding a consonant suffix to a magic ‘e’ word

like ly          (likely)                  care ful (careful)

But drop the ‘e’ when adding a vowel suffix to a magic ‘e’ word.

like          –>    lik e              –>    liking

ignore     –>    ignor e         –>    ignorance

arrange   –>   arrang e       –>    arrangement


Writing n complete sentences, list 10 examples that use this rule and show your tutor.

Section 6: Two-one-one words.

2-1-1 words have two syllables and one final consonant that is preceded by a vowel.

There is no change to a 2-1-1 base word when a consonant suffix is added.

gallop  –>     he gallops

begin    –>    she begins

But, take care when adding a vowel suffix.

If the stress is on the first syllable there will be one consonant when adding a suffix

fasten fastened    –>    fastening

If the stress is on the second syllable then there will be two consonants when adding a suffix

occur                     occurred      occurring

submit                  submitted    submitting




List 8 examples that use this rule and show your tutor.

Section 7: Other tips:

able or ible?

If the main part of the word makes sense when it stands alone, such as the word ‘break’ then add ‘able’ but, if the first part of the word does not make sense when seen on its own, such as ‘feas’ you should add the ‘ible ending.


Full as a suffix is always spelt ‘ful.’

useful, beautiful, restful, merciful, tactful etc.

cal or cle?

Adjectives = ‘cal’

tropical, magical, musical, physical, critical, logical etc.

Nouns = ‘cle’

article, circle, vehicle, miracle, bicycle, uncle etc.



List 6 (3 of each) examples that use this rule and show your tutor.

Now, let’s go over some spelling rules and strategies to remember the words, rules and what to look out for.

Key strategies to help with the QTS test are:

  1. Use memory tricks.
  2. Use syllable breakdown to form small chunks by sounding out the word.
  3. Use your knowledge of suffixes and prefixes.
  4. Think of the spelling rules – such as the ‘i before e’ rule etc..
  5. Use Look Say Cover Write Checkto help you learn the words.


For example:

  1. Achievable: here there are 2 rules: achieve + able will require you to ‘drop the ‘e’ rule’ with a vowel suffix and use the ‘I before e except after c’ rule.
  1. However, there are always exceptions to rules – noticeable, hireable, sizeable, likeable – keep the ‘e’.
  1. Compulsory: this is testing your knowledge of letter patterns and visual memory – is it ery or ory or ary?) you could use syllable breakdown com /pul /so / ry – say it slowly and visualise it, or think of a memory trick: sorry it’s compulsory
  1. Justifiably: testing your suffix ending rules justify + ably: you will need to change the y to i with -ably= justifi + ably = justifiably You could use syllable breakdown = jus /ti/ fi/ ably, (see the two ‘i’s)
  1. In the QTS test commentary they say: “Think of the root justify, lose the final ‘y’ and replace it with ‘iably’ justif + iably
  1. Exaggerated The ‘ex’ sounds like ‘eggs!’ Can you see the 2 ‘g’s in eggs? Use that memory trick to remember that there are two ‘g’s in exaggerated exaggerate + d = exaggerated.
  1. Unacceptable: this is about the able/ible ending and a prefix ‘un’ un + accept + able: there’s no dropping anything just add the un + able.
  1. Formally: sounds easy but it’s about adding the suffix ending -ly. We don’t drop the L . formal + ly, usefully = useful + ly, helpfully, naturally, finally…
  1. Anxiety: this word the QTS site said, “You have to learn by heart” You could learn the others in the anxi– pattern: anxiety, anxious, anxiously. Or use a memory trick.
  1. Exhaustive: sounds like ‘eggs or stiff’ so you can’t use phonics! Take notice of the other words in the patterns and make a list: exhaust pipe, exhaustion, exhausting, exact, exactly, exam, exaggerate…
  1. omitted: this is the 1:1:1 doubling up rule
  1. irrelevant – ir+ relevant You can use syllable breakdown ir/re/le/vant

Section 8: Selling Test

Try to Look, Say, Cover, Write and Check.

  1. accommodation
  2. accomplishments
  3. achievable
  4. administrative
  5. aggression
  6. anxiety
  7. assessment
  8. business
  9. capabilities
  10. chronological
  11. communication
  12. compulsory
  13. embarrass
  14. exaggerated
  15. exhaustive
  16. definitely
  17. government
  18. grammatical
  19. independently
  20. irrelevant
  21. justifiably
  22. meticulous
  23. negligible
  24. omitted
  25. particularly
  26. preference
  27. reasonably
  28. subsequently
  29. unacceptable
  30. unnecessary

TASK. Original Writing: return to your earlier piece of writing and either continue or start a new section that focuses on using a range of spellings as characterised by the rules noted above. Show your tutor your work.