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Professional skills tests - information for Initial Teacher Training applicants

What are the professional skills tests?

To ensure teachers are competent in literacy and numeracy, all teacher training applicants are required to pass professional skills tests in literacy and numeracy before starting a course.

How do I register for the tests?

Before booking a skills test you will need to register online.

When you take the tests you will need to provide proof that you have applied for a teacher training course.

What will Sheffield Hallam University expect of me if I apply for a teaching programme?

We will let you know what we expect as soon as we receive your application. If you have been invited for an interview, we will encourage you to pass the tests before the interview date, and will ask you to bring the results with you. If you have not passed the tests by the time of your interview, we can only give you a conditional offer. You'll be given a deadline by which the tests must be passed so we can confirm your offer. We will send you more information once you are invited to an interview.

At what level are the tests set?

The length of the tests and questions are appropriate for key skills level 2/3.

The numeracy and literacy skills tests

  • do not replace the GCSE grade C equivalence entry requirement
  • are set in the context of the professional role of a teacher
  • use real data and information that teachers are likely to encounter

What is the pass mark for the tests?

The pass mark for each test is 63%.

How can I prepare for the tests?

Book your place on one of our free Skills Test Support Sessions where experts will guide you through what to expect in The Skills Test with the use of approved practice tests and materials.

You can also visit the Department for Education website for

  • online practice tests
  • details of test content and format
  • a glossary of terms
  • a list of recommended books
  • Numeracy skills tests
  • Literacy skills tests

If I fail a test can I resit it?

Yes. Following changes in February 2018, you are allowed to re-sit as many times as you need, up to the deadline in your offer.

How much do the tests cost?

The first three attempts at each subject are free of charge, but further re-sits will cost £19.25 each.

Further information

If you would like to speak to someone about the skills tests, contact the Professional Skills Tests candidate helpdesk.

The helpdesk is available from Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm

Contact details

Skills tests helpline
Telephone: 0300 303 9613
Email: support@sta.learndirect.com

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