Skills Tests Guidance

Candidates thinking of applying for a teacher training course will need to take the NCTL numeracy and literacy skills tests as part of the application process, and ensure that they have passed them both before the start of the course.

The first 3 attempts at taking skills tests in each subject is provided free of charge. Candidates can book unlimited resits if required, but candidates will be expected to pay for these.

Candidates can book tests up to three months in advance by which time they will be expected to have submitted an application to UCAS TT. When candidates take the tests theywill need to provide proof that they have applied for a teacher training course. The tests are held at a Learndirect Professional Test Centre. 

Special Arrangements

Candidates who previously required special arrangements in a test or public exam can request the same for the professional skills tests for trainee teachers, the MSC strongly recommends you do this.

There are different versions of the tests which cater for different needs. Evidence must be available to support any request for adaptations, including the following:

  • 25% and 50% extra time versions
  • on-screen spelling questions in literacy tests
  • on-screen mental arithmetic questions in numeracy tests
  • paper-based tests (including larger print format)

Evidence required

Requests for 25% extra time do not require an application form or evidence to be submitted, although the National College for Teaching and Leadership reserves the right to request proof that candidates require special arrangements. Candidates can apply for 25% extra time when registering online for the skills tests.

For special arrangements beyond 25% extra time, an application form and evidence, in the form of a medical report, SENCO or educational psychologist’s report, is required.

For information and advice about evidence required for different provisions, contact the special arrangements team at the skills test helpline.

Taking the skills tests

  • Arrival at the test centre at least 15 minutes before your appointment is strongly advised, to allow for security checks. If you arrive late, you may not be permitted to take the test.
  • ITT applicants will need to provide evidence of their application. This could be a copy of the application form or confirmation of receipt.
  • Remember to bring your booking confirmation email to the test centre.
  • Bring your relevant identification, as detailed on the ID requirements page.
  • Read and understand the test rules before arriving at the test centre and adhere to the rules at all times once you are in the test centre.
  • The waiting area, in the majority of test centres, is designed to facilitate the needs of candidates; there are no provisions for childcare. Anyone accompanying you to the test centre will not be allowed to wait in the PPC.
  • When you have finished the test, your results will be available from the test administrator.

Practice Tests

Practice tests are available on the Department for Education website. We strongly recommend candidates take at least two practice tests.

Applicants will need to take proof of their application to an ITT provider on the day of the test. A full set of practice materials, supporting documents, information about special arrangements and other information is available via the professional skills tests section of the DfE website

Helpful Links and Contacts

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


Telephone: 0300 303 9613

Email: support@sta.learndirect.com

Practice Numeracy Tests-http://sta.education.gov.uk/professional-skills-tests/numeracy-skills-tests

Practice Literacy Tests- http://sta.education.gov.uk/professional-skills-tests/literacy-skills-tests