Ten Ways to Maximise Your Revision Time
1. Start with a Practice Test
Doing a practice test is a great start to your preparation as it will give you a feel for the kind of questions you are likely to be asked and will help you to see how close you are to being ready to sit the test.
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2. See How Ready you Are
When you sit the test for real, you will need to score 18 marks out of 28 to pass. Ideally, you will be scoring comfortably above this on your practice tests by the time you take the exam.
A good rule of thumb is:
23-28: You are ready. Book yourself in to sit the exam.
18-22: You are not far away. Maybe practice a little more on one or two key topics and then consider taking the exam.
0-17: You are not ready yet. Don’t worry though – there are plenty of good resources available to help you in your preparation.
3. Identify Target Topics
There is some value in general practice that refreshes your knowledge of all topics, but the most significant progress will occur when you identify and focus your revision on those topics that consistently cause you to struggle.
4. Work on One Topic at Once
If you have identified a few topics that you would like to work on, it is best to tackle them one at once.
It is usually much more effective to delve into one area until you are really confident on that subject before moving on to the next than it is to try to learn a little of everything at the same time, only to confuse yourself.
5. Do Lots of Practice Questions
Progress in numeracy is not primarily gained by reading descriptions of principles and methods. These can prove to be a helpful start, but to gain true understanding you will need to apply that knowledge to solving specific problems. Practice makes perfect!
6. Learn your Times Tables
In the mental arithmetic section of the test, time is of the essence. A lot of the questions require quick calculations and having instant recall of your times tables (at least up to 12×12 and ideally up to 15×15) makes a big difference. Click here for strategies to get lightning quick on your times tables.
7. Find Shortcuts
When you are doing mental arithmetic questions, you won’t always have time to use detailed methods. Often there are quick shortcuts that you can use to save time (e.g. to divide a number by 5, you can double it and divide the answer by 10). Any tricks that you know to make your calculations quicker may prove invaluable.
8. Kill Distractions
You will find it it difficult to learn with the television on in the background and your smartphone next to your work. Put aside anything that will distract you and make sure the time you are giving to revision is entirely focussed on revising.
9. Become Familiar with the Question Types
It is possible that you will be asked something that you are not expecting, but most of the questions do tend to follow familiar patterns. If you do as many practice tests as you can before you go in, you will already be familiar with most of the questions that you are likely to be asked.
10. Consider Coaching
If you still feel overwhelmed or in need of extra help, perhaps you would be interested in hiring a private tutor who can work with you on a one-to-one basis.
This post is adapted from the ‘Guide to the QTS Numeracy Skills Test’ book. More information about the book can be found here.