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Test tips

* Take your time and revise. Only sit the test after you have fully prepared. Don't let it affect your teaching practice.

* If you are an NQT, keep the school and LEA informed. You may need to take the test just before the deadline for completing induction. Find out when this is. Heads will usually conduct the final assessment meeting just before the end of term, but ask him or her and the LEA if there's any leeway.

* If you are a student, find out the procedure if you do not pass the skills tests by the time your institution's exam board sits. If it means missing your ITT exam board date, then so be it. It will be better to qualify six months later than not at all. If you fail the tests and don't get QTS by May 1, 2002, you'll have to do the ICT tst as well.

* If you are an NQT, set some objectives with your tutor that focus on developing the skills you need to pass. Then you can justifiably spend some of your 10 per cent induction release time revising.

* Plan revision time and book the test and venue.

* Contact the TTA helpline: skillstests * Ask your LEA or trainer to put you in contact with others in the same boat. Ask if they can organise extra help.

* Diagnose your weaknesses and get some coaching in the skills you lack, as well as the all-important test techniques.

* Ask friends to help. You need to know your times-tables and number bonds to work out percentages quickly.

* Go into the test feeling positive.

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