PGCE Primary information
Primary Full-time & Part-time Programmes
Subject Knowledge Interview Tests Advice
Part of your interview day will include short tests of your
knowledge of the core subjects of English
and Mathematics. Possession of GCSE or equivalent
qualifications will have helped you to gain an interview and you
must therefore show that you have retained and can apply this
knowledge. This will demonstrate that you have a sufficient
foundation of subject knowledge at this stage.
The test will comprise of questions for each core
subject, presented and answered on paper. It will take about
20 in total. The questions will relate to knowledge
required of trainee teachers and will be set at approximately Level
6 of the National Curriculum. This is below the level
required for the national QTS assessments, so you will be expected
to work quickly and to score high marks. Spelling aids or
calculators will not be allowed. Appropriate arrangements
will be made for candidates who have declared a special educational
- Identifying and explaining the author’s use of certain styles
- Explaining the meaning of the whole text and individual
- Identifying parts of speech and types of sentence.
- Identifying word structures.
- Identifying errors of spelling, grammar and punctuation.
During the interview day you must also speak and
write clearly and correctly using Standard English and cursive
- The number system (integers, decimals, factors, indices).
- Number sequences.
- Properties of shapes.
- Measurement (common calculations and imperial/metric
You may wish to improve or reassure yourself in
some areas of your subject knowledge and also of the levels at
which questions will be pitched. The following are suggested
resources. If you use any of them, you should check the
content in relation to the interview test content outlined
Most major publishers produce Key Stage 3
revision guides for English, mathematics and science as books or as
CD-ROMS. On-line revision guides and sample questions
BBC Bite size http://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/
The Guardian http://www.learn.co.uk/
The Times Educational Supplement will
enable you to keep in touch with current educational issues
The books listed below are currently used as core
texts for subject knowledge during the PGCE year. They go
well beyond the levels required at interview, but you may find them
useful. You will certainly need to study them before starting
- Medwell, J et al (2007), Primary English: Teaching Theory and
Practice 3rd Edition, Exeter Learning Matters, ISBN:
- Medwell, J et al (2007), Primary English: Knowledge and
Understanding 3rd Edition, Exeter Learning Matters,
- Haylock, D (2006), Mathematics Explained for Primary
Teachers 3rd Edition, SAGE, ISBN: 1412911834
Subject knowledge assessments during your postgraduate
The interview tests are designed to assess your
potential for passing the subject knowledge assessments that will
be a part of your course. These are:
- Audits and tests in English, Mathematics, set by York St
- QTS Skills Tests in Literacy, Numeracy and ICT set by the TDA
for all trainee teachers.
The programme assessments are set at a higher
level than the interview test. Successful candidates will
therefore be expected to undertake further study before beginning
the course to ensure that you are ready to pass the programme
assessments. Further advice and information will be given
during a PGCE Preparation Day prior to the programme start.
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