Phillip: How to Pass the QTS Skills Test – Common Fractions

Why was 1/5 sent to a counsellor?
Because he was two-tenths.

Among the key knowledge that I recommend to people preparing for the QTS test is memorising some common fractions, and their decimal and percentage equivalents. This works in the same way as memorising times tables: it makes you faster in calculating and less likely to make mistakes, and both of these are critical to having the skills and confidence to pass the QTS test. Confident mental recall is always preferable to calculation, under test conditions.

So here is my advice: make yourself a table with three columns: FRACTION, DECIMAL, PERCENTAGE. Get a calculator and fill in the table as follows.

Start with the fraction ‘1’, which is decimal 1.0, percentage 100%. (It does help to think of 1 as being a fraction, and remember numbers bigger than 1 can also be fractions.)

Next: 1/2. Then 1/3 and 2/3 (these give recurring digits in the decimal and percentage forms – hence they are not easy to work with mentally, and I have never seen a QTS Part 1 question that requires thirds in decimal form).

Then the quarters. You will not need to write out the decimal and percentage for 2/4. Why?

Then the fifths, eighths and tenths.

Try to MEMORISE ALL of these numbers. So far as the QTS test is concerned, this table covers pretty much all of the fractions, decimals and percentages you will have to deal with by mental calculation. (Sixths, sevenths, ninths are left out – why?)

Just one more that’s helpful to remember: 1/25 is the same as 0.04 or 4%. So what is 3/25 or 22/25? See how much easier it is if you have the memorised number fact. Fractions with 25ths are quite common in QTS questions.

Remember also that converting between decimal and percentage is very easy. The percentage is 100 times the decimal, and the decimal is the percentage divided by 100. Even easier: remember about ‘hopping’ the decimal point – times by 100 is equivalent to hopping the decimal point two places to the right, dividing by 100 is equivalent to hopping the point two places to the left.

Don’t be ‘two-tenths’ about the common fractions!

Merry Xmas and Holiday greetings to all.



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