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ByFindlayon 22 December 2015

Both numeracy and literacy are covered in this book. Numeracy covers most sections in the test and each chapter has practice questions, Literacy covers spelling, grammar and comprehension.

It's good to pair this with the 8 practice tests on the .gov website. The book has a lot of reading and explaination behind it, but I've foudn it quite useful.

It's good to pair this with the 8 practice tests on the .gov website. The book has a lot of reading and explaination behind it, but I've foudn it quite useful.

42 people found this helpful

ByJoeon 15 July 2013

I bought this book in preparation for my Professional Skills Test and more specifically for the numeracy side of the examination. The thing that appealed to me about this book is the assumption of a very low level of mathematical ability. The book was true to its word, it starts each section as if it is the first time you have encountered, say, fractions or probability. I found that it explained mathematical procedures more clearly than the Bond et al book which you have no doubt come across if you are shopping around for this kind of thing.

As I was working my way through the book I began to notice errors in their answers. The very fact that I had to buy this book may lead you to question my reliability in highlighting errors in a maths book, but believe me, each time I came across a potential error I worked through it over and over and then showed it to friends and family more proficient at maths than me to be absolutely sure it was the book and not me. The errors were not sums done incorrectly, the methods in the book were always correct, but it was careless errors that, despite using the right method, gave the wrong answer. An example of this is in Chapter 9 on question 4 of the Easy Questions section. It asks you to work out how tall a pupil is in inches if he is 1.6 m tall and 2.5 cm to the inch. The answer in the book gives you a great method to work this out. The only problem is that the answer is dealing with a pupil whose height is 1.5m not 1.6m like the height given in the question. I wasted a long time working out why my answer wasn't coming to the answer in the book before realising this.

I didn't bother finishing the maths section of this book. I got to Chapter 12, by which point I had found around 7-8 errors and lost complete faith. When I was working with a sum I found difficult, I didn't know whether if it was my incorrect application of method or if they had made yet another mistake in the book.

Unfortunately all this book served to do was shake my confidence in maths rather than solidify it. Probably the best resource I have come across is actually what the direct gov site provide you with. On the site you have 4 practice tests which you can take in real time or print off as a PDF and study at your own pace. They also have a section that details all the areas that will be covered in the test and provide you with basic explanations and a few practice exercises to make it clearer.

The concept of this book is a good one, but it is massively let down by the unforgivable errors that should never get past a proof reader before publication. I suspect in a couple of editions time this may well be a valuable source once they have eradicated the mistakes, but for now, from my own experience, I wouldn't bother with this one.

As I was working my way through the book I began to notice errors in their answers. The very fact that I had to buy this book may lead you to question my reliability in highlighting errors in a maths book, but believe me, each time I came across a potential error I worked through it over and over and then showed it to friends and family more proficient at maths than me to be absolutely sure it was the book and not me. The errors were not sums done incorrectly, the methods in the book were always correct, but it was careless errors that, despite using the right method, gave the wrong answer. An example of this is in Chapter 9 on question 4 of the Easy Questions section. It asks you to work out how tall a pupil is in inches if he is 1.6 m tall and 2.5 cm to the inch. The answer in the book gives you a great method to work this out. The only problem is that the answer is dealing with a pupil whose height is 1.5m not 1.6m like the height given in the question. I wasted a long time working out why my answer wasn't coming to the answer in the book before realising this.

I didn't bother finishing the maths section of this book. I got to Chapter 12, by which point I had found around 7-8 errors and lost complete faith. When I was working with a sum I found difficult, I didn't know whether if it was my incorrect application of method or if they had made yet another mistake in the book.

Unfortunately all this book served to do was shake my confidence in maths rather than solidify it. Probably the best resource I have come across is actually what the direct gov site provide you with. On the site you have 4 practice tests which you can take in real time or print off as a PDF and study at your own pace. They also have a section that details all the areas that will be covered in the test and provide you with basic explanations and a few practice exercises to make it clearer.

The concept of this book is a good one, but it is massively let down by the unforgivable errors that should never get past a proof reader before publication. I suspect in a couple of editions time this may well be a valuable source once they have eradicated the mistakes, but for now, from my own experience, I wouldn't bother with this one.

ByJoeon 15 July 2013

I bought this book in preparation for my Professional Skills Test and more specifically for the numeracy side of the examination. The thing that appealed to me about this book is the assumption of a very low level of mathematical ability. The book was true to its word, it starts each section as if it is the first time you have encountered, say, fractions or probability. I found that it explained mathematical procedures more clearly than the Bond et al book which you have no doubt come across if you are shopping around for this kind of thing.

As I was working my way through the book I began to notice errors in their answers. The very fact that I had to buy this book may lead you to question my reliability in highlighting errors in a maths book, but believe me, each time I came across a potential error I worked through it over and over and then showed it to friends and family more proficient at maths than me to be absolutely sure it was the book and not me. The errors were not sums done incorrectly, the methods in the book were always correct, but it was careless errors that, despite using the right method, gave the wrong answer. An example of this is in Chapter 9 on question 4 of the Easy Questions section. It asks you to work out how tall a pupil is in inches if he is 1.6 m tall and 2.5 cm to the inch. The answer in the book gives you a great method to work this out. The only problem is that the answer is dealing with a pupil whose height is 1.5m not 1.6m like the height given in the question. I wasted a long time working out why my answer wasn't coming to the answer in the book before realising this.

I didn't bother finishing the maths section of this book. I got to Chapter 12, by which point I had found around 7-8 errors and lost complete faith. When I was working with a sum I found difficult, I didn't know whether if it was my incorrect application of method or if they had made yet another mistake in the book.

Unfortunately all this book served to do was shake my confidence in maths rather than solidify it. Probably the best resource I have come across is actually what the direct gov site provide you with. On the site you have 4 practice tests which you can take in real time or print off as a PDF and study at your own pace. They also have a section that details all the areas that will be covered in the test and provide you with basic explanations and a few practice exercises to make it clearer.

The concept of this book is a good one, but it is massively let down by the unforgivable errors that should never get past a proof reader before publication. I suspect in a couple of editions time this may well be a valuable source once they have eradicated the mistakes, but for now, from my own experience, I wouldn't bother with this one.

As I was working my way through the book I began to notice errors in their answers. The very fact that I had to buy this book may lead you to question my reliability in highlighting errors in a maths book, but believe me, each time I came across a potential error I worked through it over and over and then showed it to friends and family more proficient at maths than me to be absolutely sure it was the book and not me. The errors were not sums done incorrectly, the methods in the book were always correct, but it was careless errors that, despite using the right method, gave the wrong answer. An example of this is in Chapter 9 on question 4 of the Easy Questions section. It asks you to work out how tall a pupil is in inches if he is 1.6 m tall and 2.5 cm to the inch. The answer in the book gives you a great method to work this out. The only problem is that the answer is dealing with a pupil whose height is 1.5m not 1.6m like the height given in the question. I wasted a long time working out why my answer wasn't coming to the answer in the book before realising this.

I didn't bother finishing the maths section of this book. I got to Chapter 12, by which point I had found around 7-8 errors and lost complete faith. When I was working with a sum I found difficult, I didn't know whether if it was my incorrect application of method or if they had made yet another mistake in the book.

Unfortunately all this book served to do was shake my confidence in maths rather than solidify it. Probably the best resource I have come across is actually what the direct gov site provide you with. On the site you have 4 practice tests which you can take in real time or print off as a PDF and study at your own pace. They also have a section that details all the areas that will be covered in the test and provide you with basic explanations and a few practice exercises to make it clearer.

The concept of this book is a good one, but it is massively let down by the unforgivable errors that should never get past a proof reader before publication. I suspect in a couple of editions time this may well be a valuable source once they have eradicated the mistakes, but for now, from my own experience, I wouldn't bother with this one.

ByAmazon Customeron 7 December 2013

I'm not in the habit of making negative reviews, but I think in this case it is necessary, especially if you are viewing this book with a view to purchasing it to boost your confidence for the test, as I was.

I will admit that the book starts off well, gives clear explanations of concepts and tries to provide a variety of ways of demonstrating potentially difficult ideas to help all different learning types. I appreciated this most in the maths section as I lack the most confidence in this area. The other thing the book has going for it is the amount of practise questions it provides. I have always found, in maths especially, that the way to understand and recognise concepts in an exam is to complete as many practise questions as possible.

However, when I checked my answers, I found some of my answers were wrong, but I couldn't understand why. I didn't want to assume I had missed something and move on, as that would defeat the point of learning the skills. I continued to show my working for these questions to my husband, who has a degree in mathematics, and he confirmed the answers given in the book were incorrect.

We then proceeded to work through answers together, to find that in some cases, the questions would, for example, ask for an answer as a percentage, but would show only some answers in the back with a percentage sign, others without. Others answers would just be incorrect and others would be missing vital information. The final straw which led me to write this review was the following explanation for transposing equations: "Take the following formula for example: x = y + y. To make y the subject of the formula, subtract z from both sides of the equation to leave y on its own: x - z = y + z - z." Anyone reading this without someone to confirm an error in the book could be stuck for hours trying to understand where on earth "z" comes into it!

For a book which people will be purchasing to refresh their memory from GCSEs (for many, a long time ago), this is, in my opinion, very sloppy and unacceptable. It will only serve to confuse further and instil doubt for the all important test.

All in all, I would probably steer clear of this book and stick to the practise papers on the government website.

I will admit that the book starts off well, gives clear explanations of concepts and tries to provide a variety of ways of demonstrating potentially difficult ideas to help all different learning types. I appreciated this most in the maths section as I lack the most confidence in this area. The other thing the book has going for it is the amount of practise questions it provides. I have always found, in maths especially, that the way to understand and recognise concepts in an exam is to complete as many practise questions as possible.

However, when I checked my answers, I found some of my answers were wrong, but I couldn't understand why. I didn't want to assume I had missed something and move on, as that would defeat the point of learning the skills. I continued to show my working for these questions to my husband, who has a degree in mathematics, and he confirmed the answers given in the book were incorrect.

We then proceeded to work through answers together, to find that in some cases, the questions would, for example, ask for an answer as a percentage, but would show only some answers in the back with a percentage sign, others without. Others answers would just be incorrect and others would be missing vital information. The final straw which led me to write this review was the following explanation for transposing equations: "Take the following formula for example: x = y + y. To make y the subject of the formula, subtract z from both sides of the equation to leave y on its own: x - z = y + z - z." Anyone reading this without someone to confirm an error in the book could be stuck for hours trying to understand where on earth "z" comes into it!

For a book which people will be purchasing to refresh their memory from GCSEs (for many, a long time ago), this is, in my opinion, very sloppy and unacceptable. It will only serve to confuse further and instil doubt for the all important test.

All in all, I would probably steer clear of this book and stick to the practise papers on the government website.

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ByDavid Moxonon 6 February 2014

I bought this to brush up on my skills for the professional skills test. It was ok for the literacy, but the numeracy section is riddled with mistakes. Even if the mistakes weren't there it would still be mediocre as the guidance and explanations offered are poor.

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ByMiss Philippa Najmanon 18 April 2014

Please take note, the reviewers who have given this book a high rating bought the book for someone else! The numeracy section is littered with mistakes, the worst one I have found, 10^0 = 0 and stating "any number to the power of zero is zero"! (page 105). This is totally incorrect, any number to the power of zero equals 1. Do not trust this book for it's information or the answers and the text is less than clear. A regretted purchase!

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ByGPon 11 February 2016

My main problem with the book is that is is called 'How to Pass', but doesn't actually give any advice for this. It does not, for example, tell you that you have 18 seconds to do the mental arithmetic section of the exam or that this is audio (the questions are spoken not written). I had to start the book again on finding this out, trying to do the questions faster and all in my head (it takes longer if you write it down). I am currently working under the assumption that the 'easy questions' are the mental maths ones and the harder ones are the other ones, but I have no idea about this as the book tells you NOTHING about this. This is particularly unhelpful if, like me, your mental maths is still counting on your fingers.

The maths section also has mistakes, so you can't trust the answers and have to use a calculator to check if you or the book if correct. There aren't loads of mistakes, but there are enough that instead of just accepting I have it wrong, I check first.

The literacy section is also lacking in the 'how to pass' area. The exercise for spellings, for example, is not indicative of what you get in the actual test, unless you are deaf. I do understand that they can't (without including a CD) have audio spellings, but as choosing the correct spelling out of a list is easier than just spelling it (for me anyway), I would have appreciated them mentioning that spellings were audio. The grammar and punctuation sections are, however, quite helpful, and the spellings listed are the sorts of words you do need to know.

Basically, the methods are fine and it is generally helpful, but in terms of getting me ready for the tests and understanding 'how to pass' them, it is useless. I haven't tried other books, so I don't know if any others include the information.

The maths section also has mistakes, so you can't trust the answers and have to use a calculator to check if you or the book if correct. There aren't loads of mistakes, but there are enough that instead of just accepting I have it wrong, I check first.

The literacy section is also lacking in the 'how to pass' area. The exercise for spellings, for example, is not indicative of what you get in the actual test, unless you are deaf. I do understand that they can't (without including a CD) have audio spellings, but as choosing the correct spelling out of a list is easier than just spelling it (for me anyway), I would have appreciated them mentioning that spellings were audio. The grammar and punctuation sections are, however, quite helpful, and the spellings listed are the sorts of words you do need to know.

Basically, the methods are fine and it is generally helpful, but in terms of getting me ready for the tests and understanding 'how to pass' them, it is useless. I haven't tried other books, so I don't know if any others include the information.

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ByEmma Broadeyon 10 February 2014

I bought this book specifically to help with the maths section of the professional skills test.

It is a good book as it explains everything thoroughly from start to finish and allows you to remember maths you probably haven't done since you were about 13.

However, as I have gone through the book checking my answers against those written in the back I have found answers to be incorrect. This has not just happened once, I have found at least 5 incorrect answers and I am not even half way through the section.

Page 7 from example says

"2150235 would be read as one million one hundred and fifty thousand two hundred and thirty-five." I'm pretty sure any number beginning with a 2 cannot be read beginning with a 1....

Chapter one exercise 13 tells you to round 125 to the nearest 100, I wrote 100 but the book thinks the answer is 0....

Chapter nine "easy questions" number 4. Gives the answer to a question where the measurement is 1.5m when the question in the book used to measurement of 1.6m therefore the answer is incorrect.

Chapter ten question 6a informs me that 7x0 is in fact 7, thus changing everything I ever new about x0 questions. The answer is therefore completely wrong and 0+0+0+0+0+0+0 = 0 and not 7.

These are just some of the mistakes I have noticed and I have no doubt there are more.

This book is okay but it comes with a warning; check your answers on a calculator, trust that your own maths skills are good enough or ask a friend. The book is not always right!

It is a good book as it explains everything thoroughly from start to finish and allows you to remember maths you probably haven't done since you were about 13.

However, as I have gone through the book checking my answers against those written in the back I have found answers to be incorrect. This has not just happened once, I have found at least 5 incorrect answers and I am not even half way through the section.

Page 7 from example says

"2150235 would be read as one million one hundred and fifty thousand two hundred and thirty-five." I'm pretty sure any number beginning with a 2 cannot be read beginning with a 1....

Chapter one exercise 13 tells you to round 125 to the nearest 100, I wrote 100 but the book thinks the answer is 0....

Chapter nine "easy questions" number 4. Gives the answer to a question where the measurement is 1.5m when the question in the book used to measurement of 1.6m therefore the answer is incorrect.

Chapter ten question 6a informs me that 7x0 is in fact 7, thus changing everything I ever new about x0 questions. The answer is therefore completely wrong and 0+0+0+0+0+0+0 = 0 and not 7.

These are just some of the mistakes I have noticed and I have no doubt there are more.

This book is okay but it comes with a warning; check your answers on a calculator, trust that your own maths skills are good enough or ask a friend. The book is not always right!

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ByDonna Hargreaveson 9 July 2015

There are a lot of mistakes which, as Joe said, isn't great for those of us using this book to brush up on our skills. That said, I did find the book useful as a starting area on numeracy as it at least gave me an idea of what type of questions I could expect to asked.

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Bycanjamon 20 December 2013

This book did not support me through the tests. It made me more anxious, than I was to start. The tone is harsh and abrupt.

It made me feel under pressure!

Best to find alternative preparation methods, if you are struggling to get to grips with the tests.

It made me feel under pressure!

Best to find alternative preparation methods, if you are struggling to get to grips with the tests.

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Bymaisie homeon 4 March 2014

I bought this book hoping it would help, however with the amount of mistakes in the book I am worried to revise for my tests. It is very confusing at times and I struggled with it massively.

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ByBethany Cleaveron 9 November 2014

This book was not useful to me in any way. It has a lot of Maths and English that are not relevant to the skills test, and it made me more flustered about taking the test. Some of the questions are wrong, and I had to spend time figuring out why my answer didn't match up when I was sure I'd done everything right.

Instead I used Hegarty Maths online - he is brilliant.

Instead I used Hegarty Maths online - he is brilliant.

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