### QTS Maths Numeracy Skills Test

#### Reducing stress/revision help

These are your tips for reducing stress and remembering facts ...

• Blue-berries - are high in vitamin C, which researchers have found reduces the psychological and physical effects of stress by curbing the secretion of cortisol. It has also been shown to help people bounce back from stressful situations more quickly. And bonus: blueberries are rich with anthocyanin, which improves cognitive function and memory. They're also a source of potassium, which lowers blood pressure.
• Hearing Right is faster
Which ear is your strongest? Research has shown that when the right ear is the dominant ear for directing sound to the brain, we are better able to process what we hear. That's because it has a quicker route to the language centre in the left brain hemisphere than the left ear. Crucial for mental maths.
• The smell of grapefruit helps maths revision!
Anthony Padgett, owner of Memory Oils, told the Times Educational Supplement his dyslexic daughter, improved her grades by using a handkerchief soaked in grapefruit oil during her GCSEs. He said: "She was predicted Bs and Cs in her GCSEs. But she came out with A*, As and Bs. She puts it down to the oils."
Roger Pope, head of Kingsbridge Community College said: "Other than the fact that the exam hall will smell like a perfumery, I think it's nonsense.
Oct 2010
• Remove the pressure from the time-limited part of the qts maths test. Aim for only 3-4 marks in this part by using mental maths shortcuts. e.g. Divide by 5 means dividing by ten and then double the answer. Multiply by 4 means doubling and doubling again. Multiply by 5 means multiply by ten and then half the answer Get most of your marks from the 2nd part of the teston-screen questions.
• Mental arithmetic became easier after drinking large amounts of compounds found in chocolate, called flavanols, which work by increasing the flow of blood into the brain! Prof David Kennedy, a co-author of the study, said that drinking a hot cocoa drink could be beneficial for mentally challenging tasks.
April 2009
Brian Rice (A year in the life of a Graduate Teacher blog) says " I prepared for the test by drinking a large hot chocolate and passed. I don't know if one crack at the skills test with one hot chocolate constitutes empirical evidence about the efficacy of chocolate in problem solving - there are so many variables. Maybe you need to run a double blind trial using a range of Cadbury's Option! (Nov 2010)
• High-stress situations compete for the brains' working memory which is normally used for mental arithmetic. Hence stress reduces your mental arithmetic performance.
Sian L. Beilock, The University of Chicago

• Work in pairs with a whiteboard. Take it in turns to read mental maths questions twice and start scribbling stuff down during the second reading. Answer within the 18 second after the second reading.
• Break the stimulus-response link: reduce the kinaestetic sense.
Imagine that you are in a cinema watching the screen. You are watching a film of you doing the qts maths test. Make the film Black and White.

On the screen, you appear tense, but here in the cinema you don't feel that anxiety. Put a nice frame around the screen image. Make it fuzzy then sharp. Make it smaller until it pops into nothingness. Then bring it back to a size that you like.
Slow down the film and freeze it. Your image on the screen looks funny frozen! Now make the picture go backwards until your image on the screen goes out of the room. Start the film again this time as you watch you can see that the image of you on the screen seems less tense.

Listen to the sound of the questions that the person on the screen is hearing. Make the sound slower. That gives you on the film longer to answer. Give it the voice of donald duck. Watch yourself as you scribble working outs at super speeds on paper. You on the screen seems less stressed now.
• Electric current to the brain 'boosts maths ability' says Oxford University scientists. Apparently this could help people with dyscalculia. But it might cause concern with the test centre staff if you ask to be plugged in!