how to spell: QTS spelling test – ways to spell difficult words

May 11, 2020

More QTS spelling tests & QTS Spelling Strategies Workbook –
Plus over-the-shoulder punctuation videos
Teachers need to know how to spell but they also need to know the reasons why spelling is the way it is, the rules and exceptions, the patterns the strategies to help them teach them to kids and to be able to answer difficult questions about spellings

achievable, compulsory, negligible, justifiably, exaggerated. These are some of the words in the test that the government think teachers need to write automatically. Can you spell these words without using a dictionary or spellcheck or without writing them down a few times first? No? Of course you can’t. I was struggling with these spelling. Why? Because I don’t use these words in everyday situations or even in my teaching so they’re not automatically available to me in my brain but being a bit of a “spelling expert” I can use various spelling strategies to help.

From studying the tests, it seems the key points that this QTS test is trying to do is to test teachers on their knowledge of how words are built with prefixes and suffixes, they’re testing spelling rules (which we all know are treacherous and there are always exceptions but they insist on the i before e except after c rule) and knowing various letter patterns – with -ance/ ant/ ence/ ent, and ible/able

It’s such an unfair test but I see why they’re making teachers do it. But it’s only useful if teachers are actually learning some key spelling rules and strategies for spelling that are useful for you as a teacher and can help students with.

Strategies to help in the test: use these: memory tricks, syllable breakdown, letter patterns, phonics, spelling rules, prefixes, suffixes we’ll discuss these after the test and use examples from the test. Let’s see if you can use these in the following quick test of some words you may encounter in the test.
Ready for the test?

They actually give you the word in context in a sentence. you read the sentence and press a player and a voice tells you the word to spell.
There are 5 words ready with a pen and paper I’m going to be quick if too quick pause the player.

1. achievable
2. compulsory
3. negligible
4. justifiably
5. exaggerated

OK we’ll go over the spellings and strategies to remember the words, rules and what to look out for which help you to stop you panicking in the test

1. achievable = such a buzz word in education and jobs – but spelling wise quite interesting – you’ve got the complicated suffix endings ible able, then you’ve got 2 rules going on in this word: the “drop the ‘e’ rule” with a vowel suffix – achieve + able- achievable, and the “i before e except after c” rule . (but there are always exceptions to rules – noticeable, hireable, sizeable, likeable – keep the ‘e’)

2. compulsory, as in complusory education(they’re testing your knowledge of letter patterns and your visual memory is it ery or ory or ary?) you could use syllable breakdown com /pul /so / ry say slow exaggerated and visualise it. com pul so ry or use a memory trick: sorry it’s compulsory –

3. negligible, – testing your ible/able use syllable breakdown neg/li/gi/ble notice the two i’s li/gi or neg li / gi ble come up with a memory trick and make it fun, enjoy coming up with tricks

4. justifiably = testing your suffix ending rules

we have the root word justify +ably: change the the y to i with -ably = justifi + ably = justifiably,

you could use syllable breakdown = jus /ti/ fi/ ably, (see the two i’s)
In the QTS test commentary they say: “Think of the root justify, lose the final ‘y’ and replace it with ‘iably'” justif + iably

5. exaggerated Are there two g’s, two r’s? The ‘ex’ sounds like “eggs!” Can you see the 2 g’s in eggs – use that memory trick to remember that there are two g’s in exaggerated exaggerate + d = exaggerated. A memory trick could be: “I ate two extra eggs = exaggerated

Key to passing the test to stop you panicking in the test

1. Use memory tricks

2. Use syllable breakdown to break a word down into small chunks by sounding it out slowly and exaggerated

3. Use your knowledge of suffixes and prefixes when spelling long words

4. think of the spelling rules – drop the ‘e’, doubling up 1:1:1 rule, i before e rule

5. Notice the patterns and vowels in the words.

6. Use Look Say Cover Write Check to help learn the words.

7. Rely on your visual memory – can you see /visualise the word?

8. Another great strategy is knowing why English is the way it is, the history behind it so you can answer those difficult questions

For more tests and info go to my website click on the teachers link and QTS.

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