Monday, 8 October 2012

How to pass Functional Skills English

This post is inspired by the search terms that bring people to my blog. A couple of people have been looking for "How to pass Functional Skills English Level 2". I thought I would deliver what they're looking for. Every little helps.

Functional skills is different to GCSE English. It's about your writing skills in response to a text. What they are looking for is:

  • That you write the right kind of document. If they ask you to write an email, they expect your answer to look like an email. The same goes for a letter, forum post, article of report. Research the types of texts that your exam board may ask you to write, and then practice writing these. 
  • In the reading exam, they don't just want one-word answers, or you to write out a quote from the text. You need to use your common sense and paraphrase information to show you know what it means. 
  •  You need to write with some detail. If the question is asking what features are used, you need to explain these. For instance, you could write 'They have used bullet points. This breaks information up so it is easier to read.'
  • Everything you write needs to have structure and detail. You must have a logical structure and give examples and detail. They question may be asking you to write a letter of complaint about changes to a bus route. You need to provide logical points with detail and information. Each idea should be in one paragraph.
  • Spelling, grammar and using the correct types of words are marked in Functional Skills. Don't confuse your homophones (there, their and they're) and don't write sentences that just go on and on and on. Use a range of sentence structures, but make sure they are grammatically correct. This is harder than it sounds: many people make errors that they don't even know they are making. Look into run-on sentences, apostrophes and the differences between 'its' and 'it's'.
If you do all this: you should be able to pass Functional Skills. The course is designed to test your writing skills, so don't expect to pass it unless your grammar and spelling is of a good standard. If it isn't, work on this and seek help. If you are studying Functional Skills, good luck and let me know how you do!


Natalie Gigi Wong said...

I did this Functional Skills English level two thing when I was in year nine! It was actually quite fun, I found it more interesting than the actual GCSE syllabus!
Has it changed over the past couple of years?

Lucinda Harrington said...

I'm not sure, I've only been teaching it for a couple of years. I don't think it's changed much over the years though.

It can be fun, but I prefer teaching the GCSE. I think because the GCSE has deadlines throughout the year to work towards, but the Functional skills is just an exam at the end. The students tend to lose interest part way through.

Rosie Francis said...

Hello! I only just noticed your comment. I'm really glad you enjoy the blog, perhaps we should collaborate on something or maybe even do a podcast, but these are probably just pipe dreams...

Loving reading the posts of a teacher, and I particularly like your mantras, I may even adopt some myself. Hope you're well.

Anonymous said...

I failed my writing but I have a reset today so I have read this and I'm feeling very confident now thanks

Anonymous said...

I got my resit for reading tomorrow (this is my 2nd resit) and not feeling very confident :(