Writing: The Exam

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Writing: The Exam Revision

The Exam

You will need to understand what you will encounter in the exam.

This page will leave you feeling more prepared about the writing section!

Would you pass functional skills English level 2?

Why not test your knowledge now and see if you would pass. A score of around 60% means you would probably pass your functional skills English level 2. 

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You may be provided with a word count for each of the tasks.

The word count gives you a rough estimate of how much writing is expected for each question.


The time allowed on the front of the paper will also give you an estimate of the time you need to put in to each task.


For each task, there will also be an allocated set of marks:

  • The marks hint at the amount of information needed in your answer.
  • For example, if the question is 3 marks, usually 3 bits of information are needed.



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Planning will enable you to prepare your answer effectively. You can do this by writing down some notes in bullet point form.


This will enable your answer to have a clear structure (a beginning, middle and end).


A plan should be for rough notes only – so don’t spend too long on it!


Read the question carefully and multiple times. It may help to highlight key words in the question to answer it fully!



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Writing Effectively and Clearly

Look for any mistakes on spelling or grammar. Also the clarity of writing – make sure it can be understood. These areas make up 40% of the mark!


Use full sentences and paragraphs


Make sure that you answer the full question


Read through your answer to make sure it has a logical flow and that the points you have made add up and make sense



Checking your answer is helpful to ensure you are writing clearly and effectively.


Check that you have:

  • Answered both questions in the paper
  • Used different sentence types
  • Used an appropriate amount of detail



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Sophisticated Vocabulary Phrases


Using sophisticated vocabulary in your exam will help you to communicate effectively.


For contrast:

  • (Something) differs from/contrasts with (something else)


For similarities:

  • (Something) is similar to/is comparable to (something else)
  • Similarly/Likewise/In the same way


For patterns:

  • What is striking/What stands out/What can be seen clearly is…


For cause and effect:

  • (Something) may cause/can lead to/ can result in…
  • Resulting from/Stemming from…
  • Thereby, therefore, consequently, because of this


For moving on:

  • In this next section/I will continue/In the section that follows…
  • As explained earlier/As previously stated/As I mentioned earlier/As was pointed out…
  • Turning to/Moving on now to consider/Before thinking about (something), it is important to think about/Having discussed (something), I will now talk about…


For beginning:

  • I will argue that/discuss/analyse/explore/assess…


For discussing a source:

  • The writer highlights/mentions/questions whether/draws our attention to…


For concluding:

  • Overall/Considering all of this evidence/Taken together/Collectively…



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Question - How do I improve my chances of passing the level 2 English exam?

Answer – Subject knowledge assessment. This useful tool identifies the key areas of the exam you will need to work on in order to pass your level 2 exam for the first time. 

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Example: Question

”You recently went on a school trip to a theme park. The head of year has asked you to write a review of the day out which will be published in the school newsletter.


In your review, you should:

  • Say what you liked or disliked about the trip
  • Say how and why the trip could have been improved
  • Explain whether you should go back to the theme park or go somewhere different for the next school trip


Aim to write about 250 to 300 words (Level 2)

(25 marks)


Aim to write about 200 to 250 words (Level 1) 


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Example: Answer


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Example: Analysis of Answer

  • Clear structure

Paragraphs about each bullet point in the same order


  • Correct punctuation

Use of commas, exclamation marks, colons, full stops, full sentences


  • Good use of connectives and organisational markers

‘consequently’, ‘however’, ‘therefore’


  • Word count

Between the suggested amount


  • Lots of sentence types


  • Wide range of tenses

present (‘I believe’), past (‘I enjoyed’ + more) and future (‘I will be able to’ + more)


  • Writing is easy to follow and reads well


  • Writing is relevant to the question

Covers each bullet point adequately


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Additional Resources


Exam Tips Cheat Sheet

FS Level 2

Writing: The Exam Worksheet and Example Questions

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Writing: The Exam L2

FS Level 2NewOfficial PFS
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Writing: The Exam L1

FS Level 1NewOfficial PFS

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