Functional Skills For University

Functional skills can be very important for University. They can help you succeed in your studies, or may very well be requirements for you to secure a place on a university course.

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Functional Skills For University

Most university courses will require a combination of A Levels or a Level 3 equivalent qualifications for you to secure a place on one of their courses. In addition, they will expect you to have GCSE or Level 2 equivalent qualifications in English and Maths at grade C/4 or above.

At Pass Functional Skills we are used to helping students complete their Maths and English Level 2 qualifications. You can find resources to help with your revision on our website, which you can access through the links below.

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What are Functional Skills?

Functional skills qualifications in Maths and English demonstrate that you possess the essential skills necessary for academic success and beyond. Functional Skills provide students with the tools to communicate effectively, make informed decisions, and solve problems. All level 2 Functional Skills qualifications are equivalent to grade 4/C at GCSE.

If you don’t already have Functional Skills or GCSE qualifications in Maths and English, you will likely need to obtain these qualifications before you apply for university. While a minority of courses may accept students without Level 2 competency in Maths and English, the majority will not.

Whether you have a university course in mind or are still weighing up your options, it can be a good idea to get a head start and complete your Functional Skills, so you are ready to apply. These skills will also help you achieve success at university.

Can You Get Into University with Functional Skills?

Most universities accept Functional Skills Level 2 qualifications as part of their admission criteria.

To be accepted to, and successfully complete, university level education, you will need skills in literacy and numeracy. Specifically, universities will want to see that you have GCSE level or equivalent qualifications in Maths and English. If you don’t already have GCSEs in Maths and English, this is where Functional Skills come in.

Functional Skills Level 2 are equivalent to a GCSE pass grade. Here are some popular courses that require you to have GCSE or equivalent grades in Maths and English.

Medicine: Usually require GCSEs in both English and Maths.

Engineering courses: Often require GCSE Maths.

Teaching courses: Typically require GCSEs in both English and Maths.

These are just the most popular courses – it is likely that most university courses will look for GCSE and equivalent qualifications in Maths and English.

Benefits of Functional Skills

As they are equivalent qualifications, you may be wondering what are the benefits of Functional Skills Level 2 over GCSEs. Here are the key differences:

  • Functional Skills can be taken online, GCSEs must be sat in person

  • Functional Skills exams run all year round, GCSE exams only run twice a year

  • Functional Skills are typically quicker to complete than GCSEs

  • Functional Skills focus on practical skills in Maths and English you can you apply to day-to-day

  • Functional Skills can be studied online, making them more flexible


The Functional Skills Maths qualification requires you to sit and pass a 2 hour exam. The exam is sat virtually with an online invigilator, and is split up into 2 parts; a 30 minute non-calculator section and a 90 minute calculator section. Once you have passed this exam then you will receive your certification to show that you have achieved your Functional Skills Maths qualification, which you can use as proof of Maths competency when applying to university.

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The Functional Skills English qualification consists of three components. These components are sat as separate exams, so you will sit 3 exams in total for your English Functional Skills qualification. These components are reading, writing and SLC (speaking, listening and communication). The reading and writing exams are both 1 hour long, commonly sat one after the other in a 2 hour slot. The SLC is usually sat separately and takes around 2 hours.

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