What are Functional Skills?

What are Functional Skills?

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PFS Team June 11, 2022

What is Functional Skills useful for?

A level 2 functional skills qualification is the equivalent to a GCSE grade 4 (C), this means it is widely accepted as an alternative to having a GCSE. Often when applying for universities, apprenticeships or further education you will find that they require a level 2 in maths and/or English. Functional skills exams contain significantly less content than a traditional GCSE. Thus making them ideal for adult learners with busy schedules and for those who require their level 2 certificate quickly.

Another great thing about level 2 maths and English is they run year round. Unlike GCSEs which are only run twice a year and must be sat at an exam centre, functional skills can be taken anytime and from the comfort of your own home. Here at Pass Functional Skills, we run both maths and English functional skills exams Monday to Saturday at a range of different times. So we will be able to find a time that suits you.


What are Functional Skills?

Functional skills meaning: Functional skills refers to a set of essential skills that employers and universities see as crucial. These include numeracy, problem solving, literacy, communication and critical thinking. Therefore, a functional skills qualification helps to display competency in skills essential to success in education or the workplace.



Functional skills maths can be taken at level 1 or 2. The majority of employers and universities ask for at least a level 2 as it is a GCSE equivalent, level 1 falls just below a GCSE. The content on the exam is split up into 3 overall sections: using numbers, common measures, shapes & space and handling information & data. You can take a look at these topics in more detail here. The topics are assessed across the calculator and non-calculator sections of the two hour exam.

We offer a comprehensive course which covers everything you need to know for your exam. Each topic has 3 tasks to help you get to grips with it:

  • Revision – This runs you though the content in the topic, with videos from our maths experts.
  • Practice Questions – These multiple choice questions test what you have learnt from the revision. Additionally, they have easy, medium and hard modes so you can build the difficulty.
  • Topic Tests – Exam-style questions that help you prepare for the types of questions you may be faced with.

Within the course, there is also an abundance of mock exams to help you prepare as your exam date approaches.

Find out more about the maths courses and exams we have available using the links below.

Maths Level 2 Exam

Maths Level 2 Course



A qualification in English functional skills can provide a stepping stone to further education or new employment opportunities. The English course is split up in a similar way to the maths one with revision, practice questions and topic tests. You will need to take in order to get your English qualification. These are reading, writing and SLC (speaking, listening and communication), the content in the course in split up accordingly. Each exam assesses a different skill, the course is designed to help you practise these knowing which exam it is where you will be tested on a specific skill.

As a result of the recent rise of AI, we have started to incorporate this into our mock exams. Basically, this means that long-form answers are marked for you and given feedback.

Use the links below to find out a bit more information on our English courses and exams.

English Level 2 Exam

English Level 2 Course



Hopefully we have answered the question ‘What are functional skills?’, but if you still have some questions or want to talk to one of our team about booking your exam, please fill out the form below and one of our support team will be in touch.


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Likewise, you can give us a call on 020 4574 9155.

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Written by

Pass Functional Skills Team

We help thousands of students each year with revision, courses and online exams.