English Functional Skills - Reading Top Tips

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This month's Functional Skills blog focuses on the issues around reading tests, providing you with ten top tips for how to prepare for the exam. 

Top Tips

  1. Pay attention to the wording of the question. If candidates are asked to explain or describe something, the examiners are looking for more than just a simple list.
  2. It’s a test of your reading skills - candidates must make sure the answer is taken from the documents rather than from your own ideas or experience.
  3. Look at how many marks are allocated to a question. For questions with more than one mark, candidates should provide sufficient detail. Candidates can prepare for this by working on practice materials that require detailed answers.
  4. Don’t waste time writing in full sentences or on double checking correct spelling, punctuation or grammar. Candidates aren’t marked on these skills in the reading test. Do ensure that responses are legible and make sense though.
  5. Read the wording of multiple choice questions carefully – candidates may be asked to choose more than one response.
  6. Identify the purpose of a text. Do not give an overview or comment on the text that focuses on content. Answers should be limited to the purpose – for example: to advise about x, to persuade about y, to advertise and so on.
  7. Complete the paper. Candidates must answer all questions to give themselves the best chance of success. This could be an issue of time management/exam technique.
  8. Learners must infer meaning and use context clues to prepare for questions in exams. Preparation involves utilising information contained in texts, requiring candidates to interpret the information they have been given rather than simply find a piece of information in the document. Learning to infer meaning and use context clues would prepare candidates for these sorts of questions.
  9. Candidates should be prepared to identify features of texts by looking out for features that are deliberately written into the source documents which can include headings, subheadings, bulleted or numbered lists and images. Language features may include bias, persuasion, or humour.
  10. Some questions require candidates to identify language features which may include bias, persuasion or humour. It is important that learners are fully aware of the terms used before they sit these papers so that candidates have the knowledge needed to answer the question.

Test your Reading Skills by downloading the Gaming Questions using the link below. 

Reading Questions - Gaming