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Anyone done Functional skills tests?

(20 Posts)
missyB1 Tue 04-Sep-18 10:16:41

So I'm 50 and retraining to work in childcare. I've been taken on as an apprentice in a private school tin their Nursery class. As part of the apprenticeship I have to do functional skills courses in English ICT and Maths, the apprentice hub said the courses will be at level 3! Eeek! I'm terrified, I've bought some books to help me and they've given me some past papers for the maths , but maths really is my nemesis. And of course its over 30 years since I was at school!

Has anyone taken these tests and could tell me honestly how bad it is?

OP’s posts: |
BlitzenandMikey Thu 06-Sep-18 18:15:38

Can't help I am afraid but I have also seen an apprentice nursery assistant job advertised and I am 47.

Level 3. Would that be eqivalent to GCSE A-C or what ever it is now?
Could you not google functional skills Maths etc and see what the questions are like at L3? Hopefuly they can help you with reach the the level you need to be.

How are you finding the work? Are you paid the minimum wage at least? What is it like being a mature apprentice? Do you have to work 40 hours a week? Sory for all the questions, I am just debating whether to apply for the role I have seen!


LumpSatAloneInABoggyMarsh Thu 06-Sep-18 18:31:53

What qualification are you working towards in childcare?

colditz Thu 06-Sep-18 18:34:42

LEVEL 3 is equivalent to A level however you only need level 2 Maths and English to get onto the course, and that is a GCSE C grade (or above)

colditz Thu 06-Sep-18 18:35:37

No, mature apprentices do not receive the minimum wage, they receive the princely sum of £3.70 an hour minimum

BlitzenandMikey Thu 06-Sep-18 18:45:28

£3.70 an hour for mature apprentices? Well that knocks that on the head then!

colditz Thu 06-Sep-18 18:53:38

It's dire

However, it least my kids still get a free school meal <<grasps at straws>>

missyB1 Thu 06-Sep-18 20:57:47

So the qualification will be a level 3 diploma in early years education. Right I’m going to tell them I only want to sit level 2 functional skills. I’m struggling with revision for the tests, working 32 hours a week and doing the assignments for the course.

OP’s posts: |
tshirtsuntan Thu 06-Sep-18 21:02:11

The functional skills part is compulsory now but at one level lower than your vocational course, so for a level three in early years you need to sit exams in level two maths, literacy and ICT. Ive recently completed them, hated maths at school but with practice it went well. I bought study books from Waterstones which really helped (can't remember the brand but the maths level two is a green a4 size book).

missyB1 Thu 06-Sep-18 21:11:55

Thanks tshirt I have bought some practice books from Amazon, I could only buy level 2 books anyway couldn’t find level 3. I’m seriously worried about the maths, im particularly useless at things like Algebra and Angles!

OP’s posts: |
tshirtsuntan Thu 06-Sep-18 21:16:38

They don't cover algebra, as it's "functional" it's supposed to be things you would need to know in normal life- if you were unfortunate enough to be needing to calculate the volume of something random whilst stranded without the internet- grin it's not as bad as you fear, have a look at the past papers, they will have a question from every type you'll be expected to know. Good luck.

tshirtsuntan Thu 06-Sep-18 21:18:34

As an apprentice you should get tutor sessions on your functional skills as well as your main coursework, they were quite helpful too.

Standstilling Thu 06-Sep-18 21:19:55

Yes, you need Level 2 maths, ICT and English for a Level 3 apprenticeship. They are waaaay easier than a full GCSE. In maths you get marks for the right answer, but also for showing your working out.

For IT the test will be based around Microsoft Office so if you can use Word, Powerpoint etc you are halfway there.

Your apprenticeship provider (not your employer but the training provider) should be providing you with teaching to get you up to Level 2; you should not have to do it yourself.

Also, if you already have O levels/GCSEs in maths and English, these should exempt you form having to sit the tests. You have to provide your certificates though.

Your training provider is likely to be claiming funding for the FS part of your apprentice, so don't let them fob you off with no training!

Needsomezzzz Thu 06-Sep-18 21:21:36

There are some great books for Functional skills and it's based around questions you may experience in life. For example you are planning a holiday and which deal is the cheapest - 1 might have 20% the other 1/3 so you'd work it out and give answer.
Also you need either GCSE A-C or the new equivalent or Functional skills level 2 in both English and Maths for your Level 3 to be recognised by Ofsted and counted in ratio etc.
Good luck! Sure you will be fine x

missyB1 Thu 06-Sep-18 21:44:12

Thanks everyone, the apprenticeship hub are giving me a 3 day course for each test. I did get O levels over 30 years ago but don’t have the certificates anymore as I’ve moved house at least 10 times (including living abroad) since then!
Will just have to get my head down and work hard.

OP’s posts: |
ReturnfromtheStars Thu 06-Sep-18 22:10:32

Hi missyB1,

Practice is very important in maths, so best is to get yourself through some past papers. You have to find out which exam board you are with and download and solve their past papers. (E.g. AQA past papers are here:

Also, half of Maths is English as you have to read and understand the questions. So if you are good in English, you are halfway there smile You might even find, that your extra 30 years of life experience made you better in maths than you ever were before.

Youtube is your other friend, e.g. However, even on youtube, best to search for exam papers from your own exam board and check comments first to see if others found it useful.

borntobequiet Thu 06-Sep-18 22:24:34

They will be Level 2 qualifications.
You should do initial and diagnostic assessments in Maths and English to find what level you are currently working at and ideally should have access to suitable online resources and support to improve skills and understanding before being prepared for the exams. If your provider does not do this, you are being let down. The BKSB resource is widely used and I have seen it dramatically improve people’s confidence and competence.
Level 2 Maths does involve some algebra but only substituting numbers in formulas and understanding order of operations (BODMAS/BIDMAS, though I avoid using these mnemonics as they tend to cause problems for many people). You need to be able to find circumference and area of a circle and volume of a cylinder, but are usually given the formulas.
Returning to learning as an adult can be frightening at first but immensely rewarding (I did my degree as a mature student with small children, so I know). Good luck and enjoy your apprenticeship.

RomanyRoots Thu 06-Sep-18 22:31:18

I have, well similar.
I just scraped a pass but have sn, it was the best day of my life.
I have a degree and PG quals including PgCE. Don't worry, I've never taught children, nor should I be allowed to.
It just goes to show that some people struggle with GCSE's.
You will be fine, honestly. if I can do it anyone can, I promise you.
You will have lots of support and guidance by people/teachers whose job it is to help you.
Good luck. thanks

missyB1 Fri 07-Sep-18 07:38:37

You are wonderful people thank you, part of what makes it so scary is not being part of a group or class, I’m doing this on my own although my assessor is good at keeping in touch. I’ve got a couple of past papers for the maths which are terrifying but ultimately helpful!

OP’s posts: |
Standstilling Fri 07-Sep-18 10:01:05

Forgot to say - if you are doing City and Guilds tests, they have quite a few past papers on their website. Good luck!

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