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Everyday English 1
Everyday English 1

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6.5 Guidance on reading assessments

This section specifically introduces the reading assessments for Functional Skills English Level 1 and Essential Skills Wales Communication Level 1. However, if you are not studying for these qualifications you will still find the activity useful, so please read through the section and try out Activity 47.

Functional Skills English Level 1 reading assessments

The way you approach the reading assessments is really important. You can know all the things you need to know, but if you are unfamiliar with the assessment you may not be able to show your knowledge and skills.

Different examining organisations use different formats for their assessments. This means that there can be different styles of questions or a different number of questions, or the total mark can be different. However, some things are the same and so general guidance can be given.


In a Functional Skills English Level 1 reading assessment you will be required to read and answer questions on two different texts. The topics of these texts could be anything, but they generally relate to the real world in some way. They will be based on situations or subjects that should not be completely unfamiliar to you, such as work, interests or hobbies.

Available marks

Regardless of the type of question or the topic, you will be told how many marks each question is worth. It is important that you consider this information and ensure that your answer is detailed or complete enough to get all the marks. For example, if a question is worth four marks the answer will need to contain four things. This could be four separate pieces of information or two answers and two bits of evidence from the text.

Question formats

Different examining organisations use different types of questions. The two main types of questions you will come across are multiple choice and those that need short written answers.

In both cases you need to take care with your answers and check you have given the answer you intended. In answering multiple choice questions, it is very easy to tick the wrong box. It is also likely that two answers will be quite similar and therefore hard to choose between. If you can eliminate the two that are almost certainly wrong, you give yourself a better chance of working out the correct answer.

It is important with questions that need short written answers that you only give the information required. If four facts are needed, write down four facts. If you don’t need to explain something in detail, don’t. Lots of waffle could lead to you losing marks rather than picking up extras.

Essential Skills Wales Communication Level 1 reading assessment

The Essential Skills Level 1 Communication qualification consists of two parts: a confirmatory test and a controlled task.

  • In the confirmatory test, you are asked to read documents and answer multiple choice questions on them.

  • The controlled task also assesses your reading skills, alongside your speaking and listening and writing skills. In the controlled task, you have to read two given documents (of about 250 words) and pick out the main points, such as by highlighting and/or making notes. You use the information from one of the documents to take part in a discussion and complete a piece of writing of about 250 words. You use the information from the other document in a second piece of writing.

Activity 47 Practising assessment questions

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes

Read the following text, which you first read earlier on in this session, and answer the questions.

Smoke alarms for the home

Smoke alarms are cheap, easy to get hold of and, used properly, they are lifesavers. There’s no excuse for not having one.

Smoke alarms save lives. David and Michelle Clarke and their two young children owe their lives to their smoke alarms. In April 2018, an electrical fault started a fire in their home while the family were asleep. Luckily, the smoke triggered the smoke alarms fitted in both the downstairs and upstairs hallways and the family escaped safely. ‘I can’t believe that some people still don’t have smoke alarms’, adds Dave. ‘What’s £5 when it comes to your family’s lives?’

A smoke alarm is a warning device that detects smoke at the earliest stages of a fire. If there is a fire in your home it sounds a piercing alarm to warn you. Many people killed in house fires are asleep at the time. A smoke alarm will wake you up and give you vital extra time to escape.

Smoke alarms cost from as little as £5. They are available from DIY stores, electrical shops, many supermarkets and other high-street retailers.

Many people believe that if you are living in rented accommodation the landlord has the responsibility for fitting and testing smoke alarms. This is not completely accurate; your safety is your responsibility. Your landlord must fit the smoke alarms but you need to test them monthly to make sure you are protected.

There are several models of smoke alarm to choose from. The officers from the local fire service will always be happy to help you to choose the best one for your home. Whichever kind you choose look out for the British Standard Kitemark so that you know it is manufactured to the highest standards, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions when fitting the smoke alarm.

1. What does the text say many people are doing when they are killed in fires? (1 mark)


Testing smoke alarms







The correct answer is b.

2. What three pieces of advice does the text give about ensuring your smoke alarms are fit for purpose? (3 marks)

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  1. Test them monthly.
  2. Buy alarms that have the British Kitemark.
  3. Follow manufacturer’s guidance when fitting.