Maths Functional Skill Student Experience

David FS Maths

Click on the play button to hear David's interview:


In this episode I talk to David, one of our students who has studied the online functional skills at level 2 in maths. I will be asking about his experience of studying the course, what led him to study functional skills instead of a GCSE and what the experience of taking an online exam was like.

Hello David, thank you so much for taking part in this special podcast series. I'm going to talk to you about the Maths Functional Skills that you have studied.

For anyone that hasn’t heard of Functional Skills in maths, it is an alternative qualification to GCSE Maths and is equivalent of a GCSE Maths pass grade. It’s a nationally recognised qualification, accredited in this instance by awarding body: Open Awards. I think it’s really useful to know as well that students studying a functional skill, in either maths or English, do the course fully online, including the exam at the end of their studies.

So David, tell us about your general experience of taking the functional skills maths.

I’ve absolutely loved the course. I started in January and received my pass mark on 14th February so I’m over the moon. I think the course has been a very challenging experience, especially not being mathematically minded. Each module took you step by step through everything and didn’t let us rush forward, which I’ve got a tendency to do, so it didn’t try and learn absolutely everything at once. It helped me slow down and take my time. The modules are all done online which really offers that flexibility as well. The support I think I’ve received from academy online from that initial payment all the way through to my exam was absolutely fantastic. My tutor was Keiron for this functional skills package and he went above and beyond for me to understand elements that I was struggling in and he just always had that time to take you through, which helped take the pressure off when I was struggling. Yeah definitely it was a good experience.


"Fantastic and it’s definitely helped me massively"


Your background is interesting with being in the military as well as studying an online diploma with academy online learning. What led you to want to do this online maths instead of a GCSE?

I’ve definitely got a busy background to say the least. I’m an army reservist and an ambulance driver. So I am looking to do Para-medicine as well, definitely a hard one. Currently I am doing the access course with yourselves which I’m loving as well so I’ve got a lot going on. With that being said that’s why I did not do a GCSE course, I don’t think it would have fitted within my lifestyle. Its a year-long course which I didn’t really have that year extra to study. I’m already doing do much getting my maths, getting my English, getting this, getting that. It offered that little bit of flexibility in doing the maths with you and it worked out in the end because I’ve now got the right qualification that I need for the course. It’s only took us a month and a half to do it and I’m now ready to move on to my next bit which is fantastic and it’s definitely helped me massively.


Would you recommend it to other people that don’t have their GCSEs and have busy family commitments and work commitments and need to study from home?

Anyone who’s looking to do the course I definitely 100% recommend it. It is definitely a challenging course but it has got that flexibility. With the right support anyone can get through it. It’s really good. If anyone did want to do the GCSE option that’s fine as well. However, for me personally it suited me better to do it this way. It’s not necessarily an easier way but it’s definitely more flexible.


"Don’t wait for tomorrow, get it done today"


What advice would you give to potential students that are thinking of taking the maths functional skill?

My advice to anyone who wants to do the course is do it. Don’t wait for tomorrow, get it done today. Apply yourself, adapt as it’s not an easy course at all so it’s definitely going to be challenging. Use the support on there. I don’t think there was one day that I didn’t ring Keiron for something that was quite hard or whatever so definitely use that support it’s there. It’s a good way just ‘cos it’s on the screen, Keiron might have a little bit or whoever your tutor is, might have a better way of describing it or explaining it, so definitely use that support. Take your time, you can’t rush it because the platform doesn’t allow you to rush but take your time. Make sure you’re 100% happy before moving on to the next module. Be open minded as well. I kept telling myself I was going to fail and I set myself up to fail sometimes so just go with a nice open-mind. You’re not going to fail, you’re going to pass. You’re going to get the course and whatever you want to be. So it’s definitely been an experience to say the least. But there’s no reason why you couldn’t do it also!


Well David, thank you for taking part and congratulations on your excellent mark! All the best for your future in the health service.

Thank you so much, I really appreciate it.


For more information about Maths or English Functional Skills click HERE.