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Skills for Life Entry 1

Skills for Life is changing.

Please go to the ESOL Skills for Life (QCF) page for information on preparing and booking the new QCF Skills for Life exams from January 2015. The information on this page relates to the older NQF framework exams.


Entry 1 is suitable for learners who can do things such as:

  • listen and respond to requests for basic personal information (eg give contact details, express likes and dislikes); ask simple questions to obtain basic information
  • read and understand very simple written statements, questions and instructions (eg on signs, forms, notes); produce letter forms correctly and write short, simple sentences about current activities
  • use language items such as: present tense of common verbs; common adjectives; can for ability; Wh- questions; word order in simple sentences; personal pronouns; use of capital letters and full stops

Entry 1 can be taken as a standalone Speaking & Listening exam or a four-skills exam in reading, writing, speaking and listening.

Download a one page overview of the exam structure (PDF, 144KB) 

Download the Entry 1 syllabus (PDF, 106KB)  


Speaking & Listening exam videos

These were filmed under real exam conditions with genuine candidates – they’re not model performances. You should have the marks and rationales document (PDF, 355KB) to hand, as this gives the marks awarded and the reasons behind them. The Speaking and Listening Performance Descriptors (PDF, 196KB) are used to assess a candidate’s performance against the syllabus requirements.



The exams have changed slightly since the older videos were made so their content may not match the current syllabus exactly.

Sample Maps

As part of Task 2, candidates follow directions given by the examiner to places marked on a map.

Sample map A (PDF, 469KB)

Sample map B (PDF, 467KB)


Reading: past papers and answer keys

July 2012 paper (PDF, 138KB) and answer key (PDF, 74KB)

June 2010 paper (PDF, 68KB) and answer key (PDF, 8KB)

June 2009 paper (PDF, 55KB) and answer key (PDF, 15KB)

You’ll find older papers in our resources archive.


Writing: past papers

July 2012 paper (PDF, 104KB)

June 2010 paper (PDF, 37KB)

June 2009 paper (PDF, 49KB)

You’ll find older papers in our resource archive.


Writing: sample answers

Candidate A (PDF, 58KB)

Candidate B (PDF, 72KB)

These are genuine candidate answers, not model answers. Review them with the marks and rationales document (PDF, 355KB) as this gives the marks awarded and the reasons behind them.

The Writing Exam Performance Descriptors (PDF, 438KB) are uset to assess a candidate’s performance against the syllabus requirements.

ESOL Skills for Life: Entry 1 is fully accredited by Ofqual – download the Ofqual qualification titles and codes (PDF, 230KB)

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