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The BKSB Assessment: Practice Tests/Guide/Tips

Jan 17, 2023

This article covers the bksb online assessment. The test is designed to accurately assess English, math and ICT functional skills. These skills contribute to success in the workplace.

It is commonly used in the UK and Australia to determine a candidate’s current working level. It prepares test takers for the functional skills assessment.

Through the bksb online platform, candidates can access their tests, learning resources and further activities to improve their functional skills. 

In this article, you’ll learn more about the test, with a bksb guide and tips to help you succeed.

 Whichever test you need to take, you can practise the bksb assessment on TestHQ.

What Is the bksb Assessment?

The Basic and Key Skills Builder test (bksb) is used by thousands of education providers around the world. It measures English and math skills from pre-entry to level 2.

The bksb company is an award-winning creator of educational technology. Established over 20 years ago, it develops and supplies educational software to improve functional skills.

Functional skills in math, English and ICT are vital for further study, apprenticeships or in the workplace.

The paper-based or online assessment can be taken in educational settings or in the workplace.

Large companies, including British Gas and Harvey Nichols, have used the test to recruit junior level staff.

The bksb identifies a candidate’s current ability level and provides resources to cover gaps in learning.

Candidates for the online version are given a login to access the test. This may be linked to the education provider’s website.

On the first log in, candidates are asked to agree to terms and conditions and change their password. 

The Focus Functional Skills on the dashboard contains the bksb maths and English questions. These form the initial assessments.  

The levels tested are mapped to the functional skills standards for English and math.

bksb uses artificial intelligence to assess a candidate’s ability. This means the results are more accurate than similar tests that use grade boundaries to determine levels.

The bksb dashboard is intuitive and clear. This makes it easy for learners to track their progress through the learning pathway and achieve their potential.


What Is on the bksb Online Assessment?

The bksb online assessment incorporates five steps on the functional skills learning pathway. All test takers work through this comprehensive process.

All assessments and resources are located on the bksbLIVE2 learning platform. This can be easily accessed via laptops, desktops, mobiles and tablets. 


1. Initial Assessment

The bksb initial assessment is the first step in assessing functional skills.

It tests a candidate’s basic skills in math and English. It accurately determines a candidate’s levels in math and English.

The results are used to check candidates are enrolled on an appropriate course.

The questions are adaptive. This means the level of the next question adjusts as a result of a candidate’s performance on the previous question.

It can also be used as a test in the workplace. This determines the skills areas that employees need to improve or refresh.

It does not have a time limit for completion, so there is no time pressure. Progress is measured with the progress bar at the bottom of the screen.

It is used by education providers as a baseline assessment of math and English skills. The results are used to plan next learning steps.

The initial assessment takes an average of 20 minutes to complete. 

The English section tests competency in:

  • Spelling
  • Punctuation
  • Grammar
  • Sentence structure
  • Comprehension
  • Vocabulary

Some questions are multiple-choice. Others are comprehension questions based on a passage of text.

Comprehension questions test the ability to identify, understand and summarize key information.

Written responses test written English ability. You may be asked to write an article or letter using the correct format. 

The bksb maths Initial Assessment section tests the ability to use:

  • Addition
  • Subtraction
  • Multiplication
  • Division
  • Percentages
  • Fractions
  • Decimals
  • Number ordering

Some of the bksb maths assessment questions allow the use of a calculator, while others don't. This is clearly marked in the test.

There is no set number of questions in the initial assessment. This will vary between candidates due to the dynamic nature of the test.


2. bksb Diagnostic Assessment

The bksb diagnostic assessment is the second step in the assessment process for functional skills. 

This more comprehensive and interactive test identifies the specific subject areas in need of improvement.

The level of this test is determined by the results of the initial assessment.

The diagnostic assessment takes an average of 40 minutes to complete.

Your bksb test answers provide an accurate assessment of these areas:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPAG)
  • Data and statistics
  • Shape and space
  • Measures
  • Number

After completion of the test, candidates receive a percentage score, along with an individual learning plan. The plan identifies strengths and weaknesses to guide future learning.

Following the assessment, further learning resources can be accessed to fill skills gaps.

The diagnostic assessment can be used as continual professional development (CPD) in the workplace as well as for educational learning paths.


3. Learning Resources

After sitting the initial and diagnostic assessments, candidates are signposted to relevant learning resources.

These resources can be accessed from the online bksb dashboard.

They are targeted at those working between entry-level one to entry-level two.

The activities are designed to be engaging and help candidates fill gaps in their math and English skills.

The bksb learning resources are presented in audio and video format. This makes them fun and interactive.

The resources are self-marking, so progress can be easily tracked.

Paper versions of skills activities are also available. This means they can be used in educational classes or workplaces.


4. bksb Skill Checks

The skill checks are targeted at entry-level three to level three. They cover 150 different topics. 

The topics presented to candidates are based on the gaps identified in the previous assessments.

The exercises in the skill checks are based on the learning resources. They check a candidate’s progress as they work their way through the learning materials.

Answering these questions proves they have gained the skills practiced in the learning resources.


5. bksb Exam Practice

The exam practice section presents real-world scenarios linked to the functional skills practiced.

At level one and two, there are 24 different scenarios.

These include:

  • Going shopping
  • Booking a holiday
  • Event organization 

These activities make sure candidates are ready to sit an exam.

Whichever test you need to take, you can practise the bksb assessment on TestHQ.


bksb Assessment Practice Test

After trying these, access more sample questions on TestHQ.


bksb Practice Test Question – English Assessment

1. Complete the sentence using the correct words.

The key objective here is to pay attention to the ___ of the ___.

a) serious, enquiries
b) serioussness, enquiry
c) seriousness, enquiry

The correct answer is: c). Here, ‘enquiry’ or ‘enquiries’ would work, so the focus is instead on determining the first portion of the phrase. The noun ‘seriousness’ is needed (as opposed to the adjective ‘serious’). The spelling in b) is incorrect, leaving c) as the correct answer. 

2. Choose the correct word that completes the sentence below.

Ellise went to the butchers and ____ some sausages.

a) bought
b) brought
c) bough

The correct answer is: a). ‘Bough’ is the main branch of a tree, so that wouldn’t work here. It’s assumed that Ellise is a customer, which means she would buy sausages from the butcher – not bring them into the butcher’s shop with her.


bksb Practice Test Question – Math Assessment

1. Mark has a collection of marbles. 3/8 of these marbles are black and the rest are blue. What is the ratio of black to blue balls?

a) 3:5
b) 5:8
c) 8:5
d) 3:8

The correct answer is: d). To convert a fraction to a ratio, reduce the fraction as much as possible (not needed in this case). Then, use the numerator (3) as the first number in the ratio, followed by a colon, then the denominator (8) after.


2. Amy bought a new bag for $12. Lucy bought the same bag in a sale with 25% off the original price.

How much did Lucy pay?

a) $9
b) $6
c) $3

The correct answer is: a). First, convert the 25% percentage discount to a decimal, which would be 0.25. Then, multiply the original price ($12) by the decimal (0.25), so 12 x 0.25. This gives you the value of the discount, which is $3. 

Subtract this discount from the original price of $12 to get the discounted price. So $12 – $3 = $9.


How to Benefit from the bksb Assessment Practice Test

There are numerous benefits to taking a bksb assessment practice test.

The practice test helps you:

  • Understand the test format
  • Identify your current strengths and weaknesses (by reviewing your bksb test answers)
  • Practice sitting the test in timed conditions

Here are some tips to help you fully prepare for the test.

  • Practice reading and spelling skills – Read a range of different texts and try to summarize them. Use a dictionary for any words you are unsure of. Write out unfamiliar words using the correct spelling.
  • Take paid for or free online bksb practice tests – Practice bksb tests online. This helps build your skills and boost your confidence. Set aside 20 to 30 minutes a day to focus on test practice.
  • Remind yourself of basic math terms – Take time to brush up on your math ability. Pay particular attention to basic operations, fractions, ratios and percentages. You can then test what you’ve learned by taking online bksb maths practice tests.
  • Get enough rest before the test – Being well rested helps you perform at your optimum in the test. It improves concentration levels, helping you retain focus throughout the test.
  • Learn relaxation techniques – To reduce your stress, try deep breathing. This helps keep you calm when sitting the assessment. Remember that the test is not timed, so don’t feel pressured.
  • Study challenging topics – Don’t just stick to the type of questions you are familiar with. For example, if math is not your strong point, take time to practice this skill. It will help improve your final level when you take your initial bksb test.


The bksb Assessment Scoring System

There is no pass or fail grade for the bksb test. 

Results are split into two bksb assessment levels:

  • Entry levels one, two and three, which are below GCSE grade
  • Levels one and two, which correspond to GCSE grades D and C

The result can impact your choice of course or the level you start your studies.

If you don’t achieve the grade you need, the test can be retaken. This can be done after you have practiced the areas you need to improve on.

To take the test again, simply log on to the online portal and select ‘retake initial assessment’.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the bksb Assessment?

The bksb assessment is designed to assess functional skills in math, English and ICT. They are most often used as part of a college enrollment or an apprenticeship.


Is the bksb Assessment easy?

The bksb test can be challenging if you haven’t refreshed your functional skills for a while. The test is dynamic. This means it adapts to your current level of ability.


Where can I prepare for the bksb Assessment?

You can prepare by taking paid for or free bksb assessment practice tests online. This helps test takers become familiar with the type of questions and style of the test.


What is a good score for the bksb Assessment?

A good score depends on what you want to achieve as a result of the test. For example, your grade can determine the choice of college course or apprenticeship you can enroll on.


Can you fail the bksb Assessment?

Although you can’t technically fail the bksb, your results can impact your study or career options. Prepare beforehand to achieve a score that best reflects your current abilities.


Can you retake the bksb Assessment?

You can retake the bksb assessment. If taken online, you can opt to retake the test from the online dashboard.


Where can I find more bksb practice test questions?

Example questions for the bksb can be found online. TestHQ has a comprehensive practice pack for bksb to help you achieve the highest grade possible.


What is the highest level on the bksb Assessment?

The highest level on the bksb test is a level 2. This is the equivalent of a GCSE grade 4.


What is a good study plan for the bksb Assessment?

It is best to study for between 20 and 30 minutes every day. Practice the skills you find challenging to help increase your confidence before sitting the test. 


Is the bksb Assessment timed?

The bksb assessment isn’t timed. This makes it feel less pressured and you can do your best. The initial bksb assessment takes an average of 20 minutes to complete.


Where can I find a practice guide for the bksb Assessment?

A practice guide for the bksb assessment can be found on TestHQ. This provides all the information needed to prepare for and sit the bksb test. 


Who is eligible to take the bksb Assessment?

The bksb assessment is tailored to meet the needs of those working at pre-entry level to level 2. It is used by colleges, apprenticeships and workplaces.


Final Thoughts

The bksb is a commonly used test to determine a candidate's baseline skill level. It then provides tools to help develop functional skills.

Prepare in advance by taking some bksb practice tests online. This helps familiarize you with the format and content of the tests, helping you perform more efficiently on the day. 

The results can impact how quickly you progress on your chosen career pathway. This means adequate preparation and practice are key.

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