This Q&A will cover the basic, and most important, details of the changes to GCSE examinations introduced by the government on 22nd March, 2020.
For more detailed official information surrounding the changes to GCSE examinations, please see the government guidance here.
Are all GCSE, AS-levels and A-level exams definitely cancelled?
All secondary school-level examinations have been unconditionally cancelled for this summer, whether at schools or private centres.
Is there no way I can take exams this year?
It is worth emphasising that summer exams are unconditionally cancelled. There will be an opportunity for students to sit an exam “as soon as is reasonably possible after schools and colleges open again” or next summer.
Will my final grade not just be my mock grade?
No. “Mock exam results will be one of the pieces of evidence that will be taken into account”.
How will my grade be determined?
Ofqual is yet to specify the exact method of grading and may not disclose it to students and parents even when they do. However, they state that “the calculated grade will take into account teachers’ assessment of the likely grade as well as other factors such as prior attainment”.
What if I am unhappy with my grade?
The first option is to appeal, if you believe that the “correct process has [not] been followed in [your] case”. Otherwise, you may sit exams either once schools reopen or next academic year.
What if I have already completed part of my course?
Any completed (as well as incomplete) non-exam assessments will be accounted for in the calculated grade process.
What if I was due to start university later this year?
Universities UK has suggested that universities will offer an option of a delayed start to courses for students who wish to still take their exams this year.
What about for vocational qualifications?
Examinations for vocational courses, such as BTECs, will also be cancelled.
Will the process differ for home educated students?
The government state that they will “work closely with the independent regulator of qualifications, Ofqual, to explore options for awarding grades to private candidates, including home educated students”.
Aside from my school, where can I get some advice on this?
If you need any advice regarding future university plans (given the change in circumstances), or relating to the UCAS application process, please consider Oxbridge Application’s Careers Consultations service.
Our Oxbridge-graduate consultants are available between 9.00 am – 5.00 pm from Monday to Friday, with additional evening availability when requested.
Oxbridge Applications, 14 – 16 Waterloo Place, London, SW1Y 4AR