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GCSE and A-level exams 2022: What you need to know

Education / Mon 16th May 2022 am31 09:10am

FOR the first time since the pandemic began, students are sitting exams across the UK.

Pupils faced major disruption to their studies because of Covid and are getting help to make up for lost learning reports the BBC.

When do exams begin?

Most A-level and GCSE exams begin on 16 May and finish at the end of June, in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. 

This is slightly longer than normal, as there is a minimum 10-day gap between some exams – to ensure that if you become ill you won’t miss all your exams in a subject. 

In Scotland, National 5, Highers and Advanced Highers started at the end of April and finish on 1 June.

A child raises their hand during a maths lesson at Llanishen High School on September 20, 2021 in Cardiff, Wales.
Image caption, Pupils have faced major disruption to their studies due to Covid

How will my grades be decided?

Grades will be awarded in the usual way using external marking, but exam boards will be more lenient in deciding the boundaries between different grades.

Exam boards will look at 2019 – the last year exams were sat as normal – and teachers’ assessments of grade levels in 2021, and take a mid-point between the two.

The aim is give an extra nudge to students who would otherwise just miss out on a higher grade – and to reflect the reality of learning lost during the pandemic.

Exam results are expected to be higher than in 2019, but not as high as last year. It is expected that results will go back to pre-pandemic levels in 2023. 

How will my exams be different this year?

Several adjustments have been made to the way exams usually work. 

England

To help students prepare, students have been given more information than usual about what to revise. This was released by exam boards PearsonOCRAQA and Eduqas.

Student taking certain GCSEs have been given fewer topics to learn and will be allowed to use support materials – such as formulae sheets for maths.

Some of these changes will be scrapped in 2023. The Department for Education has already confirmed it wants to return to normal as soon as possible.

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