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Exams 2020: how to retake your GCSEs or A Levels

As we all know, the GCSE and A Level Exams 2020 are very different because of the impact of coronavirus on education, the closure of schools and the cancellation of exams.  This left many students nervous about the process and concerned that they may not get the grades they could have achieved if they had sat the exams.

However, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson announced that any student who does not ‘feel their calculated grade reflects their ability’ should be given an opportunity to sit the exams ‘at the earliest reasonable opportunity’.  In reality, all being well, this will be October and November 2020.

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exams 2020

So what do you need to know about the exams 2020?

The grade you will receive for GCSE or A Level will have been calculated based on assessments you have completed and rankings supplied by your teachers.  You will receive these grades on 13th August for A Level and 20th August for GCSE.

What if you are unhappy with your result?

  1. The exam boards will be making exams available to you in the autumn
  2. If you decide to sit the autumn exams any coursework (NEAs) you previously completed will not count.  Your exams alone will determine the result.  The exception to this is Art and Design.
  3. If you request it, the exam boards must give you a new certificate with your new results
  4. The exams will be in the same format as the original summer exams would have been

What are the dates for the autumn exams 2020?

In England the AS and A-Level exams 2020 will start Monday 5 October and finish on Friday 23 October. 

GCSE exams 2020 will begin on Monday 2 November and finish on Monday 23 November.

The deadlines for entry are:

(GCE AS & A-level) – 4 September

GCSE (except English Language and Mathematics) – 18 September

GCSE (English Language and Mathematics) – 4 October.

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exam results

Will you get a new certificate?

You will not get a new certificate automatically.  You will be able to request a new certificate if the grades on your retakes is higher than the calculated grade you were given.  However, you will have to request this from the exam board/s. 

Art and Design Arrangements

There will be a chance to retake Art and Design in the autumn exam series.  This subject, of course, is assessed differently.  So what will the arrangements be here?

Students retaking Art and Design will complete a portfolio of work and a task which is set by the exam boards and undertaken in supervised conditions, in a set timeframe.  60% of the marks will be on the portfolio and 40% will be on the set task. 

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practical endorsement

Science, Geology and Spoken English Practical Endorsements

In the case of the required endorsements for some subjects, the autumn series of exams will treat these as it would in any normal year.  This means that your endorsements will be carried forward.  What if you did not complete the practical element before your school closed?  In this case those students who have not completed the assessments could do so in the autumn term if their exam centres are able to accommodate this.

Our View

If you decide to take up the opportunity to retake your exams, we suggest you start work at the earliest possible time.  This will ideally be in August, because deadlines are tight, especially for A Levels.  With exams designed to start on 4th September you will want to get yourself back up to speed with any subject you are retaking, including refamiliarising  yourself with notes and books, plus starting revision and exam technique practice.  

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