How are exams different in 2022?

2022 brings the return of every student's favourite villain, which make Thanos look tame in comparison. Exams.

Those dark, elusive, anxiety-inducing exams that make students across the country quiver when they find out they have to spend hours in a cramped hall answering questions whilst the sun makes its one and only appearance of the year.

It truly is a glorious time...

Whether you believe in exams or not, they are here to stay after a brief absence as they represent the "best and fairest form of assessment".

However, they are not returning in the same way. So it is important if you are sitting an exam this year to know what the differences are and any planned or unplanned changes. As with all information, make sure you stay up to date and informed as it can change quickly.

What new measures are in place to make exams fairer for students who have missed different amounts of time in class?

After careful consultation with parents & students plus the exam regulator Ofqual, the government has implemented a variety of adaptations to exams to help students fulfil their potential despite disruption.

As such students across the UK studying for GCSE, AS and A level exams will benefit from the following adaptations:

  • Students will be provided with a formulae sheet in GCSE Maths and revised equation sheets in GCSE combined science and physics.

  • Their own choice of topics or content on which students will be assessed in GCSE English literature, history, ancient history and geography.

  • The requirements for practical science, art and design assessments have been altered.

  • Providing advance information on the focus of exams to support students' revision in subjects where there is not a choice of topics.

When will the advance information be made available to GCSE, AS and A level students?

Information to be given in advance on the content of the summer exams for the majority of GCSE, AS and A level subjects will be published by the exam boards on 7th February.

This will help students focus their revision for the final few months and give an indication of some content, texts, topics, themes and skills that students can expect in their exams.

Are any changes being made to grading?

For the last two years, exams haven’t been able to take place, instead, students have been awarded grades by their teachers. Due to the difference in assessment approach, we have seen higher grade averages across the board.

As we return to exams, we want to get back to the pre-pandemic standard, but must do so in the interest of fairness, Ofqual (who take the decisions on grading) won’t do so in one jump.

Instead, 2022 will be a transition year to reflect the pandemic recovery period and students’ education that has been disrupted. In 2022 the aim, therefore, will be to move grading to a point close to midway between 2021 and pre-pandemic profiles.

Results are likely to be higher than in 2019, but not as high as in 2020.

Ofqual aims to return to results that are in line with pre-pandemic years in 2023.

When will GCSE exams take place in 2022?

GCSE exams will happen in May and June, as normal, and the exam boards have now published their final summer exam timetables.

When will A-Level exams take place in 2022?

A level exams will happen in May and June as normal, and the exam boards have now published their final summer exam timetables.

When will students get their results?

A and AS level results day will be held on 18th August 2022.

GCSE results day will be held on 25th August 2022.

VTQs most similar to GCSEs and A levels, that are used for progression, should be awarded on or before GCSE and A level results day. Other types of qualifications such as Functional Skills Qualifications, and those that are not tied to an academic year will continue to be awarded throughout the year.

What should students do now?

Students should be focusing on their revision for end of year exams, but also need to consider what they will be doing next.

One of the best places to start is by finding an online tutor to help you through your studies and ensure you're on the right track to achieve the grades you deserve.

If you’re interested in opportunities like apprenticeships or the workplace, make sure you do all you can on your VTQs (Highers if available) to ensure you are well placed when results come out.

If you’re hoping to go to university in 2023, make sure you get your UCAS application in by 15th October 2022. You can apply online or through your school or college.

You should also be aware that if you change plans and decide that a career in the workplace is more suited to you then there are a lot of different options that you can take from applying for an apprenticeship to taking a job.

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James Gurnett

20th February

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