These are extraordinary times and, after the cancellation of the summer 2020 exam series, we're delighted to be able to share information on the autumn 2020 exam series for General Qualifications, International Qualifications and Vocational Qualifications.

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The Department for Education has announced that support will be available to schools and colleges offerng an autumn exam series this year. This includes a guide for schools and colleges on who should enter students for autumn exams. It also explains the support DfE is giving for exam fees, sites and invigilators. Please read the guidance for further information.

On 29 September the Department for Education published an update to their public health guidance to support autumn exams.  The update includes:

  • setting out the expectation that schools and colleges will run autumn series exams, including where the school or college is only open for smaller student groups
  • setting out the expectation that schools and colleges in areas of local restrictions will run exams
  • explaining that candidates who have taken the minimum necessary assessments for their subject in the autumn series can apply for special consideration and still be awarded a grade, even if they are not able to sit all of the exams
  • reminding schools and colleges of the need to continue to provide reasonable adjustments to support candidates with special educational needs and disabilities during the exam series.

Please read the guidance for full details.

We’ll be offering a full suite of exams for all our GCSE, AS and A level subjects* in autumn 2020.

Entries for these examinations can be made for GCSE, AS and A level students who had entries for the summer 2020 series, (whether those were with Pearson or another exam board), OR students and centres that can prove that there was an intention to sit an examination in summer 2020 but who were unable to, i.e. private candidates. 

The usual age requirement that any student needs to be 16 on or before 31 August to be eligible to take an assessment in English Language or Mathematics in November, does not apply to the November 2020 GCSE series for students who were entered for the relevant subject in the summer 2020 series. Therefore, the November 2020 GCSE series is available to:

  • students who were either entered for a subject, or where their centre has evidence that they intended to enter for the subject in the summer 2020 series, regardless of their age.
  • students aged 16 on or before 31 August 2020 entering for Mathematics or English Language, even if they had no summer 2020 entry.

*Any qualification subjects without any entries by the deadline date will be removed and late entries will not be accepted for any removed qualification subjects.

Qualification Examination window Entries open Entries deadline Late fees Results day
GCE 5 - 23
5 September 17 December
GCSE 2 - 23
18 September 19 September 11 February
GCSEs in English Language and Maths 2 - 23

See our lates exam timetables now published on our Timetables support page

Coursework and NEA (Non-Examined Assessment) 

The  Ofqual consultation on an additional GCSE, AS and A level exam series in autumn 2020 concluded that: 

  • exam boards must base results on students’ performance in exams alone and not on any non-exam assessment, with the exception of art and design qualifications. 

Therefore, there will not be any coursework or other NEA components (including the speaking assessment for GCSE and GCE languages qualifications) offered in the autumn series for GCSE, AS or A level subjects.  

The removal of coursework and NEA component for autumn 2020 means that the weighting of the exam components has been adjusted to make up 100% of the qualification. We will apply a scaling factor in accordance with the subject weighting to reflect the changes in relative weightings for each component.  

Where there is more than one exam component, the amended weightings can be seen in the document below. 

For qualifications where the removal of coursework/NEA leaves only one exam component, the exam will contribute 100% of the qualification outcome. The subjects with one exam component only can also be seen below. 

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Autumn 2020 series fees

As this is an exceptional year, we are freezing the autumn 2020 exam series fees, which means that the fees for all general qualifications in this series will remain the same as the fees published for 2019/2020. More information on these fees can be found in the following document.

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The latest exam timetables are now published on our support page.

Exam timetables

* It's important that you make your entries before the deadline date as any qualification subjects without any entries by the above deadline date will be removed and late entries will not be accepted for any removed qualification subjects.

As many centres around the world prepare to deliver exams in the coming months, we would like to support your efforts to ensure that students and staff are kept safe during this period.

Centres must always follow the regulations and guidelines issued by their local government to keep candidates safe before, during and after sitting examinations.

To assist you, here are some examples of how organisations are preparing for the return of students to schools and administering exams. You may find these a useful reference to adapt to your local situation and conditions.

Please note that these are provided as a reference only and local regulations must always take priority.

Some key measures that centres may wish to consider in preparation for exams are:

Health and safety risk assessment - Update your risk assessment relating to the conduct of examinations to be sure you have identified the risks presented and take steps to manage these risks effectively. For example – you may want to consider any risks associated with students waiting to enter the exam room, when they are in the exam room and when they leave and how you will help them to keep a safe distance from each other at all times.

Capacity - Consider in advance your centre’s capacity to accommodate exams using your existing sites and staff. Will you have sufficient space for all your students if you increase the distance between them etc. You may need to consider booking alternative sites or invigilators so you can provide more distance between students during exams.

Social distancing - Make adaptations to rooms to support distancing where possible.

Ventilation - Ensure all exam rooms are well ventilated before, during and after exams.

Hygiene - Ensure that cleaning / hygiene procedures are in place for in all areas occupied by staff and students during exams.


  • state clearly that candidates must not attend exams if they are experiencing possible COVID-19 symptoms
  • provide clear instructions regarding safety processes to staff and candidates before and on arrival e.g. hygiene procedures; how to enter and exit the exam room in a safe way; how to avoid gathering in large groups before or after the exam
  • contact Pearson if an exam is not able to proceed as planned because of local lockdown advice.

Contingencies - Anticipate and plan for the need to adapt e.g. what will you need to do if students appear unwell before or during an exam.

Training - Ensure invigilation staff are trained on all procedures and have a clear understanding of how to behave so they do not make students feel uncomfortable or put them at risk

Tracking - Ensure that you are formally tracking attendance to support COVID-19 track and trace measures in your country.

2020 has been a challenging year for students, parents, teachers and schools, with the closure of schools, cancellation of summer 2020 examinations and ongoing disruption caused by COVID-19. We understand how stressful this has been.

While many parts of the world are returning to school, we recognise that students around the world are facing different circumstances depending on the local government guidance in place, including some specific restrictions.

Our priority is to support students, whatever circumstance they face, to continue to move forward with learning, assessment and progression.

Further guidance and FAQs for international students

BTEC Levels 1-3 series-based external assessments

Many of the BTEC external assessments are available at multiple times of year. Learners will be able to sit/resit the external assessment in the next available window:

  • BTEC Level 1/2 Firsts - on-demand, Jan 2021, February 2021 or May/June 2021 (depending on sector/unit)
  • BTEC Level 1/2 Tech Awards - February 2021, or May/June 2021 (depending on sector/unit)
  • BTEC Level 2 and 3 Technicals - on-demand, March, or May/June 2021 (depending on sector/unit)
  • BTEC Level 3 Nationals - Jan 2021 or May/June 2021 (depending on sector/unit).

Find out the next available external assessment opportunity for your BTEC qualification by consulting our exams timetables page

In addition, we're offering external assessments linked to Licence to Practice units (including Units 1 and 2 in the BTEC Level 3 Nationals in Children’s Play, Learning and Development (CPLD) and Unit 2 in the BTEC Level 2 Technical Diploma in CPLD). We're not planning on offering additional assessment opportunities during autumn 2020 beyond this.

Series Qualification Sector Unit code Unit title
Autumn 2020
BTEC Nationals
20780E Unit 1: Child Development
Autumn 2020 BTEC Nationals CPLD 31597H
Unit 1: Children's Development
Autumn 2020 BTEC Nationals CPLD 31598H
Unit 2: Development of Children's Communication, Literacy and Numeracy Skills
Autumn 2020 BTEC Technicals CPLD 21221K Unit 2: Child Development from Birth up to Five Years

Entry deadlines

Series Basedata issued Entry window opens Entries deadline
Late fees charged from High late fees charged from 
Autumn 2020
11 September 2020
September 2020
September 2020