Summer 2023 support

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On this page we’ll provide updates and information from Ofqual and the Department for Education (DfE) relating to the summer 2023 exam arrangements for GCSE, AS and A level.

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Ofqual and DfE arrangements for summer 2023

In September 2022 Ofqual and the DfE confirmed that, in England, GCSE, AS and A level exams and grading will largely return to pre-pandemic arrangements in summer 2023. On 30 November they also published the outcomes of a number of consultations for summer 2023.

Please take a look at the sections below to ensure you have all the information and support you need for 2023.

DfE has confirmed that, in 2023, students are not required to memorise formulae for GCSE mathematics and equations for GCSE physics and combined science.

Read the outcome of the consultation

To support this, we have released updated formulae and equation sheets for summer 2023. You can download these from the qualification 2023 support pages listed below.

GCSE Mathematics
GCSE Mathematics Post-16
GCSE Sciences

We have also released an updated equation sheet for International GCSE Physics which can be downloaded from the qualification 2023 support pages listed below.

International GCSE Physics
International GCSE Science (Single Award)
International GCSE Science (Double Award)

Ofqual and DfE have published the outcome of their joint consultation on guidance to schools and colleges about gathering assessment evidence to support resilience in the general qualifications system in 2023 for GCSE, AS, A level, Project and AEA.

  • It has been agreed that in the unlikely event that exams do not go ahead in 2023 a TAG approach would be implemented nationally.
  • TAGs would not be used to award a grade when exams take place.
  • Proposals set out in the consultation about the provision of guidance for teachers on how they should collect evidence of student performance will be implemented.

Read the outcome of the joint consutlation 

Take a look at the guidance for teachers for collecting evidence of student performance

DfE and Ofqual have confirmed that changes made to assessments in 2022 on the use of vocabulary will be carried forward to future assessments from 2023 and beyond. These changes allow exam boards greater flexibility by:

  • removing the specific requirement that existed in previous years for the assessments to use vocabulary that is not on the vocabulary lists
  • permitting exam boards to give the meaning of (gloss) unfamiliar vocabulary, if they consider this necessary.

Read the outcome of the consultation on the assessment of modern foreign language GCSEs from 2023

Whilst the government does not expect to ever be in a position where exams are cancelled nationally and alternative assessment arrangements are required, good public policy means having contingency, even for extremely unlikely scenarios.

Ofqual has therefore provided guidance for all schools and colleges on the steps they should take to collect and retain evidence in the academic year 2022 to 2023 in the unlikely event that exams cannot go ahead as planned.

This guidance covers GCSEs, AS and A levels, Project qualifications, and the Advanced Extension Award (AEA) in mathematics.

Please read the guidance set out by Ofqual

Ofqual has published open letters to heads and students about arrangements for GCSEs, AS and A levels and vocational qualifications in 2023. Please do take a look and pass this information onto your staff and students. 

Letter to Heads and Principals 

Letter to students 

As detailed in the JCQ December 2022 Newsletter, awarding bodies have collectively agreed a contingency day for several years now which is always scheduled at the end of the GCSE, GCE AS and A-level exam timetables.

Read the JCQ December 2022 Newsletter

The contingency day is in the event of national or significant local disruption to exams in the United Kingdom, being part of the awarding bodies’ standard contingency planning for exams. 

Following the Covid-19 pandemic, further resilience was needed within the exam timetables. A single contingency day was not felt to be sufficient if a national event or incident had a significant effect on the exam timetable. For example, summer exams could be affected by extremely high temperatures.

For the June 2023 exams, the awarding bodies have therefore introduced two additional half-day contingency sessions. These are on Thursday 8 June 2023 and Thursday 15 June 2023. The standard contingency day remains at the end of the timetable being scheduled on Wednesday 28 June 2023.

Schools and colleges should ensure candidates and parents are aware of the contingency arrangements on these three days. They should consider the contingency day of Wednesday 28 June 2023 when making their plans for the summer. Candidates should be encouraged to remain available until Wednesday 28 June 2023 should examinations need to be rescheduled.

JCQ included and important reminder about the use of grade boundaries for predicting grades in their December 2022 Newsletter.

Awarding bodies recognise the important role that teachers play in predicting grades for their students’ UCAS applications and appreciate how challenging this can be.

Ofqual's announcement on 29 September, recommends teachers to use pre-pandemic grading standards as the basis of predicting students’ grades in 2023.

Where you are using evidence from past papers from Autumn 2020, 2021 and Summer 2022 to create UCAS predicted grades, please be aware that the published grade boundaries for these exams reflect the grading arrangements in place during the pandemic. As such, these boundaries may be lower than those using the pre-pandemic standards.

For further information on the latest Ofqual guidance, please read Dr Jo Saxton, Ofqual Chief Regulator’s blog.

Summer 2023 final exam timetables

Our summer 2023 exam timetables have now been finalised.

The exam timetables for summer 2023 seek to maintain some of the space built into the exam timetables in 2022 between the first and last exams in the same subject. This spacing was well received by schools and colleges in 2022 and reduces the chance of students missing all exams in a subject due to circumstances such as illness.

Please note, there are three contingency dates built into the timetables for UK centres: 8 June, 15 June and 28 June. Schools and colleges should ensure candidates and parents are aware of the contingency arrangements on these three days and candidates should be encouraged to remain available until Wednesday 28 June 2023 should examinations need to be rescheduled.  

Take a look at the final timetables

Year round support

We'll keep this web page up to date with any further information from Ofqual, DfE and JCQ about summer 2023 and provide news and information in the regular Pearson qualifications bulletin. For subject-specific support, please do stay in touch with your subject advisors and you can also contact us directly if you have any other queries.

Exams officer support

Read the latest Pearson qualifications bulletin

Contact your subject advisor