Ever wondered how the whole assessment process works? Take a look at our series of short videos that shine a light on the assessment process to help students, parents, carers and teachers understand how the exam process works.
Summer 2023 support
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.
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.
Dr Jo Saxton, Chief Regulator at Ofqual, has written a letter to parents outlining the additional support that has been put in place this year for students taking exams to recognise the disruption they’ve faced.
This includes support materials, grading protection for GCSE and A level student cohorts, a spaced-out timetable and help with languages - where modern foreign language GCSE papers no longer have to test unfamiliar vocabulary.
Results for 2023 are expected to be similar to those in pre-pandemic years. There will be grading protection for GCSE and A level students which means that a student who would have achieved an A at A level before the pandemic should be just as likely to do so in 2023, even if the quality of their work is a little weaker.
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 Post-16
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 produced a guide for students that provides information about the arrangements for GCSEs, AS and A levels and vocational qualifications in England this summer. It also explains what support is in place when taking exams and assessments.
You can read the full information on their website, but they’ve also produced a condensed version of the information in a handy PDF. take a look at the guidance and download the PDF.
Arrangements for exams and assessments in 2023
Exam tips for students
To support students with their revision, we’ve put together a Getting ready for exams guide that includes some top tips and advice including:
- preparing for exams
- what happens on exam day
- where to find further support
- what happens once exams are over.
Take a look at the guide and please pass it on to your students.
Exams are undertaken with strict supervision and it’s important that students know what to expect on the day of their exams. Ofqual have created a student checklist which includes information on what can be done the day before each exam, what can and can’t be taken into the exam hall.
Download the student checklist
Let’s talk about social media
Social media is big part of everyday life and whilst many of us enjoy sharing experiences online, when it comes to exams, we all have to be very careful.
The Joint Council for Qualifications has produced a guide for students on using social media during the exam season. There are some do’s and don’ts that should be followed and a list of the consequences that may happen if these are not followed.
Download the JCQ guide Using social media and examinations/assesments
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.
In case of disruption to the exam system, all centres must have contingency plans in place. There are three main categories of disruption:
- Candidates at risk of being unable to take examinations; centres remain open.
- Centres at risk of being unable to open as normal during the examination period.
- Disruption to transporting completed examination scripts.
Please take a look at the information and guidance provided by the JCQ.
You should review your own centre contingency plans well ahead of the summer exam series to make sure they remain up to date and appropriate.
You should ensure that your contingency plans cover a range of scenarios, including the absence of key members of staff at exam time, disruption to power supplies or local transport networks, and extreme weather, including extreme heat.
We know that most centres will be well advanced with their invigilator recruitment at this stage. If your recruitment is not yet complete, you might want to consider using the NAEO exams recruitment and vacancy map for any remaining vacancies. You should also ensure that you have contingency plans in place in the event that you experience a shortfall of invigilation staff on a particular day. If your contingency plans include the use of centre staff, you should consider putting a training plan in place ahead of the exam series to ensure that all relevant staff are familiar with the requirements for invigilators.
Take a look at the NAEO exams recruitment and vacancy map.
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.
On 28 March 2023 the Joint Council for Qualifications published guidance about the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in assessments.
The JCQ Artifical Intelligence (AI) Use in Assessments: Protecting the Integrity of Qualifications guidance is intended to provide teachers and assessors involved in delivering JCQ qualifications with the information they need to manage use of AI in assessments.
This guidance applies to all our general qualifications including GCSEs, International GCSEs, AS and A levels, International A levels, Entry Level, Project and vocational qualifications.
Important points to note:
- centres should explain the importance of students submitting their own independent work
- centres should ensure that teachers and assessors are familiar with AI tools and their risks
- centres should consider communications with parents/carers to make them aware of AI
- students must acknowledge use of AI when used.
Within the document, there is a list of potential indicators of AI use that may help identify work where students have misused AI.
Please do take a look at this guidance and share widely with all teachers in your centre.
You can download the guidance from the JCQ website.
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.
Read the latest Pearson qualifications bulletin