General Qualifications Bulletin - International - Issue 53 | Pearson qualifications

General Qualifications Bulletin - International - Issue 53

Wed May 22 15:05:00 UTC 2024

Dear Colleague, 

As this edition of the qualifications bulletin reaches you, the May/June exam season is well under way. It’s a huge achievement getting your students ready for their assessments, and I would like to thank you all again for the incredible work that you continue to do to ensure students are ready to sit exams.

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We know that taking any form of assessment can be a stressful time for students. Ofqual has produced a guide for coping with exam pressure and we have some exam wellbeing support available that I would encourage you to share with your learners.  

As always, we’re here to support you through the next few months, and in this issue of the bulletin we’ve got some important information and reminders to help you and your students in this busy period. These include:

  • May/June 2024 support 
  • mobile phones and exams 
  • May/June 2024 contingency days
  • Exams Officer support 
  • question paper security 
  • cyber security and our new security web page
  • key dates and more.

We wish you and your students a successful exam series. 

As ever, if you need any more information or want to share any feedback with us, you can always get in touch via our support portal. We will always do our best to get you the answers as quickly as possible.

With best wishes,

Hayley White
Vice President, Assessment, Standards and Services 

Student support from Ofqual, JCQ and Pearson

In addition to all the support you provide, both Ofqual and JCQ have a range of information to help inform and guide your students during this busy time. Please take a look at the information we’ve summarised below and pass it on to your students.

Support from Ofqual 
The Ofqual Student Guide 2024 provides students with information about this year’s arrangements for GCSE, AS and A level qualifications, and explains what support is in place when taking exams and assessments.

Read the Ofqual Student Guide 2024

Ofqual have also produced a guide for students on coping with exam pressure.

Download the guide: Coping with exam pressure – a guide for students

Support from JCQ

The JCQ has a range of information and support for students – from coursework and onscreen exams to written exams, along with a checklist for exam day. 

Take a look at all the support JCQ have to offer for students

Support from Pearson 

Our Getting ready for exams guide 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

Supporting wellbeing during exam season  

Everyone’s exam experience is different, and we understand that preparing for and sitting exams can be overwhelming for many.   

Our exam wellbeing support is here to help you and your students navigate this time – from the run-up to exams, exams day and beyond.

Visit the exam stress and wellbeing hub


Your students may also like to view our #examspelledout videos that explain all about the assessment process from the writing of the exam papers and modified papers to what happens to exam papers once they’ve left the school, grade boundaries and results.

View all the videos

Stay up to date with all our support for 2024 on our Qualifications assessment support page

Did you know that the most common form of candidate malpractice every exam series is the possession of a mobile phone?

According to data published by Ofqual, possession of a mobile phone accounted for 44.5% of all cases of student malpractice - 2,180 cases - in the summer 2023 series. This was an increase on the 1,825 cases seen in the summer 2022 series.

The JCQ awarding bodies have set out the agreed sanctions for the different types of candidate malpractice, including for possession of a mobile phone or other similar electronic devices such as a smartwatch.

These can be found in Appendix 6 of the JCQ Suspected Malpractice Policies and Procedures. You can see that the sanctions for possession of a mobile phone are severe, because we need to maintain the security and integrity of our exams:

  • mobile phone in the candidate’s possession but no evidence of being used by the candidate – loss of marks 
  • mobile phone in the candidate’s possession and evidence of being used by the candidate – disqualification

We really want to see a reduction in this form of malpractice, which has such a significant impact on so many candidates. Please ensure that you’ve taken clear steps help your learners avoid committing malpractice.

There are three contingency sessions for the May/June 2024 exams series and it is important that your students are aware of these, especially the full day on 26 June 2024. 

The contingency sessions are on:

  • afternoon of 6 June
  • afternoon of 13 June 
  • full day 26 June. 

These are in place to allow resilience in the exam timetable. They will help ensure that the exam series runs smoothly in the event of national or significant local disruption to exams. 

These days will only be used if there is an announcement that centres are required to use them. It is important that students are reminded that they must remain available for exams until 26 June 2024 should an event arise.

With the summer exams in full swing, we want to make sure Exams Officers have all the information needed to help ensure a smooth series. Take a look at our support article with all the essential information you need for this term.

EO Support – Spring and Summer Essential information

Further information, including videos, FAQs and infographics designed to support exam officers can also be found on the JCQ website.

Learner Work Transfer (LWT)

All learner work requiring digital submission, for both general and vocational qualifications, must be uploaded via the Learner Work Transfer platform (accessed via Edexcel Online). This will include samples for non-examined assessment moderation, BTEC moderated components and standards verification, plus BTEC external assessments.

Explore our dedicated support articles for detailed guidance:

Learner Work Transfer overview & index

Support for GQ examination / moderation submissions

Now we are in the exam season, may we remind you how important question paper security remains to the smooth running of exams in your centre and for the wider cohort.

Take a look at our bitesize on-demand training on question paper security. This training module covers the importance of question paper security, how to securely handle question papers from receiving the papers right through to returning the completed scripts to Pearson, and how to recognise and report a question paper breach.

Protecting the security of your students’ data and electronic question paper materials is absolutely critical and we are committed to working with you to keep this sensitive information secure. 

As you prepare for the summer exam series, please ensure that all staff who need it have access to Edexcel Online and have a device suitable for use with our Multi Factor Authentication app. Please also ensure that accounts have been removed for any staff who have left or moved roles and no longer need access. 

Never use the same password for Edexcel Online that you use for other systems such as your email accounts. If you see any suspicious activity on your EOL account, please reset your password immediately and report the activity to Pearson. 

Please see the JCQ’s guidance for centres on cyber security for more tips on how to keep your accounts secure.

You can also visit the National Cyber Security Centre website for a range of practical cyber security advice and best practice designed for centres.

We have made lots of enhancements in recent months, to increase the security of Pearson and centre data, and maintain the integrity of our qualifications and assessment materials. These have included a move to Multi Factor Authentication and enforcing enhanced password requirements for all our platform users.

We have created a new Security page on our qualifications website, where we will share best practise as well as guidance on how you can spot if something doesn’t seem quite right.

Visit our cyber security web page

Art and Design

For GCSE and A level Art and Design assessment and moderation, here are a few reminders to help centres prepare.

For visiting moderation, you should now have a date set for the moderation visit. Marks are due 48 hours prior to this date on Edexcel Online for all learners.
Centres will need to complete the following:

  • Assessment Grid (one for each candidate)
  • Authentication Form (signed by the candidate and teacher)
  • Prepare the Component 1 and 2 sampled work for moderation

It is also recommended to provide the Performance Calculators for A level / the Taxonomy for GCSE to support moderators with understanding your internal assessment.

All paperwork required is available in the April Subject Advisor Update.

You can also take a look at the videos below to help you understand the moderation process.

GCSE/A level Art and Design - Understanding the Moderation Process

GCSE/A level Art and Design - Setting Up Your Department for Moderation

Join us for Supporting SEND Students in Art and Design Wednesday 3 July 16:00-17:00.

In this online network event, we will discuss a range of ideas for supporting Art and Design students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). The session will also address frequently asked questions in relation to course delivery and assessment for students with additional requirements.

Book the Supporting SEND Students in Art and Design network event

Subject Advisor support

To stay up to date, make sure you’re signed up to receive all the latest news and information from your Subject Advisor throughout the May/June 2024 exam series. Find out more about the support your Subject Advisor offers by watching a short video they’ve each created.

Take a look at your Subject Advisor's video

Sign up for your subject newsletter today

Our Key Dates Finder enables you to find all of the key dates for Pearson general qualifications and subjects in one place. Here are those taking place during June 2024.





31 May 24

GCSE Art & Design 1AD0/01 (and all linked endorsements) and A level Art & Design 9AD0/01 (and all linked endorsements)

June 24

Submission of centre marks, assessment documentation and candidate work for digital moderation (ONLY overseas centres and where visiting moderation cannot take place)

3 June 24

International GCSE Chinese, French, German and Spanish

June 24

End of window for speaking tests

6 June 24

GCSE and/or AS and A level examinations

June 24

Contingency Afternoon should any sustained national or local disruption arise

13 June 24

GCSE and/or AS and A level examinations

June 24

Contingency Afternoon should any sustained national or local disruption arise

26 June 24

GCSE and/or AS and A level examinations

June 24

Contingency day (AM & PM slots) should any sustained national or local disruption arise

28 June 24

GCSE Art & Design 1AD0/01 (and all linked endorsements) and A level Art & Design 9AD0/01 (and all linked endorsements)

June 24

End of moderator visits. Marks must be submitted 48hrs prior to the moderation visits.

For more information on key dates for post results services please visit our Post-results services key dates page

Following the success of last year’s Spotlight on Assessment Services and Support events, for senior leaders, we’re delighted to be hosting two more Spotlight events in June – one in Manchester and one in London.

Focusing on the summer 2024 exam series, we’ll share insights with you and look forward to discussions about the future of assessment, and how we’re helping to shape that future in collaboration with schools and colleges, and importantly, with students.

For school and college leaders in the North: Tuesday 25 June 2024, 11:00 - 15:00 at the Pearson office in Salford Quays, Manchester.

For school and college leaders in the South: Thursday 27 June, 11:00 - 15:00 at the Pearson office at 80 Strand, London.

Register your interest now and we’ll contact you to confirm your place

Join us for an informative day

The events will be chaired by Hayley White, Vice President Assessment, Standards and Services, with sessions led by assessment experts from across Pearson. There will be plenty of opportunities to ask questions, join in with discussions, and network with colleagues and our assessment team.

Listen to the key takeaways from previous delegates to see how valuable they found these events

Pearson and all other awarding bodies published the final timetables for May/June 2025 on Monday 20 May.

Take a look at the summer 2025 timetables

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