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Changes to 2022 Exams - What You Need To Know

This year’s A Level and GCSE grades were teacher assessed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Attention has now turned to 2022: will exams be cancelled for a third year in a row?

Ofqual and the Department for Education (DfE) are proposing changes to next year’s GCSE and A Level exams, because of ongoing disruption to students’ education. Students due to take exams during the summer of 2022 will have experienced school closures and “burst bubbles” which have meant a lot of learning was done at home, without as much teacher support or group participation as can usually be expected. As well as this there is the stress involved for students attempting to learn in this situation.

Ofqual has said that “assessments should be adjusted to take this into account.”

The full proposal by the DfE and Ofqual is published here.

Exams are currently still expected to go ahead as normal in summer 2022, but teacher-assessed grades may be used as a fall-back measure if Covid-19 disruption continues throughout the new school year.

That said, exams will be different in 2022. 

For GCSE English literature, history, geography and ancient history, schools and colleges will have a choice of topics, meaning that teachers can make sure their students are tested on the modules they have completed.

For GCSE, AS and A Level science subjects, there will be adjustments to the practical element of examinations. Teachers can now demonstrate practicals in lessons (or remotely as circumstances dictate) and students will not be required to carry out practicals themselves.

For GCSE, AS and A Level art and design, there will be no practical exam - instead students will be assessed on their portfolio work.

As well as this, for the majority of GCSE, AS and A Level subjects exam boards will provide information in advance as to the focus of exams. This does not include GCSEs in maths and English language, which will have exams without any advanced information. As mentioned above, English literature, history, geography and ancient history GCSEs will include a choice of topics rather than advance information.

It is important to note that the information provided by exam boards will not be so detailed as to provide answers or to specify exactly which questions will be asked - but it will provide the topics to be covered in the exam so that students and teachers know the key points to be covered by both learning and revision, in case more class time is lost due to lockdowns or school closures.

GCSE maths students will also have access to a formulae sheet in the exam room, and for physics and combined science there will be access to a sheet providing equations.

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