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What’s happening with GCSE, A-level and Btec exams in 2022?

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a massive impact on A-level, GCSE and Btec exams. In 2020, and again in 2021, summer exams were cancelled and replaced by grades assessed by teachers, schools and colleges. So what will happen in 2022? Will exams be cancelled once again?

Here's everything we know so far about exams in 2022. We'll be updating this article with more information as it's released.

Ofqual and DfE proposal for 2022 exams

The government is proposing changes to next year’s GCSE and A-level exams because of disruption caused by the pandemic.

Ofqual says “students in the 2022 cohort have experienced significant disruption to their education and we propose that exams and assessments should be adjusted to take this into account.”  

Ofqual and the DfE believe that these adjustments are “the best way to ensure fairness”.

The DfE and Ofqual have set out their plans for 2022’s exam season in a proposal. We have summarised the main points below, but you can also read the whole proposal in this paper by Ofqual. These plans are unconfirmed until the results of the consultation are published, so they may still change.

The proposed plan is open for consultation until Sunday 1 August. You can have your say on the plan here until the end of the day on 1 August.

Will exams be cancelled in 2022?

Exams and assessments for GCSEs, AS and A-levels, as well as vocational and technical qualifications, are set to go ahead in summer 2022. 

Will students receive teacher-assessed grades in 2022?

The teacher-assessed grades system was in place for 2021’s students. 

Teacher-assessed grades could be used again in 2022 as a fall-back if the situation with coronavirus changes but the current plan is for summer exams to go ahead.

Find out everything you need to know about teacher-assessed grades here.

How will GCSE and A-level exams be different in 2022?

  • Choice of topics
For GCSE English literature, history, ancient history and geography, schools and colleges will have a choice of topics for the exams. This means that teachers can ensure that their students will be tested on the modules they have completed.
  • Changes to practicals

For GCSE, AS and A-level science subjects, adjustments are being made to requirements around practical work. Teachers may now demonstrate practicals in class, or remotely if there are any restrictions in place. Students will not be required to complete these practicals themselves.

For GCSE, AS and A-level art and design, students will be assessed on their portfolio of work only and will not be required to undertake a timed practical exam. 
  • Advance information for exams

For the majority of GCSE, AS and A-level subjects with exams the exam boards will provide information in advance about the focus of exams. 

The exceptions are English literature, history, ancient history and geography, which will have a choice of topics (see above) and also GCSE maths and English language, which will be going ahead without advanced information or a choice of topics.

This advance information won’t be detailed enough to give you answers to the exams or specify which questions you’ll be asked, but it will cover topics that will be in the exam so that you’ll know what you need to revise and your teachers know what they need to have covered in case more class time is lost to the pandemic.

This information will be issued in the spring term, although it’s possible that it could be issued earlier if the situation with the pandemic causes significant disruption to education.
  • Access to support materials for exams

For GCSE maths, students will have access to a formulae sheet in the exam room.

For GCSE physics and combined science, students will have access to a sheet showing all of the relevant equations. 

When is results day 2022?

Dates are yet to be confirmed for GCSE, Btec, AS and A-level results in 2022. These dates will be confirmed in the autumn term.

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