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Summer 2024 exams are starting

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: A levels and GCSEs, Exams, Vocational and technical qualifications

Students across the country are getting ready to take their exams and assessments, making sure they’re ready to show the knowledge, skills and understanding that they have gained over the course of their studies.  

We all have an important part to play in making sure that the summer exam series runs smoothly. Here are some things to remember. 

Reminders for students 

  • The Ofqual student guide includes information on exams and assessments. If you have any concerns about your exam – for example, if you think there is a mistake in a question or you think someone isn’t following the rules – tell your invigilator, exams officer or teacher. 
  • It’s normal to feel pressure as you prepare to take your exams. You might find our student guide to coping with exam pressure helpful. 
  • Don’t take a mobile device or a watch into an exam. Even if it is switched off, you could lose marks or be disqualified.  
  • If you see claims on social media offering this year’s exam questions or papers, do not look at them. You should tell your teachers straight away. These papers will most likely be fake – and even accessing fake materials could mean you’re disqualified.  
  • Check your exam timetable carefully. If you miss an exam because you have misread your timetable, you will receive no marks for that paper. If you miss an exam for a reason beyond your control, such as illness, you should provide evidence of this to your school or college. They may be able apply to the exam board for special consideration. 
  • The exam timetable contains 3 contingency sessions – the afternoons of 6 and 13 June, and all day on 26 June. These sessions could be used in the unlikely event that an exam had to be moved nationally because it could not take place when planned. You must be available for the contingency afternoons of 6 and 13 June, and up to and including the contingency day on 26 June, even if you don’t have exams scheduled. Remember, these sessions cannot be used to reschedule an exam that you have missed. Your school or college would tell you if an exam had to be moved to one of the contingency sessions.  

Reminders for exams officers 

The exam series could not run smoothly without the invaluable work of exams officers. As well as Ofqual’s range of resources to support exams officers, here are some reminders that may be useful for you and your school or college: 

  • Schools and colleges have a crucial role to play in cyber security to protect students – JCQ has provided guidance. Make sure you have arrangements in place as cyber incidents can pose threats to the safe delivery of exams. 
  • Check your contingency plans and consider the practical arrangements you’d need if your systems went down. For example, how would you access information on access arrangements and seating plans? 
  • Make sure you meet awarding organisations’ deadlines for vocational and technical qualifications (VTQs). You can find and download these at Ofqual’s VTQ Information Hub. It’s vital to meet deadlines so that students taking VTQs receive results on time.  
  • Make sure you have provided one or more senior designated contacts to awarding organisations, in case, in exceptional cases when students might otherwise not get their results on time, they need to contact senior leaders outside of term-time. 
  • Always check the date before opening any packet of exam papers. Giving out the wrong paper can be serious for the students involved, so JCQ rules require 2 people to check each packet before opening. If the wrong paper is given out, keep affected students in the exam hall and make sure they are supervised while you get in touch with the exam board for advice. 
  • Never give out confidential material to anyone, even if they claim to be from an exam board. Awarding organisations will never ask you to email confidential material, nor will they ask you to confirm any secure login details over the phone. If you’re in any doubt about whether a request is genuine, check with the exam board. 
  • Make sure you and your colleagues know what to do if something unusual happens during an exam, such as a fire alarm. JCQ has guidance on its website. 

As in every exam series, you can be confident that Ofqual will carefully monitor the delivery of summer exams, taking action where it’s needed. And as this year’s summer exam series begins, we wish all students taking exams and assessments this summer every success. 

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