GCSE and A level exams in the autumn 2021

Ofqual , the exam regulator opted to make no adaptations to most of GCSE and A level exams in the autumn 2021 series despite flagging it would mean “some exam candidates could be examined on aspects that they have not been taught”.

Board minutes from a March 17 ofqual exam meeting, published today, show that exam candidates preparedness was a “key concern” for ofqual following the proposal that gcse and a level exams in the autumn of 2021 would be conducted as normal.

Autumn GCSE and A level exams

 Ofqual decided that “autumn exams should be in their normal way and that no adaptations should be made (other than reasonable access arrangements adjustments for exam candidates with special educational needs or disabilities)”.

Ofqual stated this will ensure arrangements are familiar to students and avoids the risk that such arrangements would advantage exam candidates “who have access to support over others”.

They also said this decision will avoid additional costs and workload for teachers, exam officers and the exam boards.

Previously agreed on adjustments in some GCSE and AS subjects

All GCSE and A level exams will be in their normal format apart from a select number of GCSE and AS subjects which will be assessed in the same way as had previously been planned for the summer 2021 exam series.

This means pupils sitting a GCSE in English literature, history and ancient history will answer questions on a reduced number of topics.

Modern foreign language GCSE pupils will have a “speaking endorsement rather than a speaking test”.

Finally, in GCSE and AS geography pupils will not have to answer questions about their fieldwork experience.