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  • GCSEs, or General Certificates of Secondary Education, are examinations in specific subjects sat at the end of Year 11. They replaced O-Levels in 1988.

  • All students need to be aiming for passes in at least five subjects including English Language and Maths as this will be expected by the majority of employers and post-16 education providers.

  • In 2016 the grading system changed so the familiar A*-G was replaced with the numbers 9-1. A 4 is a pass (the equivalent to a C) and 9, 8 and 7 have replaced A*-A. Being awarded a 9 is seen as the equivalent to an A**.

  • One aspect of GCSEs that parents can find confusing is the different exam boards. Exam boards are responsible for organising, setting, marking and distributing exams. The exam boards do add to the ever-growing list of acronyms in education but they are nothing to be confused about. There are five of them in England, Northern Ireland and Wales:

  • AQA

  • OCR

  • Edexcel

  •  SVS choose a different exam board for each subject and they will all produce slightly different papers. They are regulated by OFQUAL to make sure they are all the same standards and have the necessary material in them.

  •  Students will be made aware of which exam boards they are sitting for each subject. Each board has their own website, these are all user-friendly and will have the exam dates on there when they are released and any extra details students may need to know about the exams.

  • Timings:

  • GCSE 2023 - Time Table

  • ·         Provisional GCSE exam timetables have been released by Edexcel. 

  • ·         These timetables say exams will begin on the 16 May and finish on 28 June.

  • ·         Where there is more than one exam paper per subject, those papers be spread further apart than usual.

  • ·         For example, the two English language papers will be sat 18 May and 10 June.

  • ·         Mathematics has three papers and they will be sat 20 May, 7 June and 13 June.

  • ·         Other exam boards should release their dates soon.

  • GCSE Results Day - 2023

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