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While contingency plans have been drawn up for this summer's exam series the big focus has been on adaptations to the exams and exam series itself to mitigate disruption to schooling and possible impacts of covid isolation.

The bulk of this page applies to GCSEs, AS/A levels and Edexcel IGCSEs ONLY. CAIE and Pearson IAL are not covered by the same arrangements.

The adaptations can be grouped into the following categories.

  1. Advance Information/Advanced Notice
  2. Support Materials
  3. Subject specific adaptations/Optionality of topics
  4. Changes to the arrangements for practical activities in sciences and assessment in art and design
  5. Changes to non-exam assessment arrangements
  6. Grading
  7. Timetabling of exams

The background to these changes can be found in the consultation into the assessment of GCSEs, AS and A levels in 2022, the arrangements for NEA for qualifications in 2022 and Ofqual's approach to grading exams in Autumn 2021 and Summer 2022

Where to find the changes for your subjects

There are too many changes to list the changes for each individual subject so you will need to check the specification page of your subjects for details. The changes for each subject are freely available on exam board websites.

Edexcel

Follow the links below to the subject lists, select your specification

Edexcel GCSEs

Edexcel IGCSEs

Edexcel A levels

On the specification page you will get a banner at the top - changes can be found under Summer 22 support. Looks like this on pc. Mobile it is a grey box at the top of the page. Screenshot 2022-02-06 080700.png

Or you can go through the main Summer 2022 support page. At the bottom of the page links to the support pages for each subject can be accessed.

AQA

Follow the link below to the subject list, select your subject then level

AQA subject list

On the specification page you'll get a yellow box under the subject title with a link to the changes for that subject

Screenshot 2022-02-06 140356.png

Or you can go through the main 2022 Exam Changes page. There are boxes to select your subject and qualification. The link will take you direct to the changes for that specification.

OCR

Follow the links below to the subject lists, select your specification

OCR GCSEs

OCR A Levels

On the specification page you'll get a red box with a warning sign under the subject title with a link to the changes for that subject

Screenshot 2022-02-06 143543.png

Or you can go through the main 2022 Exam Changes page. Links to some of the subjects with biggest changes are at the bottom

Eduqas

Follow the link below to the subject list, select your subject and level

Eduqas subject list (sitting in England)

The changes for this year can be found next to the specification download under Summer 2022 adaptations

Screenshot 2022-02-06 144529.png

Qualifications in Wales

WJEC qualifications sat only in Wales are not regulated by Ofqual. The adaptions in place while under similar categories (NEA adaptations, advance info etc) do not follow exactly the same patterns. WJEC have produced a number of guides to the summer adaptions that can be found here.

You can also find the adaptations for each subject from the specification page. Follow the link below to the subject list, select your subject and level

WJEC Subject list (sitting in Wales)

The changes for this year can be found next to the specification download under Summer 2022 adaptations

Screenshot 2022-02-06 144529.png

Advance Information

On the 7th February, to support student revision, advance information will be provided by exam boards about the focus of content within a specification to be assessed in summer 2022. JCQ explain it here.

Which subjects have Advance Information?

This applies to the majority of GCSEs, AS and A Levels and Edexcel IGCSEs. The exceptions are subjects which have optionality (content reduction) instead or no exams - GCSE/A Level Art and Design, GCSE Ancient History, GCSE/IGCSE History, GCSE/IGCSE Geography and GCSE/IGCSE English Literature

Where do we find Advance Information?

Advance information is only available on the exam board websites. You don't need to access it through your exam centre, it is published openly so it is available to all students, parents and teachers. The section above on 'Where to find the changes for your subjects' guides you through where to find it on the exam board sites.

What exactly is Advance Information and how do we use it?

Advance information gives some guidance to topics that will come up in the exams. This is to help manage the revision workload. You might focus more of your revision time on these topics and source questions that match these topics.

However, it's important to note that;

  • the form of the advance notice varies by subject. The reason being the exam format is different for each subject and what is most useful will differ.
  • it is NOT a form of content reduction. Students are still required to know the full content of the course and knowledge of topics not listed will still be required eg advance notice may give details of topics for high tariff questions (essays) but anything could come up in lower marks, or the paper will have questions which require bringing together knowledge from different parts of the course.
  • the information provided will not be at a level that will allow questions to be predicted or answers prepared.
  • advance notice can not be taken into the exam


Support Materials

Some subjects will have additional or amended formula sheets. These will be provided in the exam. Copies are available for download on the specification 2022 support pages (see section above on 'Where to find the changes for your subjects') to familiarise students with and use when practicing papers.

Subjects affected

  • GCSE Maths
  • OCR FSMQ and AQA Certificate Level 2 Further Mathematics
  • GCSE Physics and GCSE combined Sciences
  • Edexcel IGCSE Physics, Edexcel IGCSE Double Award Science and Edexcel IGCSE Single Award Science have an amended formula sheet

Note no change to Edexcel IGCSE Maths A formula sheet


Subject specific adaptations/Optionality of topics

For a small number of subjects there is some optionality/reduction in content being assessed on. Subjects affected are GCSE Ancient History, GCSE/Edexcel IGCSE English Literature, GCSE/Edexcel IGCSE History and GCSE/Edexcel IGCSE Geography. How this impacts on some of the specific specifications is outlined below, we haven't covered all just those most commonly sat by home educators. Do make sure to read the details for your specific specification on the exam board website, the section above on 'Where to find the changes for your subjects' guides you through where to find the information.

Ancient History

OCR GCSE Ancient History - J198

The papers will be split into 4 individual papers sat over 2 timeslots.

Candidates will be examined on both period studies and one depth study. Candidates choose which depth study.

Candidates choose from 2 routes

J198 A - Exam 1 will be 1hr 45 mins J198/11 The Persian Empire paper and J198/12 Greek depth study paper. Exam 2 will be 1 hr on J198/21 The foundations of Rome paper.

J198 B - Exam 1 will be 1hr J198/11 The Persian Empire paper. Exam 2 will be 1 hr 45mins on J198/21 The foundations of Rome paper and J198/22 Roman depth study paper.

English Literature

All English Literature GCSEs have a choice of topics beyond a common compulsory component. Details for the more commonly taken ones are below. If you are taking other specs do check the exam board specification pages.

Edexcel IGCSE English Literature - 4ET1

Anthology Poetry will not be assessed in Summer 2022

Paper 1 will now be 1 hour 20 minutes and cover Unseen Poetry and Modern Prose. Paper 1 is closed book.

Paper 2 will remain unchanged. It will be 1hr 30 minutes and cover Modern Drama and Literary Heritage texts. Paper 2 is open book.

AQA GCSE English Literature - 8702

All students will be assessed on a Shakespeare play and Unseen Poetry.

Candidates can then choose two of the following three areas:

  • Anthology of poetry
  • Modern text
  • 19th-century novel.

Paper 1 will be 1hr 40mins and will include candidates choice of 2 from; Paper 1P Anthology of poetry, Paper 1N 19th-century novel and Paper 1M Modern prose/drama

Paper 2 will be 1hr 45mins and will cover the compulsory content; Section A: Shakespeare and Section B: Unseen Poetry

Edexcel GCSE English Literature - 1ET0

All students will be assessed on a Shakespeare play and post-1914  Literature.

Candidates can then choose either the 19th-century  Novel  or  Poetry  since  1789

Paper 1 will be 1hr 45mins and will cover the compulsory content; Section A: Shakespeare and Section B: post-1914  Literature

Paper 2 will be 1hr 15 mins and will cover candidates choice of 19th-century  Novel  OR  Poetry  since  1789

There  will  be  two  different  entry  codes depending  on  which  option  you  choose: 

  • entry  code  1ET0  N  =  Shakespeare,  post-1914  Literature  and  19th-century  novel   
  • entry  code  1ET0  P  =  Shakespeare,  post-1914  Literature  and  Poetry since  1789.

History

All History GCSEs have a choice of topics beyond a common compulsory component. Details for the more commonly taken ones are below. If you are taking other specs do check the exam board specification pages.

Edexcel IGCSE History - 4HI1

Students will study and be assessed on 3 topics instead of 4.

Historical Investigation, in Paper 2, is compulsory.

Candidates choose from 2 routes:

Route A - Paper 1A will be 1hr 30 mins and cover two depth studies. Paper 2A will be 45mins and cover Section A: The Historical Investigation.

Route B - Paper 1B will be 45 mins and cover one depth study. Paper 2B will be 1hr and 30mins and cover Section A: The Historical Investigation and Section B: The Breadth Study.

Edexcel GCSE History - 1HI0

All students will be assessed on Paper 3 Modern depth study

Candidates can then choose two of the following three areas:

  • Thematic study with historic environment (Paper 1)
  • British Depth Study (Paper 2B)
  • Period Study (Paper 2P)

Paper 2 is split into 2 different papers each lasting 55 mins; Paper 2B - British Depth Study, Paper 2P - Period Study

There are no SPaG marks on Paper 1

Candidates choose from 2 routes:

1HIA - Candidates sit Paper 3, Paper 1 and Paper 2B or Paper 2P

1HIB - Candidates sit Paper 3, Paper 2B and Paper 2P

Edexcel History Entry Code Calculator

AQA GCSE History - 8145

All students will be assessed on the Wider World Depth study (Paper 1, Section B).

Candidates can then choose two of the following three areas:

  • the Period study (Paper 1, Section A)
  • the Thematic study (Paper 2, Section A)
  • the British Depth study with the historic environment (Paper 2, Section B).

There are no SPaG marks on the Thematic study (Paper 2, Section A)

Each unit will be a separate 1 hr exam paper. Students will sit 3 papers. TBC

AQA History Entry Code Calculator

Geography

All GCSEs have had the requirement to complete fieldwork removed and reduction in questions as a result. There is also an optional content element. As PCs usually do IGCSE for Geography we have not listed the GCSE changes here but for 2022 the GCSEs are more accessible to PCs. If you are doing GCSE check the exam board specification pages for details on the changes.

Edexcel IGCSE Geography

The requirement for students to conduct their own fieldwork has been removed.  Familiar fieldwork will not be assessed in Paper 1 or Paper 2 with questions on students’ own fieldwork removed for 2022. Questions in Paper 1 and Paper 2 will be set in an unfamiliar fieldwork contexts only.

Content optionality

Paper 2 Human Geography, Section A - Candidates choose one (instead of two) out of three questions on: economic activity and energy, rural environments, urban environments


Changes to practical activities and non-exam assessment arrangements

Some practical requirements have been reduced and can now be completed through watching a demonstration rather than students undertaking them themselves. This *may* make it more straightforward for private candidates to access subjects that are typically inaccessible at GCSE such as Science . These changes only apply to Summer 2022. Lots of subjects have changes; some of these changes, but not all, are listed below. Do check the specific requirements for your specification yourself. The section above on 'Where to find the changes for your subjects' guides you through where to find the information.

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/arrangements-for-non-exam-assessment-for-qualifications-in-2022

Art and Design

Candidates taking GCSE, Edexcel IGCSE, AS and A level art and design will be assessed on their portfolio only. There is no controlled assessment.

Astronomy

The requirement for students to undertake two observational activities remains. The requirement can be met by students watching these activities taking place, if it is not possible to undertake the activities safely themselves. Centres will still need to sign off the observations

English Language

English Language GCSEs

Centres do not need to submit a sample of audio-visual recordings for the Spoken Language endorsement in summer 2022.

The Spoken Language assessment can:

  • take place in front of one teacher who will represent the ‘audience’
  • be conducted virtually at any point during the course.

These changes theoretically make it easier for centres to facilitate the Spoken Language endorsement for PCs. However, centres still need to submit an declaration showing that all candidates have been given the opportunity to complete the Spoken Language endorsement. So it is still going to be more difficult to facilitate than IGCSE.

Centres do not need to submit a sample of audio-visual recordings for the Spoken Language endorsement in summer 2022.

The Spoken Language assessment can:

  • take place in front of one teacher who will represent the ‘audience’
  • be conducted virtually at any point during the course.

These changes theoretically make it easier for centres to facilitate the Spoken Language endorsement for PCs. However, centres still need to submit an declaration showing that all candidates have been given the opportunity to complete the Spoken Language endorsement. So it is still going to be more difficult to facilitate than IGCSE.

Geography

GCSE, AS and A level

For 2022 the requirement for centres to make a declaration to exam boards confirming they provided all students with the opportunity to undertake a mandated number of occasions or days of fieldwork activities outside of the school or college premises for GCSE, AS and A level geography.

For GCSE and AS geography, the exam boards will not ask questions in written examinations about fieldwork that students have undertaken themselves. Length of papers may change as a result. Theoretically this makes it easier for external candidates to access. However, best to check with exam centre and as this is for 2022 only it removes any flexibility to rearrange exams.

A levels still have NEAs so will remain extremely difficult for PCs to access.

Edexcel IGCSE

The requirement for students to conduct their own fieldwork has been removed.  Familiar fieldwork will not be assessed in Paper 1 or Paper 2 with questions on students’ own fieldwork removed for 2022. Questions in Paper 1 and Paper 2 will be set in an unfamiliar fieldwork contexts only.

Modern Foreign Languages

Speaking tests for GCSE and Edexcel IGCSE

Formal Speaking tests are expected to resume in 2022 and candidates should prepare to be assessed on Speaking in the normal way. If public health restrictions prevent this from happening, the speaking endorsement approach adopted in 2021 will be implemented again in 2022.

Vocabulary for GCSE and Edexcel IGCSE

The regulatory requirement for assessments to use words outside of vocabulary lists has been removed. AQA say "We may still include a small number of basic vocabulary items (eg primary colours, cognates/near cognates) not listed in the specification which students may need to understand in order to answer the questions. This will only happen where excluding such items from the assessments is likely to increase the demand of the tasks." Pearson say "Where a word from outside the vocabulary list cannot be avoided, it will be glossed. " This applies to Writing, Reading and Listening assessments.

Writing Papers for GCSE

The GCSEs have adapted the written papers slightly to include extra optional questions. As it varies by exam board it is best to check out the specific specification you are studying.

Sciences

GCSE, and AS Level Biology, Chemistry, Geology, Physics and Combined Science: Students rather than carrying out the practicals can observe a demonstration by a teacher, or observe remotely (videos). Centres may still need to submit a declaration to the exam board that the practical requirements have been met.

A Level Biology, Chemistry, Geology, Physics: Students do not have to complete 12 practical activities. They can complete a minimum number of activities to demonstrate competence.

Grading

Ofqual has outlined their approach to grading for summer 2022 here. The idea is to try to move grades back to the pre-pandemic standard from the lower grade boundaries of the TAGs - but not in one jump. 2022 is to be a ‘transition year’. Results overall will be higher than in 2019, but not as high as in 2020/21. The aim is for 2022 to ‘reflect a midway point between 2021 and 2019’ with the ‘aim to return to results that are in line with those in pre-pandemic years’ in 2023. The summary is we can expect more generous grade boundaries than summer 2019, but less generous than 2020 and 2021.

Timetabling of exams

The exam timetables have been adapted for summer 2022 to allow longer gaps between papers for a particular subject. The logic being that if a candidate misses a paper due to Covid/isolating then there is a higher possibility that they will be able to sit other papers. For JCQ exams (GCSE/Alevels) if a candidate sits 25% of the total assessment then it is possible that the exam centre may be able to apply for special consideration and a candidate can receive a grade for that subject. The important thing will be communication. If during the exam series your student tests positive, then contact the exam centre as soon as possible for advice.

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