Frequently Asked Questions
What will assessments look like in 2021-22?
Many learners are currently studying for their GCSE, AS, A level, Welsh Baccalaureate Skills Challenge Certificate and vocational qualifications. We understand you may have some concerns as you prepare for your exams and assessments.
Here are some FAQs to provide more information about arrangements this year. There’s also information about what’s in place to support you in taking your exams and assessments.
Will exams take place this year?
Yes. If you’re studying for GCSE, AS and A level qualifications, all exams planned to take place this summer are set to go ahead. This is also true for vocational qualifications that have exams.
Why are exams taking place this year?
Exams are the fairest way to assess learners in qualifications that have been designed to be assessed in this way.
We know that you have faced disruption to your education caused by the pandemic. Therefore, arrangements for exams and assessments are a bit different this year, to give you some extra support.
What changes are in place this year?
We know that you have faced disruption over the past two years, so we have put changes in place to make sure you aren’t disadvantaged.
WJEC has made changes (or adaptations) to qualifications for summer 2022. The changes (or adaptations) are different for every qualification and will help you focus your time when it comes to preparing for exams. For example, a whole unit exam might have been removed, or the amount of content being assessed might be smaller, or advance information about topics in the exam has been released. This means you can concentrate on studying and revising as you prepare to get the best results you can.
Are there changes in place for vocational qualifications?
Yes. Changes have also been made for vocational qualification assessments. Your school or college will know what changes are in place for the qualifications you’re studying. If your vocational qualification is assessed by exam, these will go ahead as planned this year.
What is advance information?
WJEC and other awarding bodies have published advance information about the exams to help learners focus their revision. This includes letting learners know about some aspects of their exams, e.g. the content, topics and skills that will be assessed.
WJEC has not released advance information for every qualification because other changes have been made for many qualifications. For more information on specific qualifications, see WJEC’s website.
What do private candidates need to do to take exams this year?
If you’re a private candidate, you must register with a school or college. Once you have registered, your school or college will enter you for your exams.
Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) has published a list of schools and colleges that will accept private candidates for GCSEs, AS and A levels this year.
If you’re a private candidate studying for a vocational qualification, you should contact your awarding organisation. They will be able to help you find a suitable school or college.
I’m studying a new Wales-only vocational qualification in Health and Social Care or Childcare. What are the arrangements for this year?
City & Guilds and WJEC have put arrangements in place for you. These arrangements help to reduce the impact of disruption to teaching and assessment caused by COVID-19.
The changes available include a reduction in the number of assessments that must be completed, verbal question and answer for the case study assessments, and remote invigilation for the on-screen multiple-choice assessment.
Full details about the changes for the new suite of Wales-only qualifications in Health and Social Care and Childcare can be found on the Health and Care Learning Wales website.
I’m studying a Health and Social Care or Childcare qualification with 'Wales' or 'Wales and Northern Ireland' in the title. What are the arrangements for this year?
The awarding bodies offering health, social care and childcare qualifications for Wales and Northern Ireland have agreed consistent changes for learners this year. You can find details here.
You can also contact your school, college or awarding body for more information.
I’m studying an ‘Essential Skills Wales’ qualification. What are the arrangements for this year?
Assessments for Essential Skills Wales will go ahead. You can find full details of the changes for the qualifications here.
If you’re unable to attend your assessment, talk to your school or college about re-scheduling.
What happens if exams cannot go ahead this year?
We expect all exams to go ahead as planned this year. Exams will only be cancelled in exceptional circumstances.
If exams have to be cancelled, there is a backup plan in place and your school or college will award your grades based on your work in assessments you have completed. The process would be like the one that was used last year – you would get centre determined grades.
How will private candidates be assessed if exams are cancelled?
If you’re a private candidate, you might already be registered with a centre that has been assessing your work throughout the year. If exams are cancelled, the school or college you’re registered with can use these assessments to produce a centre determined grade. However, if you have not been able to do this, we are exploring how these assessments could be taken over a shorter length of time to allow a grade to be produced.
What happens if I need to isolate or can’t sit an exam this summer?
The exam timetable is designed so that if you must isolate for one of your exams, or if you are ill, there will be enough of a time gap to ensure that you would be out of isolation for the next exam. If you have taken one paper but not completed all papers for a qualification you will have your grade awarded using the result of the one paper only. If the qualification includes Non-examination assessment (NEA), this will also be included.
In exceptional circumstances, where candidates cannot sit any of the exams for a qualification, we are working with awarding bodies to explore possible solutions and will then provide more information.
I’m nervous about taking exams this year. Where can I get more support?
Preparing for exams can sometimes create feelings of worry and stress but remember – you’re not alone. If you feel like you need extra support, with either your wellbeing or with your revision, the Keep Wales Learning Hub has lots of tips to help you prepare for your exams and look after your wellbeing.
What else would you like to know?