GCE Public Examinations Advice for Parents and Students

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1 GCE Public Examinations Advice for Parents and Students INTRODUCTION Examinations are a very important for students and it can be a very stressful time for both students and parents. Every effort to ensure that candidates receive the best possible preparation for their examinations and this booklet is intended to inform students and parents/guardians about examination procedures, and to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about exams. However, remember IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO CHECK YOUR EXAMINATION TIMETABLE CAREFULLY AND TO PRESENT YOURSELF FOR THE RIGHT EXAM AT THE PROPER TIME. 1. Who is responsible for the examinations? Who is entered for public examinations? Coursework deadlines What arrangements are made for study leave? What information will students receive about their examination entries? Candidate Number UCI Number What does a GCE examination mean? How many units do students take? What happens if I am late for an exam? What happens if I miss an exam? How do I know what grade I got in a Unit? What grade did I get overall for the GCE? Is it possible to improve my AS grade? What is an A*? Pre-interview tests How do I know the dates of my exams? At what times do the exam sessions begin? What happens if a student has more than 1 exam at the same time? How do I get my results? Can I get advice on Results Day? How do candidates apply to re-sit? How should fees be paid? Can a Hollyfield student enter an exam as a private candidate? How do I go about obtaining copies of marked examination scripts? Can I decline an A Level grade?...8 Page 1 of 8

2 1. Who is responsible for the examinations? The School s exams officer is responsible for administering all public examination arrangements and for oversight of students during exams. There is a team of adult invigilators who will be present during the exams at all times and who are supervised by the exams officer. The awarding bodies or examination boards set down strict criteria which must be followed for the conduct of exams, and the centre is required to follow them precisely. 2. Who is entered for public examinations? It is centre policy to enter every student who is being taught a subject, for the most appropriate level of exam. Names for exam entries are given to the Exams Officer by the appropriate Head of Subject. Students who are resitting exam modules need to see the Exams Officer in advance of the entry deadline. The entry deadline will be on the notice board in the Sixth Form Common Room and announced in briefings. 3. Coursework deadlines Most of the subjects have an element of coursework included in them which has to be completed. Coursework will be marked and assessed, and the marks and work will be sent to the Exam Boards well before the formal exam sessions take place. The School sets deadlines that allow time for this process and to meet the Board deadlines. These cannot be changed. Students who don t submit coursework on time will not be allocated a mark for this portion and their overall grade will suffer. 4. What arrangements are made for study leave? There is study leave for both year 12 and 13 for the Summer exams only. Students will be notified of the dates in advance once they have been agreed with SLT. After those dates students are only required to be in School when they actually have examinations. Year 12 will return for the start of A2 syllabus teaching in June. Note that there is NO study leave for the January exams as it interrupts the syllabus delivery of the subjects that do not take January exams. 5. What information will students receive about their examination entries? All candidates receive a statement of entry from school via their form tutor indicating the subjects they are being entered for and the levels of entry, where applicable (in November for the January exams, and in May for the summer exams). Please check that these are correct, especially if you are entering for an exam re-sit. You must check everything on your statement of entry very carefully. Particularly check that all personal details (date of birth, spelling of Page 2 of 8

3 names) are accurate as these will appear on certificates and it may be difficult to change them once certificates are awarded. 6. Candidate Number Each candidate has a four-digit candidate (or examination) number. This is the number you will enter on examination papers; it is the same for all exam boards. It will appear next to your name on seating plans and examination registers. Please learn it. Do not write the School name anywhere on your exam scripts. 7. UCI Number In addition to a candidate number, each candidate must have a Unique Candidate Identifier which is shown on the top of statements of entry. This number will usually begin with the Centre Number (14409) unless you have transferred from another school that had already issued your UCI. Your UCI is used for administration purposes and it is not necessary for you to remember it. 8. What does a GCE examination mean? GCE stands for General Certificate of Education. Most students take AS (Advanced Subsidiary) in Year 12 and A2 (Advanced Level) in Year 13. Note that A2 is not a stand alone qualification. Students have to take the AS in order to achieve A2. AS certificate can be stand alone such as the fourth AS this is not normally carried on into Year 13 as an A2 course. Once the A2 grade is issued the AS grade no longer stands. All GCE qualifications are graded on a scale of A E. Candidates not achieving E will receive U (Unclassified). 9. How many units do students take? Most GCE specifications consist of four units. Exceptions are Music, Mathematics, Applied ICT and Science subjects (Biology, Chemistry and Physics). AS = 2 units (3 for Science and Maths) (i.e. exams) = AS Certificate A2 = 2 units (3 for Science and Maths) + (2 or 3 x AS units) = Advanced Level Certificate With Applied ICT there is three units per year. A uniform mark scale (UMS) is used to aggregate marks from individual assessment units and generate qualification grades (see table below) AS = 300 marks A2 = 600 marks The AS unit results (UMS) (& not the grade) count towards the A2 result. Page 3 of 8

4 10. What happens if I am late for an exam? Candidates who arrive late for an examination may still be admitted but will not receive any additional time. If special consideration applies then you must speak to the Examinations Officer. Any candidate who is not presence at the start of an exam will receive a phone call home, the school will also attempt to contact the student on their mobile and the parent. It is imperative that the school has the correct numbers so it is advisable that current numbers are given to form tutors. A message will be left if possible. 11. What happens if I miss an exam? If you experience difficulties during the examination period (e.g. illness, injury, or personal problems) please inform the school as soon as possible so we can help or advise you. Only in exceptional circumstances are candidates allowed special consideration for absence from any part of an examination. It is essential that medical or other appropriate evidence is obtained on the day by the candidate/parent and given to the Examinations Officer without delay in all cases where an application is to be made for special consideration. A selfcertification form (JCQ/ME Form 14) can be obtained from the Examinations Officer which can be countersigned by your doctor or nurse. For the award of a grade by special consideration, where a student misses part of an examination through illness or personal misfortune, a minimum of 35% of the examination (including coursework) must be completed. Please note that misreading the timetable will not be accepted as a satisfactory explanation of absence. 12. How do I know what grade I got in a Unit? Uniform mark scales GCE UNIT RESULTS The minimum uniform marks required for each grade equivalent: Unit grade equivalent A B C D E Where maximum uniform mark is Where maximum uniform mark is Where maximum uniform mark is Where maximum uniform mark is Where maximum uniform mark is Where maximum uniform mark is Where maximum uniform mark is Where maximum uniform mark is Page 4 of 8

5 13. What grade did I get overall for the GCE? The maximum uniform mark for the qualification and the minimum uniform mark required for each grade: Qualification grade A B C D E GCE Advanced Subsidiary (AS) Where maximum uniform mark is 100 GCE Advanced Subsidiary (AS) Where maximum uniform mark is 200 GCE Advanced Subsidiary (AS) Where maximum uniform mark is 300 GCE Advanced (A level) Where maximum uniform mark is 200 GCE Advanced (A level) Where maximum uniform mark is 400 GCE Advanced (A level) Where maximum uniform mark is Is it possible to improve my AS grade? It is possible to re-sit AS units in order to improve the AS grade. The better results are also aggregated for the A2 result. However bear in mind that all certificated grades must be declared on your UCAS form. For example if you scored Unit 1 40/100 (Unit 1) and 45/100 (Unit 2) in the Summer exams that would give a total UMS of 85/200 which is AS grade E. You could then re-sit Unit 1 in January of Year 13 and hopefully gain a better result /100. This would then give /100 (Unit 1) and 45/100 (Unit 2) with a total UMS of 145/200 which is AS grade B. In June take the 2 x A2 units, the individual results of which are added to the best AS results to give the A2 result. All AS students will be entered for an award in the June examination season as we have been advised by UCAS that admission tutors will expect to see results for AS on the UCAS form. It is no longer possible to decline an AS or A level grade. Page 5 of 8

6 15. What is an A*? The A* on an aggregated A2, that is 1 out of 200 on the uniform mark scale (UMS) for the combined scores of the two A2 units. The A* grade will not be awarded at AS level because the more challenging material is introduced at A2 only. 16. Pre-interview tests Students wishing to apply for certain courses at Oxbridge, for certain medical, dentistry or veterinary medicine course there is a requirement to take extra tests such as BMAT or ELAT. The pre-interview tests take place in early November every year and students take the test during Year 13. Students will have to pay for the entry fees for these tests and they are preset by the organising bodies, eg the BMAT is established by Cambridge Assessment; and students will need to pay this fee. Students wishing to apply for Mathematics courses at Oxbridge, Warwick, Bristol and Bath will need to take STEP. Information about these tests is available from the Sixth Form Office. 17. How do I know the dates of my exams? You will be given an individual examination timetable showing your own specific examinations with details of date, time and duration of exam and room. Study this carefully and make sure you understand when and where your examinations will take place. It is advisable to put the exam dates on a calendar at home. If you miss an exam you cannot take it on another day. 18. At what times do the exam sessions begin? The exam boards dictate the permissible start times for exams. Candidates are asked to report no later than 8.30am for morning examinations and 1.15pm for afternoon examinations. Students will not be allowed out of an exam early for any reason. Some students may also receive an allowance of extra time for the examinations and so their finishing times will be later. Timings for some papers may deviate from this pattern and the candidates will be made aware of this. It is the candidates responsibility to be aware of the start time of each exam, but parents should be warned there is a tendency for students to confuse AM and PM sessions. Page 6 of 8

7 Please ensure your son/daughter checks his/her exam commitments for each day on the previous evening. 19. What happens if a student has more than 1 exam at the same time? A few candidates have a clash where two subjects are timetabled at the same time. The school will make special timetable arrangements for these candidates only. You must check your individual timetable and see the Exams Office if you are unsure what to do. If you think there is a clash on your timetable that has not been resolved, please see Exams Office immediately. 20. How do I get my results? Check the school calendar for Results Day. Results will be ready for collection from 9.15 in the Sixth Form Common Room. If you wish any other person (including family members) to collect your results on your behalf, you must give your written authorisation to school before Results Day. Candidates who do not collect their results on Results Day will receive notification through the normal post. No results will be given out by telephone under any circumstances. 21. Can I get advice on Results Day? Members of the Sixth Form Team will be available during the morning. If collecting A2 results there will be advice about Clearing and Adjustment, if necessary. AS students will need to indicate which subjects they will continue with at A How do candidates apply to re-sit? It is possible to re-sit modules/units; requests to re-sit units must be made on the correct form, accompanied by the appropriate examination fees. Students should discuss their decision to re-sit with their subject teacher or relevant dept head. Fees may vary depending on the subject. The cost per unit is set by each Examination Board. These charges must be paid by the deadlines set. Refunds are not given. You need to take advice about re-sits from the appropriate Head of Subject and the Sixth Form Team. It is not advisable to do too many re-sits because it will have an impact on the student s learning of new units put them under a lot of pressure. If we feel that you are attempting to re-sit too many subjects we will discuss this with you. Page 7 of 8

8 23. How should fees be paid? Payments must accompany all re-sit forms. Cheques should be made payable to Hollyfield School. If exam entry deadlines are missed then a student may also have to pay for the late-entry fee. 24. Can a Hollyfield student enter an exam as a private candidate? This is possible but needs to be discussed with the Examinations officer. If a student wants to sit an exam in a subject that the school does not offer then the student will have to pay for the exam entry fee and the cost of invigilation. 25. How do I go about obtaining copies of marked examination scripts? It is currently possible to have access to marked scripts for most AS/A2 units. You will need to complete a form from the centre and pay a fee for each subject/paper. You should be aware that copies of marked scripts prior to an enquiry on results must be ordered within one week of the issue of results. 26. Can I decline an A Level grade? No. The centre will apply to consolidate AS/A2 units together at the end of each course, in June, as standard. This will result in an AS/A2 grade being offered by the examination Boards. If a student intends to re-sit and improve the level, then they must ask for a new certificate grade at the time they re-sit. Page 8 of 8

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