Frequently Asked Questions
This Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section focuses on summer 2022 awarding.
FAQs will be continually monitored and updated as further information becomes available.
Summer 2022 Arrangements
Will examinations take place in Summer 2022?
On 17 May 2021, the previous Education Minister announced a return to public examinations for all CCEA qualifications during the next academic year.
What will happen if there is further disruption to the 2021/2022 academic year?
At present, the full series of examinations for 2021/2022 is going ahead as planned, as announced by the previous Education Minister on 17 May 2021. We are constantly monitoring the external environment and following government guidelines and advice from the Public Health Agency (PHA). Contingency planning is however also underway to ensure we find the best alternative solution, if we need it, for students. The previous Education Minister said, "Contingency plans for alternative awarding in 2022 will build on the outworking of and learning from this year’s approach based on the use of Centre Determined Grades."
Summer 2022 Examinations
Are there alternative assessment arrangements in place for GCSE, AS and A level students in 2021/22?
Due to the disruption faced by students in 2020/21 because of the COVID 19 pandemic, students will be provided with the option of omitting one unit of assessment, chosen by CCEA, from the vast majority of CCEA qualifications.
More information on how grades will be awarded in 2021/22 can be viewed here.
If I choose to do all assessment and examinations units, will I be at a disadvantage in comparison to other students in my class who choose to omit?
If you choose to sit all units, CCEA will ensure that you are treated fairly and won’t be disadvantaged. We will do this by automatically calculating the grade you get in all units and compare this with the grade you would have received if you had chosen to omit a unit.
We will award the highest grade from either route.
This short video explains how the process will work this year.
Will my AS grade count towards my A2 qualification outcome?
AS grades issued on 10 August 2021 will not contribute to your overall A level grades.
Watch our animation which explains why it is not possible for the AS to contribute to the A2 in 2022.
Your AS grade is a stand-alone qualification for future progression in higher education or employment. It will help you make your final subject choices for your A levels. It can also be used on UCAS forms and to show your educational achievement.
As these grades will be based on reduced assessment will they be as good or valuable as previous years?
The grades you receive in Summer 2022 are just as valuable as grades from previous years and/or future years.
What does ‘omit a unit of assessment’ mean?
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on teaching in the 2020/2021 academic year, CCEA will allow students to take one less assessment in the majority of GCSE and GCE subjects in the 2021/2022 academic year. This means, overall, you will be sitting less assessments or examinations than your peers have in previous years.
Do I have to omit a unit of assessment?
The assessment omission is optional. Students who wish to take all examinations can do so if they choose.
Will all grades be available this year if I choose to sit an exam with an omitted unit?
All grades, to include the A* grade, will be available at each level this year, no matter which route a student chooses.
If a unit is omitted for assessment, do I still have to be taught it?
On 17 May 2021, the Education Minister announced schools will aim to teach this omitted content in order to support and underpin progression but the pressure of assessment will be reduced.
As a student, is it my choice whether to omit a unit for assessment, or is this a decision which is made by my school?
Omission of any unit will be an informed decision and agreed together with your school and parent/guardian.
Where can I find information on what units have been omitted?
You can find which assessments and units have been removed on our Specification Addenda page.
If I choose to sit all units, what does it mean that my highest grade from either route will be awarded?
If you choose to sit all units, we will assess which grade is higher from your performance in all units, or in the units you must sit. An example can be found here.
I’m in Year 11, will the omissions affect me?
Summer 2022 Subjects
If I choose to omit the assessment CCEA has identified in one qualification, do I have to omit an assessment in all my other qualifications?
I’m much better at oral Modern Languages than written Modern Languages – can I take both assessments?
Yes, you have the option to sit just the compulsory units or to sit all units.
Summer 2022 Timetables & Results
When are the GCSE Science module exams taking place?
You can find our March 2022 timetable for GCSE Science module exams on our website.
When are exams taking place in Summer 2022?
You can find our GCSE and GCE final timetables on our website.
When will Results Day be for Summer 2022?
- GCE Results day will be on 18 August 2022.
- GCSE Results day will be on 25 August 2022.
When will the results from the November examination series be released?
- Thursday 10th February 2022 - Issue of Results for GCSE
- Thursday 24th February 2022 - Issue of Results for Occupational Studies, Preparation for Adult Life, Performance Skills and Certificate of Personal Effectiveness
Entry Level, Vocational and Occupational Studies
How are Entry Level and Vocational Qualification students being assessed in 2021/22?
In Entry Level and Vocational Qualifications, students can omit assessments up to a maximum of 50% of the qualification.
How are Occupational Studies students being assessed in 2021/22?
For Occupational Studies, students can omit one unit of their choice from final assessment.
As with GCSE, AS and A level qualifications, any student who chooses to sit all units will be awarded the higher grade from either all units or the compulsory units only.
In Entry Level and Vocational Qualifications, students can omit assessments up to a maximum of 50% of the qualification.
Understanding what examination malpractice is and how to avoid it
What is examination/assessment malpractice?
Malpractice is any action that breaks the rules of an exam or an assessment. Rules exist for each examination and assessment, to ensure a level playing field exists for all learners. Examples of malpractice could be:
- Copying someone else's work;
- Plagiarising coursework or controlled assessment material;
- Bringing your mobile phone or watch into the exam room;
- Talking to someone during an exam;
- Sharing information about an assessment on social media such as Instagram, WhatsApp or Facebook;
- Bringing your own paper/study aides into the exam room; and/or
- Sharing your coursework / controlled assessment with your friends.
If you become aware of someone else committing malpractice and do not report this to the appropriate school authority, this also can be considered malpractice. Always confidentially report incidents of malpractice to your teacher or Exams Officer.
Can malpractice only happen in an exam?
No, malpractice can happen before, during or after any exam or assessment. Malpractice can happen when you are:
- Preparing for, completing, and authenticating controlled assessments as your own work;
- Carrying out practical assessment work and other non- examination assessments when completing your exams; and/or
- Sharing information on an assessment on social media directly following an assessment when you have had to take the examination earlier than others due to a timetable clash.
How can I avoid committing malpractice?
Make sure you know the rules when completing any part of an exam or assessment. If you have any queries about a subject assessment or exam you should ask your subject teacher. You should also read the JCQ documents, Information for Candidates, which covers all expected exam behaviour.
What may I bring into the exam hall?
You may bring the following items into an examination:
- Clear pencil cases;
- Clear water bottles;
- Clear glasses cases; and/or
- Calculator, if permitted for the exam, with no lid and all stored data cleared from the memory.
What am I not allowed to bring into the exam hall?
You must not bring any of the following into the exam hall:
- Mobile phones;
- MP3/4 players or similar device;
- Wireless earphones;
- Electronic dictionaries;
- Watches (unless previously approved as part of an access arrangement);
- Your own paper;
- Calculators (unless permitted for the exam); and/or
- Memory sticks.
If in doubt, ask your teacher in advance or click here for more information.
Are there any electronic devices that I may bring into an exam?
The only electronic device you may bring into the exam, if permitted to do so, is a calculator. You must have cleared any internal memory or stored data on the calculator and remove the lid if there is one.
Ensure that all other electronic devices are stored in your locker or a safe area outside the examination room. If an electronic device belonging to you is discovered inside the exam room, even if it is not on your person, you could still be disqualified from the exam.
How can I avoid committing malpractice in my exam?
Your invigilator will remind you of the dos and don’ts immediately before taking an exam but it is important you know what to expect in advance of exam day.
During an exam or assessment, you MUST:
- Sit in your allocated seat;
- Follow all the instructions provided by the invigilator; and
- Start and stop writing when told to do so.
During an exam or assessment, you MUST NOT
- Leave your seat without permission;
- Attempt to talk to other students during the exam;
- Borrow anything from another candidate;
- Pass or accept notes in the exam hall;
- Engage in disruptive behaviour during the exam;
- Use inappropriate, offensive, or obscene language in your script; and/or
- Remove your exam script or question paper from the exam room.
You can find out more information by reading JCQ’s official exam guidelines.
Is it considered malpractice if I’m late to my exam?
If you are late for your exam, this is not considered malpractice. If you are late, you must not go to the exam room; you must report immediately to the School’s Examination Officer, and they will advise you of the next steps.
If you have a morning exam, always make sure you set your alarm early so that you arrive in plenty of time. Arriving late could make you anxious and you want to avoid that!
What is plagiarism?
Plagiarism is when someone copies another person’s words, thoughts or ideas and presents them as their own. For example, quoting from books or blogs on the internet, another student’s essay, or artwork.
Plagiarism is taken very seriously and, if found in a student’s work, they could be disqualified from the unit or qualification.
How can I avoid committing malpractice using social media?
Students are often advised to stay away from social media during exams because you may accidently share sensitive exam-related information without meaning to. This includes speaking about it or sharing it as a picture or photograph.
If using social media NEVER:
- Post your assessment work which may allow it to be copied by someone else;
- Share confidential exam/assessment-related information in advance of an exam/assessment;
- Accept information on an exam from someone else which you have yet to sit; and/or
- Share details about exam questions before an exam - whether you think these are real or fake.
If you are aware of rumours of exam content or have seen exam-related posts being circulated on social media, make your teacher aware.
More details are available here.
What happens if I’m suspected of malpractice in an exam or assessment?
Your centre must report all incidents of alleged malpractice to CCEA. Your school / college will give you the opportunity to respond to the allegations and seek further information from you about the alleged incident(s). They will also interview any witnesses such as invigilators, other students and relevant school staff. All relevant information will be gathered such as example unauthorised materials taken into an exam, mobile phone records, copies of social media blogs / records and any other exam / assessment work submitted by you.
Where exceptional circumstances may exist, you should tell your school/college of these during the interview.
A report of the incident, along with all the required information, will be sent to CCEA for consideration and a decision. CCEA will inform your Head of Centre of the outcome of your case including any penalties to be applied to you.
What happens if I’m found to have committed malpractice?
If you are found to have committed malpractice, CCEA will apply penalties in line with the JCQ Suspected Malpractice in Examinations and Assessments policies and procedures Appendix 5.
Penalties that may be applied include:
- A written warning;
- The loss of marks for a section, component, or unit;
- Disqualification from a unit or from all units for that subject;
- Disqualification from all CCEA qualifications entered for that exam series; or
- A ban from taking assessments or exams for a set period, for example one year.
A permanent record will be kept of any penalties applied to your results. All other information relating to the specific malpractice will be destroyed after seven years.
However, if you follow the rules, you don’t need to worry!
Will unit entries in Summer 2020 and Summer 2021 count as an attempt for resit purposes?
No. January 2021, March 2021 and Summer 2021 unit entries will not count as an attempt for resit purposes.
If I wish to resit my A2 qualification in Summer 2023, will the option of a unit omission continue to apply?
Yes, students who cash in their GCE qualification in Summer 2022 will be able to avail of the omission in Summer 2023 if they decide to resit. If they also decide to sit the assessment unit available for omission, they will be awarded the better grade from their performance in the mandatory unit or across all units.