Overview of the examination process
The exams are set and in the main, also marked by examination boards. Oxford Home Schooling uses two boards; AQA for most of its A levels and GCSEs and Edexcel for all its IGCSEs and Biology A level.
The examinations are taken at examination centres (usually schools or tuition colleges) which have to be registered with the examination boards.
What are your responsibilities?
Students need to be booked into an examination centre in order to take an exam. Oxford Home Schooling does not do this for you. It is your responsibility to find your own exam centre and register with them for an exam.
If you are studying a subject with an NEA or coursework element (this would be A level English Language, English Literature or History and GCSE English) then the entering procedure is different from other subjects. Please read the section on NEA carefully.
How we will help
Oxford Home Schooling will send email reminders about arranging your exams if you are sitting in the summer but we do not generally do this for winter exams. We will provide you with all the entry codes you need and we will provide you with a password for our interactive examination map which has 700+ centres that our students have used before.
We know of over 30 centres around the country who will always take our students for exams and as long as you are prepared to travel to one of these we can certainly guarantee you an exam place.
How you can help us and help other students too
We can provide a huge list of examination centres largely because we have worked hard to make dealing with OHS students as straightforward as possible. If an Exams Officer at a centre has had a bad experience taking Home Schooled students in the past, they are less likely to consider any others in the future. To help them out we ask you follow these simple guidelines.
- Follow the instructions we send out. We will provide very detailed instructions which will ensure you know how to arrange your examination. Please read them!
- Know your Course. All the information you need can be found in the introduction section of your course and in the letters we will send you. Before you contact an examination officer, make sure you know your:
- Examination Board; AQA or Edexcel
- Specification Number/entry code
- Tier or unit code if relevant
- SENCO requirements if you have any
- Don’t pester your examination officer. Most questions about exams can be answered by either your course Introduction, the information we will send to guide you through the exam process, or this website. If in doubt, contact your Oxford Home Schooling student adviser on 0800 9757575. They will be more than happy to offer guidance.
- Provide reliable contact information. Exams officers have a very stressful job and if they have to spend hours trying to contact a private candidate understandably they get very frustrated. Always give them Oxford Home Schooling’s phone number (0800 0 111 024, or 01865 304856) and the information we provide, as well as your own details, so that they have at least one reliable contact during office hours.
- If you decide not to take the exam, please tell the exams officer. If you are withdrawing from an exam or are unable to get there on the day, please make it a priority to tell your exam centre. Exam officers have huge problems if they have to delay the start of an exam for their own students while they try to make contact with a missing private candidate.
- Don’t be late. Nobody wants to be late for an exam and if you are too late then the exams officer can’t let you in. Allow plenty of spare journey time and do not disturb those students who were on time.
- Always pay your fees even if you do not sit the exam. The exam officer will often have had to do as much work for candidates who have withdrawn as for those who sit their exam.
- Please treat your exam officer with courtesy and respect. They are not obliged to help you and if they do they are trusting that you will not take up a disproportionate amount of their time.
- Provide a stamped addressed envelope, email address and telephone number, so that the exam officer will always be able to post your results to you even if you are unable to collect them in person on the day.
- Say “Thank you”. Exams officers who take private candidates do so as a community service, they do not benefit from your exam fee and everybody loves to feel their efforts are appreciated.