General Procedure

Oxford Open Learning will email all students who we believe are sitting exams in the summer series in the preceding autumn. We provide detailed instructions about how to find a centre and how to book your exam on this website and also on, again look under “Student Information”.

We do not book exams for you but we have details of over 30 centres ( marked in blue on our centre finder map) who will reliably offer most subjects and who often give our students a 10% discount. In addition we have information about hundreds of others that you could try.

The exam board deadline for booking exams is;

A Levels, GCSE/IGCSE; 21st February

Please do not work to this date as most popular centres get booked up very much in advance so you should start earlier.

Many centres will no longer take Private Candidates after Christmas and some are giving even earlier deadlines. You might have to contact several centres before you find one to help and this can be time consuming. It is also a good idea to compare prices as these can vary greatly, please use our Exam Centre Finder map or first of all contact your old school if you have one.

You may still be able to book an exam after the 21st February but your choice of centre will be very limited and you will have to pay expensive late entry fees.

If we do not know when or where you are sitting your exam, or you do not follow our instructions, then we cannot help you and things can go badly wrong. Please always keep us informed of your intentions and please return the Permission Form when we send it next spring so that we know where you are sitting.

Exams with no Coursework/NEA

These exams are quite simple to book once you have a centre.

The Edexcel IGCSE and AQA GCSE courses that we offer (except English), and most of our A Levels, do not have Board examined coursework/NEA.

The Introduction to your course will make it clear whether your course has NEA or not, if it has you will be contacted separately about these exams. Please be aware that your Tutor-marked Assignments are not Coursework. You will also find your entry code in the Introduction to your course.

If an exam does not include NEA then once you have found an exam centre, the procedure is straight forward, as follows;

  • Contact possible centres as early as possible. When you have found one give the correct entry code to the exam officer and if you have any special needs please let them know straight away. This is important as getting assistance can be time consuming and expensive.
  • Fill in the exam centre’s own entry form, pay the fee and get a confirmation of entry.
  • There is nothing else to do except get the exam dates and starting times from the exam officer and remember to turn up at the correct time for any orals and your written exams.
  • No other exam board forms are required.
  • Oxford Open Learning will need your Permission Form, see below, to find out where you are sitting your exam and make any necessary enquiries on your behalf, particularly after results day.

Exams with Coursework/NEA

We only offer the following subjects with coursework/NEA;

AQA GCSE English and A Level, English Language, English Literature and History. If you are studying any of these subjects you must make your exam entry with Oxford Open Learning and also find a local “host centre” to sit your written papers.

Coursework/NEA is not the same as Tutor-marked Assignments.

For students sitting exams in the summer series, we will contact you with full instructions and the required exam entry forms.

Below are the stages of the procedure you must follow to register for your exam and submit your NEA:

  1. Contact the Oxford Open Learning Examination Officer, Jenny Booth ( tel; 01865 798022) to register for your exam entry. At the same time you also need to find a “host centre” near to you, by following our instructions for finding a normal exam centre. You will have to explain that OOL will make your exam entry but the local centre must agree to “host” you as a transfer candidate for the written papers only.
  2. The local centre that agrees to allow OHS to transfer your entry to them to sit the written papers is known as the “host centre”. We cannot book your exam until you have a host centre.
  3. Provide our exams office with host centre details, return your entry form and exam fees and that is the exam booking completed.
  4. To submit your NEA, agree a topic/title with your tutor as soon as possible, make a plan and then you can send draft coursework to your tutor for comments and guidance. Make sure you allow plenty of time to do this and to make your final submission by our deadline, which is the 31st March. Coursework rules are shown on the back of the Enrolment Form that all students must sign before they can begin our courses.
  5. Your coursework/NEA has to be authenticated by your Oxford Open Learning tutor. This will not happen until the tutor has seen at least 4 Tutor-marked Assignments, plus a plan and a draft. Make sure you have completed these in good time, they are crucial. You can start your NEA before you have completed 4 TMAs and you should not wait to start until you get to the coursework lessons at the end of your folder.
  6. All final coursework must be with your Oxford Open Learning tutor for authentication by our non- negotiable deadline, the 31st March. Do not work to the AQA deadlines, ours have to be much earlier, do not assume that there is any reason for which we can accept late coursework.  Please make sure you include a Candidate Record Form signed by you and attached with a treasury tag. History students may also need a Question Approval Form.
  7. We will send a form to you (sometime during February/March) known as the Permission Form . Please return it to us promptly with your signature.

Winter Exams

There are no longer any winter A levels.

Winter GCSE: English and Maths only in November

Winter IGCSE; January, only certain subjects

The procedures for winter exams, either a November resit (for AQA Maths or English GCSE only) or January sittings for Edexcel IGCSEs, are exactly the same as for the summer series. However, students wishing to sit at any time other than the summer series will be responsible for meeting the deadlines themselves. These are the 4th October for November Maths and the 21st October for January sittings. Oxford Open Learning will assist, but if you choose to sit at any time other than summer we do not guarantee automatically to send out information.

The Permission Form

This is an internal OOL/OHS form which we send out in February/March to students who are sitting summer exams. You do not need it to book your exams, but we need it to establish where you are going to sit your exam papers and to get your results afterwards. Please return it promptly.

Below are a few suggestions about how to improve your chances of booking an exam place and maintaining good relations with your exam officer;

Very Important Guidelines for keeping your Exams Officer happy

  • Follow the instructions we send out carefully and make sure that you know your exam board, entry code and any unit codes for A level. Do not approach an exam centre with no information or the wrong information. You will find everything you need to know about procedure either on this website, in the exam information we send out or in the Introduction to your course.
  • Once you have found a centre, please do not keep pestering your exam officer with questions which can be answered by reading your course folder, this web page, the exam board web pages or the information we send to guide you through the exam process. If in doubt contact your OOL Student Adviser or your tutor first.
  • Make sure that you provide a reliable contact phone number and a current address. Exams officers who have to spend hours trying to contact a private candidate understandably get very frustrated. Always give them Oxford Open Learning’s phone number (01865 798022) and the information we provide as well as your own details, so that they have at least one reliable contact during office hours.
  • Do not be late for exams or fail to turn up without telling anyone. 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 get extremely stressed 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.
  • 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.
  • If you provide a stamped addressed envelope the exam officer will always be able to post your results to you even if you are unable to collect them in person. Similarly results can be emailed to you but they are not given out on the telephone.
  • Please always say “Thank you”. Exams officers go to a lot of trouble to help you and they do this voluntarily, they are in no way obliged to help you or any other Private Candidate.