What Happens if You Miss a GCSE Exam?

In GCSE by Think Student EditorLeave a Comment

GCSE exams are very important. The thought of missing one of your GCSE exams may be a frightening prospect, however events out of our control can happen which cause us to miss an exam. These events are known as unprecedented events. Especially with the recent pandemic, ‘unprecedented’ is a word that we have all come across a lot, but what actually happens if you miss a GCSE exam?

If you miss an exam due to an unprecedented event, then there are systems in place to ensure you get a grade, as long as you meet certain criteria. However, if you miss the exam due to something within your control i.e., waking up late then you will fail the exam. You may be eligible for a resit at a later date.

Please be assured there are systems in place to help you out if you miss an exam. So, hang tight, and read on to find out more.

What do you do if you miss a GCSE exam?

You should notify your centre. This is mostly likely to be your school unless you’re a private candidate. If you try contact your centre by telephone and no one answers, your next move should be to send an email to the exams officer or admin so that they can pass it on to the exams officer. This email would be done preferably from a parent or guardian. 

In any case of review, a phone call or the email may be proof that you had contacted your centre as soon as possible. Your centre would let the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) know and possibly the exam board. They would also advise you on what to do and what will happen next.

You will be notified whether you qualify for ‘special consideration’ or not. If you are granted special consideration, then you will be eligible for a percentage of your current grade in the subject you missed the exam for. However, if you do not qualify for special consideration, you will fail your exam. Don’t panic you will have the option to retake your GCSEs, check out this Think Student article to find out more.

What happens if you arrive late to your GCSE exam?

You should contact your school or centre as soon as possible if you know that you are going to be late to your exam. Depending on how late you are, you maybe allowed into your exam, but you won’t gain any extra time! 

Can you retake your GCSE exams if you miss them?

Whether you missed your exam due to something that was or wasn’t your fault you can always resit your GCSE exam. The best thing to do in any circumstance would be to contact your school/centre/college immediately to let them know what is happening and they would be able to advise you on what to do.

You have the option to retake your GCSE exams even if you didn’t miss them. You could retake your GCSEs if you do not get the grade that you wanted, or scored less than you thought you would, re-sitting your GCSE exams is always an option. To find out more about GCSE exam retakes check out this Think Student article.

There is now even an option to study for your GCSE exams online. You can also self-study for your GCSEs and simply pay for the exam as a private candidate – that way, you will not have to go back to school and ‘retake’ the year. Check out this Think Student article to find out more.

What is the joint council for qualifications (JCQ)?

The JCQ is an organisation made up of the eight largest providers of qualifications in the UK, they have created systems to make sure you get the grades you deserve.  

The JCQ has a process called special consideration to consider any circumstances. The JCQ has outlined that: “Special consideration is given to a candidate who has temporarily experienced illness, injury or some other event outside of their control at the time of the assessment.

Special consideration is applied when the issue or event has had, or is reasonably likely to have had, a material effect on a candidate’s ability to take an assessment or demonstrate his or her normal level of attainment in an assessment.”

JCQ has made a detailed guide to the process so you can get a better idea of the process, which can be found here. This document changes every year so it is recommended you should hop on to JCQ’s official website to get up to date information.

What is special consideration?

Special consideration can be given in the form of “by applying an allowance of additional marks to each component affected within a specification”. As said by JCQ, “the size of the allowance depends on the timing, nature and extent of the illness or misfortune”.

The centre you would’ve sat the exam with must be satisfied that whatever situation you were in had a “a material detrimental effect on candidate examination performance or in the production of coursework or non-examination assessment”.

5% is the maximum allowance and is for the “most exceptional cases”, 4% allowance is given for “very serious problems”, 3% is given for the more common cases, 2% for the most common cases and 1% for “more minor problems”.  

Very large enhancements cannot be made as it would affect the standards of the exams and no longer make it fair.

Who is eligible for special consideration?

JCQ has outlined a detailed list of what will be counted as reasonable for Special Consideration. In general, if you missed your exam due to something out of your control then you would be eligible for special consideration. 

Also, to be eligible, the candidate should have been “fully prepared and have covered the whole course”. Just so you know, it is your school, college, or centre’s responsibility to prepare you for an exam. In the cases where this has not happened, then there would normally be an investigation.

Here is the list of reasons that could potentially qualify a candidate for special consideration. This information can be found on JCQ’s website, click here to find out more.

  • 2.1.1 temporary illness or accident/injury at the time of the assessment.
  • 2.1.2 bereavement at the time of the assessment (where whole groups are affected, normally only those most closely involved will be eligible).
  • 2.1.3 domestic crisis arising at the time of the assessment.
  • 2.1.4 serious disturbance during an examination, particularly where recorded material is being used.
  • 2.1.5 accidental events at the time of the assessment such as being given the wrong examination paper, being given a defective examination paper or CD, failure of practical equipment, failure of materials to arrive on time.
  • 2.1.6 participation in sporting events, training camps or other events at an international level at the time of the assessment, e.g., representing their country at an international level in chess or football.
  • 2.1.7 failure by the centre to implement previously

What happens if the reason you missed a GCSE exam is not on the JCQ list?

If your reason was not on the list, then it is highly unlikely you will be eligible for special consideration. However, I would recommend speaking to the exams officer of your centre or getting in touch with JCQ. The JCQ has also made a list of reasons that would make candidates not eligible for special consideration, this list can be found here.

In the case of not qualifying for special consideration you will fail the exam you missed.

Now as you can see, while missing a GCSE exam certainly isn’t recommended, it isn’t the end of the world. You will always have the option to retake your GCSEs. 

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