If you are aware of GCSE exams, you will probably know that they’re typically taken at the end of Year 11. However, when it comes to specifics, such as when exactly these exams start or when they end, it can be a lot harder to draw this information to mind. Don’t worry, as all of your questions about when GCSE exams start and when they end will be answered in this article.
In short, GCSE exams will generally take place in May and June. However, there are also November exams that students can take to re-sit their GCSE English Language or GCSE Maths exams. For 2023, the summer GCSE exam series is between 15th May and 27th June. For the November 2023 resit exams, the first exam is 7th November and the last one is on 13th November.
Continue reading to learn more about when the GCSE exam season is. This article will explain when GCSE exams are normally held as well as go into depth about when GCSE exams are for 2023 as well as for 2024.
Table of Contents
When do GCSES start in 2023?
For the main exam season, GCSEs will normally start in May for written exams, or more specifically the 2nd or 3rd week of May. To learn more about this, check out this article from The Education Hub by the government.
For 2023, GCSE written exams started on 15th May. To learn more about when GCSEs started for 2023, check out this article from The Education Hub.
This was fairly similar to previous years, look at the following table to see when GCSEs started between 2019 and 2023.
GCSE resit exams also take place in November for students who are over the age of 16 and wish to retake their GCSE English Language or GCSE Maths exams. For this exam series, GCSEs will generally start in the 1st week of November, which may also include the end of October. For more information about this, check out this governmental guide.
For 2023, the November GCSEs start on 6th November. To learn more about this, check out this guide by AQA. Once again, this is quite similar to previous years, look at the following table to see how this compares.
For more information about when the November GCSEs started for 2019 and 2022, please refer to these guides by Pearson Edexcel and AQA by clicking here and here respectively. Please note that these dates for the November GCSE exams are only applicable to the English exam boards as both WJEC and CCEA have slightly different periods.
When do GCSES finish in 2023?
For the summer exam season, GCSEs will normally finish in June for written exams, or more specifically the 3rd or 4th week of June. To learn more about this, check out this article from The Education Hub.
For the 2023 GCSE written exams, the final exam date is on 27th June. To learn more about when GCSEs end for 2023, check out this article from The Education Hub.
This was very similar to 2022, but was slightly different from the pre-pandemic exams. Look at the following table to see when GCSEs in the summer exam season ended between 2019 and 2023.
As mentioned above, GCSE resit exams also take place in November for GCSE English Language or GCSE Maths exams. For the November exams, GCSEs will generally end a few weeks later, still in November.
The end date for these November exams for 2023 is 13th November. To learn more about this, check out this guide by AQA.
Look at the following table to see how this compares to other years from 2019 to 2023.
For more information about when the November GCSEs started for 2019 and 2022, please refer to these guides by Pearson Edexcel and AQA by clicking here and here respectively. Once again, please note that these dates for the November GCSE exams are only applicable to the English exam boards as both WJEC and CCEA have slightly different dates.
What are the GCSE exam dates for 2023?
The key exam dates that apply to the vast majority of GCSE students are for the compulsory GCSE subjects. These are GCSE English Language, GCSE Maths and GCSE Combined Science with GCSE English Literature often being made compulsory by secondary schools themselves. To learn more about these compulsory GCSE subjects, check out this Think Student article.
The key dates for these exams change every year and will vary based on the exam board and the exact paper. However, particularly for compulsory exams such as these, the different exam boards may choose to put their exams on the same day.
To learn more about when each of these summer 2023 GCSE exams take place, please refer to the respective link to its exam board’s exam timetable in the following: AQA, Pearson Edexcel, OCR, WJEC and CCEA.
What are the GCSE exam dates for GCSE English for 2023?
For 2023, most of the exam boards have the same exam date for GCSE English Language, however, the CCEA exam board does have a different exam date for these exams. For GCSE English Language paper 1, AQA, Pearson Edexcel, OCR and WJEC have all set the exam to be on 5th June. For CCEA, the first written GCSE English Language paper is instead on 12th May.
For GCSE English Language paper 2, most of the exam boards have set their exam date for 12th June. Whereas for CCEA, the second paper is on 31st May.
For 2023, all of the GCSE exam boards, including CCEA this time, have set the same GCSE English Literature exam dates. For GCSE English Literature paper 1, this exam date is 17th May. For the second paper, all GCSE exam boards have set the date as 24th May.
What are the GCSE exam dates for GCSE Maths for 2023?
For 2023, the English exam boards (AQA, Pearson Edexcel and OCR) have the same exam dates for GCSE Maths but both WJEC and CCEA slightly vary. For the English exam boards, the 1st GCSE Maths paper is 19th May, the 2nd is 7th June and the 3rd and final one is 14th May.
However, for both WJEC and CCEA, the GCSE Maths qualification only has 2 papers and their dates don’t entirely line up with the other 3 exam boards’ dates. Also, WJEC has two varieties of maths GCSE with GCSE Mathematics and GCSE Mathematics- Numeracy.
For CCEA, GCSE Maths paper 1’s exam date is 19th May, and its 2nd paper’s exam date is 7th June, just like the English exam boards. However, there is no paper 3 and so the dates aren’t the exact same.
For WJEC, the 1st paper for GCSE Maths- Numeracy is once again on 19th May and its 2nd is on 7th June, just like CCEA and the English exam boards. However, for the regular GCSE Maths qualification, the 1st exam is on 23rd May, which is a completely different date, but the 2nd is on the 14th May, like the 3rd exam for the English exam boards.
What are the GCSE exam dates for GCSE Combined Science for 2023?
For 2023, the GCSE exam board set the same dates for their main GCSE Combined Science or GCSE Science (Double Award) exams. This is with the exception of WJEC, which has a different date for one exam.
For the 6 papers of GCSE Combined Science, AQA, Pearson Edexcel, OCR and CCEA, have set the exams for the 16th May, 22nd May, 25th May, 9th June, 13th June and 16th June. This is very similar for WJEC, with the exception of there being no GCSE Combined Science exam on 9th June and instead one on 19th June and the rest being on the same dates.
How long is the GCSE exam period?
As mentioned above, the GCSE exam period will typically take place between May and June for the main exam series. However, GCSE exams don’t normally take place throughout the whole of these 2 months due to the exams starting later in May as well as the week off students have for half term at the end of May.
All in all, the GCSE exam period is actually about 4 weeks long rather than the whole 8 weeks of these 2 months. However, this may vary slightly depending on the year. To learn more about this, check out this Think Student article.
For example, for 2023, the summer exam series for GCSEs lasts 5 weeks rather than the typical 4. To learn more about this, look at the exam timetable from Pearson Edexcel here.
Also, for 2022, the GCSE summer exam series lasted 6 weeks. For more information on this, please refer to this guide by Pearson Edexcel.
When do GCSEs start in 2024?
Once again, the 2024 GCSE exams are set to take place between May and June, as normal. As of time of writing (June 2023) the exam dates and exam period are not yet set with exam boards having published ‘provisional’ exam timetables.
For 2024, the GCSE summer exam period is set to start earlier than normal in the week beginning the 6th May, a week earlier than usual. This exam series is set to end on 21st June, which is also slightly earlier than the post-pandemic end dates.
When do students start learning GCSE content in secondary school?
GCSE students will typically take their exams at the end of Year 11 and will finish their learning a few months or sometimes just a few weeks before this. However, when they start learning the content may depend more on the school itself.
Government guidelines say that GCSEs are to taken by students who are 14- 16 years old. In school years, this translates to Year 10 and Year 11 or Year 11 and Year 12 in Northern Ireland. To learn more about this, check out this governmental guide.
However, some schools may start teaching the GCSE content or at least parts of it from Year 9 or Year 10 in Northern Ireland. Some secondary schools, including the one I went to, have chosen to do this due to the amount of content in GCSE courses and the struggle as a result of this to finish the course in time for exams. To learn more about this, check out this Think Student article.