Information for Private Candidates sitting GCSE, IGCSE and A Level exams

Are you looking to study GCSE, IGCSE or A Level by Distance Learning? To do this you would be classified as a "Private Candidate". This means you will study using appropriate course materials for the exact awarding body specification and then arrange your own exams at a registered exam centre.

The courses we offer are either AQA or Edexcel specifications, and are designed to cover the full syllabus. Alongside tutor support, you will have all of the required information and appropriate help and guidance to complete your studies, although the booking of exams will be entirely your responsibility.

Finding Exam Centres

As a registered student you will be able to speak to an exams officer who can point you in the right direction for finding suitable exam centres. We can guarantee that you will be able to sit exams at about 30 centres around the UK, although the awarding bodies also have a list of centres who may be able to help you. In total, there are approximately 500-600 centres registered with the awarding bodies where students may be able to arrange exams.

You can also try contacting your old school or local schools in your area, or maybe you have a child attending a school where you can enquire about sitting exams. You should be able to speak to an exams officer to find out if they are registered with the awarding body and if they allow private candidates.

Private tutorial colleges are often the most flexible exam centres. They will usually take students for most exams, but they can also be expensive. Independent schools, private schools, academies and faith schools are often more helpful than overstretched state-maintained schools and are more likely to welcome Private Candidates as a means of contributing towards their budget. They are also more likely to be familiar with IGCSE exams.

Acceptance at exam centres is solely at their own discretion so make sure you are polite when calling and have as much information about the specification and the relevant codes and exam dates. The exam entry specification codes are contained within the introduction to each course. You may be lucky and find a centre very close to where you live, but you should be prepared to call and shop around as prices and availability can vary quite a bit.

You can find a list of centres from the Awarding Body websites:

AQA: http://www.aqa.org.uk/student-support/private-candidates/finding-a-school-or-college

Edexcel: http://qualifications.pearson.com/en/support/support-topics/understanding-our-qualifications/where-can-i-take-edexcel-exams.html/student

Once you have found a school/college to take you for exams, you need to register with them, which will most likely mean you attending in person.

As a general rule, students sitting exams in May/June should have booked their exams by the end of January. Final deadlines are published on the awarding body's website, although exam centres prefer to be contacted much earlier than these final dates. If you have any special requirements then we advise contacting exam centres much earlier. You must tell your exam centre before they make a booking for you and whether they can facilitate your request will be dependent on the exam centre and their own policies alongside that of the awarding body.

Please Note: If you are unable to sit your exam, it may be possible to gain a full or partial refund of the exam fees, although this will be dependent on when you tell them. If you decide not to sit your exam at the last minute then a refund wouldn't be possible, but it is still required that you inform them of non-attendance so you don't delay the exam for other students.

Please refer to the awarding body guidelines for full information on the booking of exams.

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