What Happens If You Miss An Exam: GCSE And A-Level - Freshered
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What Happens If You Miss An Exam: GCSE And A-Level

Jasmyne Jeffery May 22, 2023

Many students are in the middle of taking their exams at the moment. However, for one reason or another, you may accidentally not make it to one. Here’s what happens if you miss an A Level or GCSE exam, including whether you can retake it.

Most don’t plan on missing any of their exams, but some things are unpredictable and you may end up missing one accidentally. This could be because of illness, a family emergency or something else.

Whatever the case, it’s good to know what might happen just in case, especially concerning retakes.

What Happens If You Miss A GCSE Or A-Level Exam

To help ease any worries, we tell you what will happen.

  • GCSE

What happens if you miss an exam entirely depends on the circumstances. If it is unprecedented, as an illness or a family emergency, then measures are in place to give you a grade. Depending on the GCSE exam board, your mock grade, performance on other papers and the national average are usually taken into consideration.

However, if you accidentally miss your exam because you slept in or get your exam dates wrong (e.g. something within your control) then you will automatically fail the exam.

Forth both situations, the first thing you should do is notify your school that you won’t be in attendance.

You can apply for special consideration if you believe your performance was affected by extenuating circumstances, including missing the exam.

A middle school girl sitting in hallway of school looks upset while looking at her classwork.
  • A Level

It’s a very similar situation for missing your A-Level exams to GCSE.

If you are not able to or don’t want to resit your exam, then you should apply for special consideration here. This will give you an estimated grade, based on the following factors:

  • Mock grades
  • Test scores throughout the year
  • Moderated coursework grade
  • The national average for that specific paper.

Bear in mind that although sickness is a consideration for both missed GCSEs and A-Levels, it has to be enough to severely affect your ability to take the exam. Small ailments such as a cold would not count.

Again, missing an exam in Year 13 because of something in your control would result in a fail.

Can You Retake An Exam?

If you have missed an exam, then you will have the option to retake for both GCSE and A Level.

For GCSE Maths and English then you will not have to pay and you can retake in the next exam season, which is usually October and November.

For other subjects, you typically have to wait until the next set of Year 11s set their exam, but this should still be free up until you’re 19.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for A-Levels. If you want to resist, then you must take all the exam papers on your course, even if you only missed one. This is because most A-Levels have become linear instead of modular.

If you decide to just resit the exam then you need to do the whole course again and sit the exams with all other students in the next academic year. This can cost thousands of pounds, so you need to think long and hard about if it’s what you want. However, you are able to carry forward any coursework marks instead of re-doing that too.

What’s important to take from this is to try your hardest not to accidentally miss a GCSE or A-Level exam. Of course, it could be out of your control, so ensure you apply for special consideration and inform your school.

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Jasmyne Jeffery is a full-time Entertainment and News Writer on university-themed website Freshered and HITC, and joined the company having previously worked in a freelance role. She attended the University of South Wales where she was also a student blogger and graduated in 2022 with a first-class honours degree in English and Creative Writing. Now, she puts her creativity to use reviewing university bars, Love Island episodes and the latest apps any 18-25-year-old is using.