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Exams update

September 2013 - Issue 34

In this issue we've included essential information and key documents you need, and updates on new developments and current activities for the start of the new academic year.

Hot topics

Hot topics

Retaining coursework/controlled assessment for summer 2013

A reminder that Ofqual requires samples of students' coursework and controlled assessment from each summer exam series.

The requirements for 2013 are listed on these notices for A-level and GCSE which can be shared with colleagues in your school/college.

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Entry requirements 2013-2014

November BG13 exam series

You can start entering students for November 2013 exams from Wednesday 18 September. The entry closing deadline is Friday 4 October 2013.

Final re-sits - January 2014 exam series

This is the final re-sit opportunity for some Applied A-levels. Final re-sits are also available for written Principal Learning units but only for students who have previously sat these units.

If you intend to enter students for any externally assessed units, please complete the initial entry form and return it to us by 15 September 2013.

Reminder - Intention to enter academic year 2013/2014

If you have not already done so, please submit your Intention to enter information via e-AQA or by using the forms on our early entry information page.

Reminder - estimated entries November 2013 and January 2014 exam series

You can still submit your estimated entries even though the deadline has passed. Check the status of the series on e-AQA as you might have 'saved' your estimates but not submitted them. If the status reads 'in-progress', you need to press 'submit'.

Estimated entries March-June 2014 exam series

You can also submit your estimated entries for March-June. This will help us ensure we have the right support in place for you. Please submit this information by 10 October 2013, via e-AQA or by sending completed early entry forms which are available on our early entry information page.

All entry submissions via e-AQA

From November 2013 series onwards, we will only be able to accept entries through A2C (EDI) or our secure website e-AQA. We can no longer accept paper entries.

For further support and information

You can register for e-AQA using the secure sites link on our homepage or call 0844 209 6614 for further assistance.

For help on Entries, please see our website or call 0161 455 5482.

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Have you got ULNs for your students?

From January 2014, all students entered for an exam at a state-funded school/college within the UK will be required to have a ULN (unique learner number).

If you are submitting entries for exams in 2014 onwards, you will need to obtain ULNs for your students from the Learning Records Service (LRS).

For more information and further guidance on how we use ULNs, please visit our about ULNs page.

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Final awarding of AQA Diplomas

If you have Diploma students, you need to act quickly before it closes.

Key dates:

  • 15 September 2013 - AQA initial entry closes for final re-sit opportunity (January 2014) for Principal Learning units. This is the last re-sit opportunity and only for students who have previously sat these units
  • 30 September 2013 - Diploma aggregation service (DAS) closes permanently. Please ensure you have followed the closure checklist
  • 21 October 2013 - final entry date for January 2014 exam series.

All Diploma components (principal learning, functional skills, projects, work experience) must be completed and claimed by summer 2014.

For more information and our direct contact details, please visit our Diploma pages


Ofqual response to consultation on Speaking and Listening 

Ofqual has confirmed that from summer 2014 the Speaking and Listening unit of GCSE English and English Language will no longer count towards final grades.

The change will mean that written exams will now count for 60% of marks and reading and controlled assessment will count for 40%. The unit result will still be reported on students' certificates, alongside their GCSE grade.

We are currently working with Ofqual about this change and how Speaking and Listening will be graded in the future. As soon as we have more information, we'll let you know.


New online system for collecting coursework/controlled assessment marks

We’re working on a new online system to improve how we collect coursework/controlled assessment marks. The new system will be available via e-AQA and will: 

  • replace mark forms so you can submit marks inputted by teachers, directly to the moderator and us through e-AQA
  • select the sample you need to send to the moderator within the normal submission deadline.

We are planning for the system to be available in late March 2014 for the June exam series. In the coming months, we’ll provide user guides and training clips to show you how to use the system and provide more information, so you know what to expect.

You will also need to make sure that teachers are registered for e-AQA.

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Can you be a host centre for A-level languages speaking tests in French, German and Spanish?

Host centres are for schools/colleges in your area that do not have enough students for a visiting examiner. You can be a host for any or all of these subjects. 

We record a list of host centres in the host centres for languages speaking tests booklet which is published online on our A-level French, German and Spanish teaching and learning resources pages. You can find key information about hosting on page 1.

If you are willing to become a host centre or for further details, please email your centre name and full contact details to and the languages involved.

MFL books

Subject update

Mandarin Chinese - read about our Mandarin Chinese qualifications

GCSE French (4655), German (4665), Spanish (4695)
on-screen tests (FR2FS, FR2HS, GM2FS, GM2HS, SP2FS and SP2HS)

From the June 2014 exam series and onwards, all GCSE Reading tests in French, German and Spanish will be paper-based.  On-screen tests (OSTs) are no longer available for these units. Online progress tests aren't affected. 

GCSE History A (9140) and History B (9145)
 - The specifications for first teaching September 2013 have revised content. The changes and the accredited specifications are available on our GCSE History A and GCSE History B pages.

A-level Critical Thinking (2771) - We are withdrawing our A2 Critical Thinking (2771) qualification after the June 2014 exam series. June 2014 will be the last time students can sit the Unit 3 and Unit 4 exams and certificate for A2 Critical Thinking. We will continue to offer AS Critical Thinking (1771) Unit 1 and Unit 2.

Project Qualifications - our Level 1 (Foundation), 2 (Higher) and 3 (Extended Project) Qualifications have new specification and QAN codes to be used from the November 2013 series onwards, as shown on our pages. The specifications have been re-accredited but remain the same.

Engineering Diploma Principal Learning Levels 1 and 2 - Preliminary material for the January 2014 ENG1U1 and ENG2U1 final re-sit exams is now available by request. Please see our Diploma administration pages for details.

Accrediting achievement of individual units through the Unit Award Scheme (UAS)
Did you know that the UAS can be used with most of our unit-based Entry Level Certificates and with our QCF Qualifications in Personal and Social Education (PSE)?

UAS can be used to formally recognise the achievement of individual units, which can motivate students to complete even more, and means that if a full qualification isn't achieved, there is still a recognition for what has been completed.  See our about UAS page for how UAS links with other qualifications.

For more information and our contact details for training, costs or to check if you are already registered, please visit our Unit Award Scheme pages.

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