Supporting your child
How does exam day work? Will your child need special assistance? What happens if they fall ill on exam day or there is an emergency? Understanding what happens on exam day can help you support your child as they sit their exams.
If you can't see the answer to your specific question, please contact your child's exam officer as they will be able to answer any queries you have.
Looking for information about your child's results?
We understand the pressure of results day and know you want to do the best to help your child, so here is some useful information with links to other relevant information on our site.
- Contact the school/college first. Teachers and exams officers know your child and are best placed to answer your specific questions.
- We are unable to give you results over the phone or by email, nor provide any information specific about students.
- Students receive their results from all exam boards on the same day. See when results are released.
- Please check with schools/colleges for their results day arrangements. Results are given out by each school/college, at times set by them.
- If your child is unable to collect their results on results day, please make alternative arrangements with the school/college as soon as possible.
- Encourage your child to keep their results slips and certificates safe. These are important documents for future employment and further education applications.
- Your child may have sat exams with different exam boards, so the results can be given on one provisional results slip, or come as a set of slips from each exam board. See on results day for more information.
- If you would like the paper re-marked or checked, the school/colleges needs to request this service for your child. Find out what post-results services are available.
- University related questions need to go to UCAS as they administer and manage university applications in the UK.
- If there are any issues affecting a number of students, we contact each school/college as soon as possible with what they need to do and know. We also release information on our website and via our Twitter account.
- Schools/colleges can only keep results and certificates for a limited time, and after a certain date they have to be destroyed. We can't send results directly to you, and if the results have been destroyed, there are fees and processes for replacements.
- Our video explains how grades are determined, which is known as the 'awarding' process.
Results that are given out on results day are provisional only to allow for time to resolve any issues such as:
- any changes that might come from the post results services processes
- pending results (shown as Q) or late award claims.
Some students won't receive the results they were hoping for and may need support dealing with their disappointment.
Teachers and exams officers can provide helpful advice, support and additional information about future possibilities, including re-sits, changing subjects or qualifications and other programmes or opportunities. The Government's national careers service may also be of value.
For independent advice on the full range of post-exam options, you can call the Exam Results Helpline on 0808 100 8000. Lines are open from 08:00 - 20:00 on results day.
A-levels and university places
We recognise the pressure that A-level students and their parents are under on summer results day, especially those who have applied to university.
What we do to help
- We send all students' A-level results directly to UCAS as they manage university admissions.
- We have priority post-results services available for students who believe their provisional results will impact on their university offers. Your child's school/college will assess any of your concerns and request our services on their behalf.
- We will share any important notices and updates on our website and our @aqa Twitter.
- Some universities might hold conditional offers in place until they have the outcome of the post-results service. Call UCAS for more information.
- UCAS has specific results day information including advice about offers and clearing. Check the UCAS website and their social media pages for the latest information ahead of, and on, results day and watch for their key dates.
- You can also call UCAS on their dedicated helpline: 0871 468 0 468. Lines are open from 07:00 - 19:00 from results day.
The exams officer and the teachers at the school/college are there to help you.
Information about changes to GCSE and A-levels
Your child and their exams
Your child and their exams
Find information here about how your child's exams will work, including what they can have in the exam room and what to do if they are sick on an exam day.
Exams and mock exams
Schools/colleges are responsible for 'entering' students for the right level of exam in their subjects and they can give you advice about options.
Your child may be assessed through exams, coursework or controlled assessment. Each subject specification (what used to be called the syllabus) outlines how the subject will be taught and assessed and what your child can expect to learn.
Exams officers have responsibility for coordinating exam room conditions and students. The exam officer and any supporting staff have to follow the exact instructions and rules of the Joint Council of Qualifications (JCQ).
Before exam day, most schools/colleges have students take 'mock' exams, which allow students to become familiar with real exam conditions. It can also be used as a practice run for the type of questions students can expect in their real exam to help them prepare their revision and study. Schools may also use these results.
Schedules and finding timetables
With most exams now being taken in summer, this is a very busy time for your child. Schools provide students with exam timetables that list all their exams and which exam board they are taken with. Knowing which exam board your child has for each exam will help with finding the right revision materials.
The Department of Education website has an exam timetable finder that can be used to check exam schedules online. To use this finder, you will need to know which subjects are being sat with which exam board. Generally though, it is best to contact the school/college to get the exam dates.
Length and alternative travel arrangements
Most exams are scheduled to start and finish within regular school hours. Some scheduled for the afternoon may continue past the end of the usual school day. Check with the school/college about arrangements and times, especially if your child needs to make alternative travel arrangements, eg if they normally catch a school bus.
Release of results
You can review our exam timetables and key dates, which includes results day dates. Most schools/colleges will advise how/when results can be collected. We cannot give out results over the phone or discuss your child's marks with you.
Exam materials and allowable items
Students will be told what they can and can't bring into the exam room by their teachers ahead of exam day.
Each exam may have different requirements, but generally they will need:
- a black pen, including a spare
- a pencil
- an eraser
- bottled water (check with your child's school/college).
Some exams may allow other materials, such novels or calculators, but the school/college will let students know.
Laptops may only be used under special circumstances and are pre-authorised by schools/colleges.
Items not allowed in the exam room
Mobile phones and other devices, (including iPods, smart watches) are not allowed in exams.
You can read more about these rules on JCQ's website.
Leaving the exam early
Students are not allowed to leave exams early.
- Encourage your child to use all the allocated time on their exam, even if it is re-reading and checking their spelling and answers.
- If you have a genuine requirement for your child to leave their exam early, please speak with their school/college to see if they will allow it; this may involve placing them nearer the exit or being supervised seperately.
Contacting your child on exam days and penalties for mobile phones
In the case of a serious family emergency, ring the school/college directly to be able contact your child. The school/college will manage the process of getting in touch with your child as well as letting us know if they are removed from their exam.
- It is really important that your child does not take their mobile phone into the exam room or leave it on nearby. No student is allowed to have their phone in the exam room because of the potential for cheating, or disruption to the exam environment.
The use of mobile phones during exams can lead to several penalties, including:
- complete loss of marks
- failing an entire subject.
Penalties can be applied if a mobile phone rings or makes alert noises during an exam. So, it is possible that you may accidentally cause your child to be penalised, simply for sending them a 'good luck' text during their exam, if they forget to switch it off.
If you know you might have to get in touch with your child during their exams and are concerned that they won't have their phone on them, please speak to their school ahead of exams for guidance.
Special needs support for exams
Through our Access arrangements you can ensure that your child will have the support they need to sit their exam. Special materials can be arranged to help your child, such as:
- braille, coloured pages or large print exam papers
- readers or scribes
Special materials can take time to prepare and post, so please speak with your child's school as soon as possible ahead of the scheduled exam days to allow plenty of time for this coordination.
We also offer modified past papers so your child can use revision materials as well.
Emotional support for your child
Most students naturally feel stressed or anxious about their exams so any support and extra care from families and friends can help.
Exams and results are an emotional time for parents too. Watch this heart-warming video of a proud parent.
Schools will provide advice on managing revision and exams, but guidance on our student pages and other resources on the web can also help to reduce stress and worry. You know your child best, so work with them to be as prepared as possible, and let them know that everyone copes in their own way. Mostly, your child will need your reassurance, encouragement and empathy.
Sick or missing an exam
Sick or missing an exam
Being late for an exam or missing an exam
Students who miss exams completely will have to discuss their options with their exams officer and teachers.
Depending on how late a student is, they may or may not be allowed to sit the exam. If it looks like your child is going to be late, or you know they will have to arrive late, speak with the school/college as soon as possible. If you are aware of a genuine instance that your child will have to be late or miss their exam (ie a family funeral or emergency), try and organise this with the school ahead of time so that arrangements can be made to support your child.
Being sick on exams day
Contact the school/college as soon as possible to let them know if your child is too sick to attend, or to let them know that he/she intends to sit the exam, but is feeling unwell. Once the school/college is aware, the exam officer will be able to support your child and make any arrangements with us regarding that exam.
Your child will most likely need a medical certificate. There is no need to contact us as well, as we will work directly with the exam officer of your child's school if there are grounds for special consideration.