Your child and their exams

What your child needs to know for their exam days and how you can help.


Schools provide students with exam timetables listing their exams and the exam board they are taking them with. Knowing which exam board your child has for each exam will help with finding the right revision materials. Read about timetables and key dates on our student support page.

Travel arrangements

Most exams are scheduled to start and finish within regular school hours. Some afternoon exams may continue past the end of the usual school day. Check with the school/college if your child needs to make alternative travel arrangements, eg if they normally catch a scheduled school bus.

Severe weather could also affect exam timing, but generally exams are still expected to take place. Read more about severe weather arrangements on our So it's exam day page.

Exam room etiquette

Please read our So it's exam day page to see what your child needs to know about their exam days.

Teachers will let students know what they can and can't bring into the exam room. It is really important that your child does not take their mobile phone into the exam room, or leave it on nearby, as this could be considered cheating or disruptive.

Please read JCQ's Instructions for candidates to find out more about what is allowed in the exam room.


Penalties can be applied if a mobile phone rings or makes alert noises during an exam. So, it is possible that you could accidentally cause your child to be penalised simply by sending them a 'good luck' text during their exam.

Penalties include:

  • complete loss of marks
  • failing an entire subject.

Read Malpractice in social media and exams for more information on what is considered malpractice and what penalties can be applied.

Running late or being sick

If you are aware of a special circumstance that will cause your child to be late or miss an exam (ie a family funeral or emergency), speak to the school/college ahead of time so that arrangements can be made to support your child.

Depending on how late a student is, they may or may not be allowed to sit the exam. If it looks as though your child is going to be late, contact their school/college as soon as possible.

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. They will advise you of their options and make arrangements with us – you don't need to contact us. Your child will most likely need a medical certificate.

If your child misses their exam completely due to being late or ill, they need to discuss their options with their exams officer and teachers.

Leaving early

Students are not allowed to leave the exam room in the first hour. In the case of a serious family emergency, call the school/college if you need to reach your child. Students can't take their phones into the exam room.

Special support

If your child has special requirements for them to sit their exams, we can work with their school/college. This service supports special needs, hospital stays and temporary injuries or disadvantages. Please read our special consideration and access arrangements for further details.