Dear Parents / School Leaders,
We hope this email finds you well. As you are aware, cancelling the Cambridge exams on 10, 11 and 12 May was a difficult decision. We write to update you on Cambridge and British Council plans to support candidates affected by these cancellations.
It is extremely important to us that students can move on with their education. In nearly all cases, students who experienced exam cancellations on 10-12 May will receive ‘assessed marks’. Assessed marks are marks we calculate for a missing paper, based on the student’s marks for the papers they did sit. This means students who sat for exams in Cambridge O Level, IGCSE and Cambridge AS & A Level in June 2023 exams series will receive a grade and be able to continue their education journey.
The only exception is the students who had registered for Cambridge International A Level Mathematics and A Level History ‘A2’ exams in June 2023 series, but cannot receive assessed marks due to the cancellation of all of the A2 exams. We will hold replacement exams in these two syllabuses for A2 candidates where all the exams they were due to sit for their syllabus were cancelled, so that students in this situation can get a result in August.
We will hold one additional A2 exam in A Level Mathematics and one additional A2 exam in A Level History. Both will take place on Wednesday 21 June – with Mathematics in the morning and History in the afternoon. This is after the main exam series has ended.
The British Council will share venue letters for these replacement exams with schools and private candidates latest by Wednesday 7 June. To ensure that they can deliver results on time, Cambridge can only offer the additional examination to students who have missed both A2 components due to the cancellation of exams – this is all candidates for A Level History in Pakistan, and all candidates for A Level Mathematics who are entered under option code DY or HY.
Running additional exams outside Cambridge’s normal exam series has an impact on when they can deliver results. Cambridge expects to issue the vast majority of results for these two replacement exams by 18 August, as close as possible to the main result date of 10 August, in time for admission to universities in Pakistan, the UK and many other higher education destinations. Cambridge will promptly release any results that become available between 10 and 18 August.
As Cambridge continues with the marking and grading process of the two replacement examinations, they will provide an update on the results timetable in due course. Cambridge will explain the situation to universities in Pakistan. After our international results release on 10 August, we will update schools in Pakistan further on how we can support any individual students applying to university whose results are delayed.
Cambridge is not able to offer additional examinations in any other syllabuses affected by the three days of cancelled examinations as, in every other subject, students had at least one component available for them to take in order to get a grade.
Candidates can withdraw their entry from the June 2023 exam series by 12 June and will receive a refund if they do so. The British Council has shared the complete withdrawal policy with all Cambridge schools on 16 March.
Please be aware that candidates who choose to withdraw their entries rather than receive an assessed grade will be subject to the 13-month carry forward rule, meaning that they may have to re-take their AS Level components in that syllabus. Please refer to the supporting FAQs and guidance below for queries related to this.
Thank you for the feedback and questions that you have been sending to Cambridge and to the British Council. We hope that this communication addresses many of these. We will continue to support you and your students, and keep you updated through this challenging situation. Thank you for your patience and ongoing support.
Supporting FAQs and guidance
Can students who have taken one A2 exam component sit these replacement exams?
Unfortunately, they will not be able to sit for these replacement exams.
There may be students who would prefer to sit an additional component rather than receiving an assessed mark. Unfortunately, these candidates will not be eligible to take the replacement papers. We offer reassurance that assessed marks are a well-established and reliable process to ensure students can receive an appropriate grade where components have been missed.
There may be students who feel they have not performed well on an exam they were able to take and want to take an additional exam to demonstrate their capabilities better. Cambridge has observed over the years that often students have performed better than they imagined – students often assume they have performed poorly on a more difficult paper that all students found challenging.
What is the advice for students who have missed one A2 exam component due to cancellation and who were absent with good reason from the other? Can they sit these replacement exams?
Unfortunately, Cambridge will not be able to offer the additional examination to any students who have missed other exam components that were not cancelled. Adding more students to the replacement exams would put at risk the release of exam results in time for other candidates. Cambridge is only able to issue results by 18 August with this known volume of candidates.
Where a student has missed all A2 exams due to reasons beyond their control, they can contact the British Council about their carry forward. Cambridge will then assess their eligibility for an extension to the 13-month carry-forward limit.
Can candidates withdraw their entries and take exams in a later exam series?
Yes. If a candidate withdraws from the exam series, the exam fee will be refunded. This includes all candidates who sat for any qualification including Cambridge O Level, IGCSE and Cambridge International AS & A Level. The refund to candidates who submitted entries through schools will be refunded to schools, and individual withdrawal will be refunded directly to private candidates. Please note that the last date to apply for a withdrawal to British Council is 12 June 2023.
Can A2 students who withdraw their entries and decide to sit in a later exam series get an exception to the 13-month carry forward rules?
Candidates who withdraw because they have missed all their exam components for good reason may request an extension to the 13-month limit on the carry forward of their AS Level components. Cambridge will view such requests sympathetically.
Candidates who withdraw but could have been awarded a result through assessed marks will not be eligible for an exception to 13-month rule and may have to take their AS Level components again.
Where students were absent from exams due to the exams’ cancellation on 10, 11 and 12 May, does the school need to apply for special consideration / absent with an acceptable reason on behalf of each candidate?
No, the schools do not need to apply for special consideration / absent with an acceptable reason where the exams were cancelled. The British Council will apply for absent with good reason for all candidates absent from examinations due to the cancelled exams. This includes private candidates.
Where candidates withdraw their entry with a view to sitting their examinations in a future series, how will the refund be issued?
The refund will be processed through the standard refund process, which is through bank transfer by the British Council.