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How to Take Exams as a Home-Educated Pupil

If you are home-educated in the UK or overseas, you may be wondering if and how you can take exams. The good news is, you can, and it’s not that difficult either! If you have been studying the English National Curriculum and want to take either your iGCSE or A-Level exams, you need to register as a private candidate at your nearest exam centre.

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. Whether you live in the UK or are an expat living abroad, they have exam centres in over 100 different countries, where you can enrol as a private candidate and sit your exams.

To help clarify things for you, we spoke to the British Council in Australia for a detailed breakdown of the process. We discuss everything from how to register and exam fees, to applying for special circumstances and re-sits. Read our Q&A below!

Which qualifications and subjects do you offer exams for?

We can host almost all of the qualifications and subjects that are offered by the board for the session, including British school qualifications such as International GCSEs, AS Levels and A-Levels. Some subjects that require a practical or coursework component are challenging because we do not have certain resources and/or facilities. 

Why choose iGCSEs/ A-Levels?

International GCSEs and A-Levels are internationally accredited qualifications. Having these UK school qualifications will stand you in good stead for the future and open new doors if you wish to study in the UK or in an international school or university programme.

Where are your exam centres located?

We offer exams on behalf of international awarding organisations, professional bodies and universities in over 100 countries across the globe. Our Australia exam centre is currently in Edgecliff, Sydney with plans to extend this reach in the near future.

What is the process for registering a pupil for their exams?

Candidates are only required to complete the registration form on your country’s British Council webpage, which is available about 4 months before the exam session. After payment for the exams has been confirmed, we will then do all of the work with the exam board so all you need to do is prepare. We will send you reminders of your exams and dates prior and then set you up later for result collection.

How far in advance do they need to register?

Generally about 2-3 months before the exam session, but for accurate, specific dates, please see your country’s British Council website.

What are the fees?

This totally depends on the qualification and the subjects and also if payment is made before the first deadline given by the exam board. If you fail to register and pay by the given deadline, fees can increase dramatically. Therefore, we recommend that you organise this in plenty of time.

Talk us through what exam day looks like at one of your centres.

Candidates are given a time when exams commence and they must arrive 30 minutes prior for ID verification and to get seated. For candidates under 18 it is a requirement for parents to sign that they approve for their children to arrive and leave unaccompanied if parents cannot come also.

Can pupils apply for special circumstances, for example, if they have Special Educational Needs or certain mental health conditions?

You can apply for special circumstances through the British Council and then the exam board will have to approve this. If you need special arrangements during your examinations, we will need a recent medical report along with your application form. The medical report will have to specify what arrangements you will need for your examinations and must be submitted at least two months before the start of the examination session.

Can pupils take re-sits at one of your centres if they need to?

Yes. You just need to state your unique candidate identifier. 

If you’d like to know more about sitting exams in Australia, contact the British Council Australia today at exam@britishcouncil.org.au or +61 2 9362 6722.

Or, if you live somewhere else, you can find information on the specific British Council homepage for your country.

My Online Schooling is an online learning platform that offers a flexible full-time English Curriculum-led education to children all over the world. We support home-educated pupils by providing live online lessons following a set syllabus, offering them the opportunity to receive iGCSE and A-Level qualifications that open doors to higher education. You can find out more about how we can support your expat child with their learning here.

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