GCSE exams 2019: When do they start and finish?

young female student holding books leaning against wall
by Hayley Pearce | 10 May 2019

When do GCSEs start and finish?

GCSEs are coming soon for students across the UK, taking place between May and June.

For the three main exam boards (AQA, Pearson Edexcel and OCR) GCSE exams start on Monday, 13 May. WJEC exams start on this date as well, while CCEA exams started on Wednesday, 8 May.

All GCSE exams will be finished by Friday, 21 June. The last AQA and Pearson Edexcel exams are on Wednesday, 19 June. OCR and WJEC exams finish up on Thursday, 20 June. The final CCEA exam is on Friday, 21 June.

For full GCSE exam timetables, follow the links below:

Pearson Edexcel

All of TSR’s threads about specific GCSE exams for 2019 are listed here.

There will be a GCSE and A-level contingency day on Wednesday, 26 June, which will be used if a significant, unexpected event arises nationally or locally during the exam period such that no students (or only a small number of them) are able to take an exam when planned.

Here are the GCSE Maths and English exam dates for 2019:

GCSE Maths and English exam dates 2019

General tips for students taking GCSEs

  • Morning exams usually start at 9am, while afternoon exams usually start at 1.30pm. Check with your school or college in advance as centres can start exams by up to 30 minutes earlier or later than the official start time.
  • Arrive at least 10 minutes before the exam starts.
  • Make sure you always know the structure of the paper you are sitting.
  • Read the instructions on the paper thoroughly before you start.
  • You should use black ink or black ball-point pen.
  • The marks for each question will be shown in brackets, and give an indication of how long you should spend on each question.
  • Some exam papers, such as AQA GCSE Chemistry Paper 1, require you to answer all questions; in others, such as AQA GCSE English Literature Paper 1, there is a choice of questions to answer.
  • Remember to write clearly and use good English, even if it’s not an English exam, as the examiners need to be able to understand what you’ve put.
  • Leave time for checking your answers at the end.

AQA has provided TSR with lots of useful exam advice for a range of GCSE subjects.

We’ve written about how to revise like a legend and get 9s in your GCSEs, and there's plenty more GCSE study help and advice here.

About the new 9-1 GCSEs

In the last few years, the old A* to G grades for GCSEs have been replaced by a 9-1 grading system, where 9 is the highest and equivalent to what used to be A* and 1 is equivalent to what used to be a U.

The Government’s choice to change the grading system was in order to “better differentiate between the highest performing students and distinguish clearly between the old and new qualifications."

The Department for Education defines 4 and over as the standard ‘pass’ grade, which is similar to the old C grade.

Students have to do at least two science GCSEs; some take separate sciences (triple award) and others take combined sciences (double award; trilogy or synergy).

Coursework and controlled assessments are no longer part of the assessment for most subjects, except practical ones like art, dance and drama.

Here is our full guide to the new 9-1 GCSE grades.

GCSE results day 2019

If you’re taking GCSE exams this year, results day for you will be Thursday, 22 August.

Most schools and exam centres will be open for students to collect their results from 10am.

Go to our exam results homepage for more info.

Ask questions and see what people are talking about in TSR’s GCSEs forum.

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