A-level Science Practical Endorsement Watch

GaiusBalthar
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I am a private candidate hoping to sit Physics, Chemistry and Biology A-levels at a test centre near me.

The problem I have is that I will not get the 'Practical Endorsement' aspect of this qualification as I will not be undertaking the practical experiments under the supervision of a staff member/assessor (or at all). I have spoken with the OCR exam board and they have advised that even without the 'Practical Endorsement' a person will still obtain an A-level grade from them. Furthermore, the 'Practical Endorsement' has no bearing on the grade you obtain for your A-level.

So, as a private candidate, you will get an A-level result but no 'Practical Endorsement'. The question then becomes will the university that you are applying to accept this. I have contacted the university I will be applying to and await their response.

In the meantime, I hope that somebody may have more information which would be useful to me. I have seen a number of companies and colleges offering to provide the 'Practical Endorsement' for £2000. For me (and I'm sure for many others) this is simply not possible.

Does anybody know if there is an A-level syllabus in the UK which one can sit without the need to undertake practical experiments?
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brainzistheword
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(Original post by GaiusBalthar)
I am a private candidate hoping to sit Physics, Chemistry and Biology A-levels at a test centre near me.

The problem I have is that I will not get the 'Practical Endorsement' aspect of this qualification as I will not be undertaking the practical experiments under the supervision of a staff member/assessor (or at all). I have spoken with the OCR exam board and they have advised that even without the 'Practical Endorsement' a person will still obtain an A-level grade from them. Furthermore, the 'Practical Endorsement' has no bearing on the grade you obtain for your A-level.

So, as a private candidate, you will get an A-level result but no 'Practical Endorsement'. The question then becomes will the university that you are applying to accept this. I have contacted the university I will be applying to and await their response.

In the meantime, I hope that somebody may have more information which would be useful to me. I have seen a number of companies and colleges offering to provide the 'Practical Endorsement' for £2000. For me (and I'm sure for many others) this is simply not possible.

Does anybody know if there is an A-level syllabus in the UK which one can sit without the need to undertake practical experiments?
As far as I am aware, there is no exam board that doesn't include a practical endorsement anymore, as it is something that unis prefer.

Have you asked if any local colleges could host you for the practicals?
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Fizzyx
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Hey I'm in the same position. External candidate edexcel Bio/Chem and wanted to know where I can do the practical endorsement. The uni's I want to apply to like Kings have said they need the practical endorsement at a pass. Any ideas anyone?
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CrazyFoxes
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(Original post by Fizzyx)
Hey I'm in the same position. External candidate edexcel Bio/Chem and wanted to know where I can do the practical endorsement. The uni's I want to apply to like Kings have said they need the practical endorsement at a pass. Any ideas anyone?
I am in the same position.Cant they just accept the old spec practicals??What is so big about this endorsement it's half ********.So all the people who have done old spec is basically worthless now since we have to do this endorsement.People arnt even taking private candidates on.If they do it's for 2k or maybe less but u must travel a long distance.Why not make all our life's easier.This is more of a money grab than anything.All the old Empa and Isa worthless?
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ascendedx
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In the same position atm. I was first considering registering with the NEC and doing all my A Levels with them, I've since decided to just study the sciences with them since I need the practical endorsement too and that's included but I can study the others alone. However it's very expensive so I've been looking at other options. There are several exam centres which host specific practical endorsement workshops but they are even more expensive than a whole A Level with NEC. Your options really are to contact a local college and ask if you can do it with them (unlikely) or contact the exam board to find an exam centre near you which also does practical examinations. They're hard to find though, the government and the exam boards really should make it easier for students to self-teach the sciences.
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lydiamc
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I am in the same kind of situation to you guys. Basically i have completed my first year at a sixth form college. I have done some of the practicals for biology and chemistry but i am intending to leave the sixth form and sit my exams privately with tutors etc.. so im not too sure what to with the practical work that i have already completed, any ideas?
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Pangol
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This ridiculous situation has arisen because of a dogma driven government decree that A levels should be totally examined by written tests, with no coursework component. But of course, practical work is very important to science courses, so the Practical Endoresement was tacked on to the qualification. It is, as many here have pointed out, unecessary for the award of the A level, and it is still possible to get the top grade without it.

I am not sure of the position with respect to university applications, but I would not expect it to be a problem. It is the A level grades that they will care about. Contacting universities to clarify this is a good idea, but in my experience, admissions tutors don't have a great grasp of the A level system in any case!

There is an important point to be aware of, in that there is part of the A level written exams which will be challenging for candidates who have not performed the required practicals. Candidates may be required to comment on them, or desribe and use skills which they have practiced while carrying out the practicals. It would be a good idea to look at the specimen papers to see what sort of thing is required. (In physics, for example, this is the only place in the course where you may have to calculate uncertanties, percentage uncertanties, etc.)
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2025
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(Original post by GaiusBalthar)
I am a private candidate hoping to sit Physics, Chemistry and Biology A-levels at a test centre near me.

The problem I have is that I will not get the 'Practical Endorsement' aspect of this qualification as I will not be undertaking the practical experiments under the supervision of a staff member/assessor (or at all). I have spoken with the OCR exam board and they have advised that even without the 'Practical Endorsement' a person will still obtain an A-level grade from them. Furthermore, the 'Practical Endorsement' has no bearing on the grade you obtain for your A-level.

So, as a private candidate, you will get an A-level result but no 'Practical Endorsement'. The question then becomes will the university that you are applying to accept this. I have contacted the university I will be applying to and await their response.

In the meantime, I hope that somebody may have more information which would be useful to me. I have seen a number of companies and colleges offering to provide the 'Practical Endorsement' for £2000. For me (and I'm sure for many others) this is simply not possible.

Does anybody know if there is an A-level syllabus in the UK which one can sit without the need to undertake practical experiments?
Do you know if people will still obtain the A-Level without a practical endorsement for all the other exam boards?
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andosrowsk
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Could anyone advise on the best centres to do these Practical endorsements? I'm based in Manchester and looking to do the same thing....
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Compost
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(Original post by Pangol)
I am not sure of the position with respect to university applications, but I would not expect it to be a problem. It is the A level grades that they will care about. Contacting universities to clarify this is a good idea, but in my experience, admissions tutors don't have a great grasp of the A level system in any case!
Many of our students' offers this year were dependent on certain grades and a pass in the practical endorsement.
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Compost
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(Original post by 2025)
Do you know if people will still obtain the A-Level without a practical endorsement for all the other exam boards?
For the English exam boards - AQA, Edexcel and OCR - you can get a grade having failed the endorsement but centres are not allowed to offer the A level without also also offering the practical endorsement.
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2025
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(Original post by Compost)
For the English exam boards - AQA, Edexcel and OCR - you can get a grade having failed the endorsement but centres are not allowed to offer the A level without also also offering the practical endorsement.
Thank you
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Pangol
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(Original post by Compost)
Many of our students' offers this year were dependent on certain grades and a pass in the practical endorsement.
That's really interesting. One to keep an eye on!
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KRSR
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I'm thinking of doing astrophysics and thus need to take the physics A level in my Gap year. However I cannot do the practicals which may be a problem. Do you think the universities will mind if i don't have it but have practiclas in bio and chem?
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KRSR
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(Original post by GaiusBalthar)
I would do as I did and query that with the universities you intend to apply for
Okay thank you Can I ask how it worked out for you? Did you end up taking the endorsement ? did your universities mind?
Thanks!
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Student1191
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(Original post by GaiusBalthar)
I am a private candidate hoping to sit Physics, Chemistry and Biology A-levels at a test centre near me.

The problem I have is that I will not get the 'Practical Endorsement' aspect of this qualification as I will not be undertaking the practical experiments under the supervision of a staff member/assessor (or at all). I have spoken with the OCR exam board and they have advised that even without the 'Practical Endorsement' a person will still obtain an A-level grade from them. Furthermore, the 'Practical Endorsement' has no bearing on the grade you obtain for your A-level.

So, as a private candidate, you will get an A-level result but no 'Practical Endorsement'. The question then becomes will the university that you are applying to accept this. I have contacted the university I will be applying to and await their response.

In the meantime, I hope that somebody may have more information which would be useful to me. I have seen a number of companies and colleges offering to provide the 'Practical Endorsement' for £2000. For me (and I'm sure for many others) this is simply not possible.

Does anybody know if there is an A-level syllabus in the UK which one can sit without the need to undertake practical experiments?
All science a levels now have a practical endorsement. From what I’ve seen pretty much all unis require a pass in these practical endorsements. You could still get a good grade but can’t do anything at a level apart from possibly foundation year
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Compost
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(Original post by GaiusBalthar)
I was advised by the exam boards directly that this is not the case. External candidates CAN sit exams without needing to fulfil the requirements of the practical endorsement. To insist otherwise would be direct discrimination against external candidates and would force significant costs to be incurred.

I may have been advised incorrectly, but I was very clear in my questioning.
Centres have to sign to say that.

For candidates entered for our Centre for A level Biology, Chemistry and/.or Physics, I confirm that:
  • all candidates have had the opportunity to carry out the required practical activities

I take that to mean that a centre can't offer the exams without also offering the practicals.
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161BMW
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Hi i just wanted to ask these practical endorsements are they the only practical exams in the A Level Physics exams ?
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Compost
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(Original post by 161BMW)
Hi i just wanted to ask these practical endorsements are they the only practical exams in the A Level Physics exams ?
(If you're in England) Yes. A level Physics is assessed by 3 written exams and the endorsement is judged on the 12 assessed practicals.

Not wholly sure what's happening in Wales, N Ireland and internationally.
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161BMW
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(Original post by Compost)
(If you're in England) Yes. A level Physics is assessed by 3 written exams and the endorsement is judged on the 12 assessed practicals.

Not wholly sure what's happening in Wales, N Ireland and internationally.
So to get A* grade is just 90% on the written exams and a pass in the practical ?
How did the old A Level system work was their just 1 practical at end of 2 years or 2 practicals one at end of :L6 and one at end of U6 ?
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