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We know that, due to the Covid-19 outbreak, you may have questions about running exams in the March 2021 exam series. To support you, and help answer your questions, these pages include guidance on components to help support teachers and students, and also some frequently asked questions. We will regularly update these pages with any new advice and resources.
We know that our centres are facing different challenges in managing teaching, learning and assessment for our exams in 2021. Our priority is delivering exams safely and fairly, allowing learners to progress.
We have developed a package of measures to support schools as they prepare for exams in 2021. We gave an overview of these measures on 10 December 2020, see below for our full update. The diagram below shows the options available to you and your candidates.
Routes to grades in the March 2021 exam series (PDF, 92KB)
In summary, we are offering a range of exemptions which mean candidates do not take a particular component. There is more information about exemptions and the use of special consideration in this area of our website.
Our guide below, for exams officers and Heads of Centre, will help you run March 2021 exams safely and securely. Use the guide, as well as the guidance in our current Cambridge Handbook, when planning the exam series in your centre. To make it easier to use and understand, we have structured the guide around the phases of the Cambridge Exams Cycle.
Guidance on running exams in the March 2021 series (PDF, 208KB)
Our guide said that ‘We are looking urgently at what more support we can give centres that have lost valuable teaching time as a result of the pandemic, and we will give you more information in early December.’
To give you more flexible options, and more certainty about what will be allowed, we are introducing a Covid-19 exemption for certain components being sat in March 2021. You can still use the guidance to help you prepare for and manage these components. And wherever possible, candidates should complete all components according to the requirements set out in the syllabus. This will give them the best chance to show what they know and can do.
But we appreciate that this may not be enough for some schools – the Covid-19 exemption gives you a flexible option for components where the teaching and/or assessment requires working with others, or access to certain facilities or equipment. If your candidates will be unable to complete a component that meets these criteria you will be able to apply, before the series, for your school’s candidates to be exempt from the component. If the application is accepted and your candidates complete all the other components in the syllabus option, we will calculate an assessed mark for the exempted component and issue a syllabus grade.
Please see the factsheet for an explanation of the Covid-19 exemptions (PDF, 112KB). Information for each syllabus is available on the Guidance for components in March 2021 page.