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The information on this page is for centres and approved Cambridge exam providers who are considering accepting private candidates.
Private candidates come from a variety of backgrounds. They may be home-schooled or studying independently. A private candidate is someone who does not attend your centre, but who asks to enter one or more Cambridge exams via your centre.
An increasing number of private candidates already attend an approved and fully registered Cambridge International online school. Candidates from around the world study at our Cambridge International online schools for several reasons – many cannot physically attend a centre because their family travels frequently, or for medical or social reasons. Most of our registered online centres do not have exam venues (a premises or building where candidates can sit their exams) so candidates wishing to sit exams apply to a ‘physical’ centre to enter exams as a private candidate.
For more information about private candidates, see section 2 of the Cambridge Handbook.
We encourage centres to take private candidates to support the wider community of Cambridge schools and increase access to higher education for all Cambridge learners. The additional income you generate from accepting private candidates contributes to your annual fee waiver.
Private candidates make their own arrangements with your centre and liaise directly with you, not with us , for all exam-related administration and queries. You are responsible for making the correct entries for the candidate and for completing all other relevant exam administration throughout the Cambridge exams cycle.
Private candidates must be able to meet the full requirements of any assessment for which they are entered. They cannot enter for any syllabuses that include the submission of coursework.
If your centre chooses to accept private candidates, you must make sure your private candidate policy (including your centre’s acceptance criteria and fees) is clearly described and accessible e.g. available on your public website. You must share your policy and fees with all private candidates as soon as they register with your centre.
Yes, private candidates can register for our exams at your centre even if they don’t attend a Cambridge centre.
Some syllabuses or options, including those with coursework, are not available to private candidates. Find details of which syllabuses/options.
You must check syllabuses or the Cambridge Guide to Making Entries to make sure they are available for private candidates before you make any entries. The Cambridge Guide to Making Entries is in the ‘Support Materials’ section of Direct.
Please note that Cambridge Pre-U is being withdrawn and the last exams for most syllabuses* will be June 2023, with a resit available in June 2024. No teaching of a Cambridge Pre-U syllabus should have been started for new students in September 2022.
*There are four syllabuses being withdrawn a year earlier with last exams in June 2022 – Latin, Classical Greek, Russian and Italian. Only resit candidates can be entered to take the exams in June 2023 for these syllabuses; new candidates will not be eligible to enter.
No, you cannot enter private candidates for Cambridge Primary Checkpoint and Lower Secondary Checkpoint.
It is the responsibility of your centre to remit fees for any private candidates accepted by the centre. You can ask private candidates to reimburse the fee and to pay a further fee to cover the cost of supervision and administration.
Candidates studying at Cambridge International online schools must be entered as private candidates. This does not apply to registered online Cambridge International schools that are entering candidates through their own approved exam venues.
Students studying at centres that are also approved to offer Cambridge programmes online must be entered as centre candidates and not private candidates. This is because these students will be registered with your centre and will sit their exams at your centre's premises.
Cambridge International online schools cannot make entries unless they have an approved exam venue. You must make sure the necessary arrangements are in place for candidates to take exams as private candidates at an approved Cambridge venue.
Components with coursework options are not available to private candidates.
You must share statements of entry with private candidates so they can check their details are correct.
The Head of Centre must make sure exam invigilators check each candidate’s identity at every exam sitting. Private candidates must prove their identity, with a recognised document such as an ID photocard or passport. Each time they attend a session the invigilator must check that they are the same person who was entered for the exam. Identity checks must not disturb any candidates who are already taking their exam.
You are responsible for giving private candidates their statements of results as soon as they arrive. We do not show centre names on statements of results for private candidates.
Yes. Results for private candidates are not reported separately and are included with results for all other candidates at your centre.
You are responsible for giving private candidates their certificates as soon as you can. If you cannot give a certificate to a private candidate personally, ask them to let you know when they have received it.
No, the centre name does not appear on certificates issued to private candidates.
It is extremely helpful to know which centres accept private candidates so that we can update our website. Contact us by email. This must be from your head of centre or exams officer.