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Today’s update shares more information about our exam series in March, June and November 2021, including our timetable and our approach to supporting schools. The information here relates to Cambridge IGCSE, O Level and International AS & A Level. We will say more about Cambridge Pre-U as soon as possible.
In recent weeks, we’ve been engaging with schools worldwide to understand their wishes and requirements for exams in March, June and November 2021, what would work for them and how we can best support them.
A clear majority of schools told us they want Cambridge International to give students the opportunity to sit exams on the full syllabus if they can. They also want us to help them manage the impact of the pandemic in a way that is fair to everyone.
At the same time, schools told us they would like us to maintain robust qualifications and trust in the system, and to ensure universities recognise Cambridge qualifications.
Schools in different countries are in different situations. In some countries, schools have reopened and are now teaching full timetables. In other countries, schools are still facing disruption, and may have lost teaching and learning time. In others, schools have been closed and will remain closed for some time ahead. An optimum solution for one country can be unhelpful or unworkable for others.
Therefore, we are providing a package of options* that works for as many schools as possible, to keep people safe and help students progress by:
We will provide exams for your students, if your government says it’s safe for you to run them:
Exams remain the best way of assessing student achievement. We strongly encourage schools to enter students for all relevant components where they can.
We are making exams as fair as possible for students and helping schools manage the impact of the pandemic:
We recognise that our package of measures does not, and cannot, resolve every impact that Covid-19 could cause you and your students.
University recognition of our qualifications is a fundamental part of their value. Without university recognition, even the highest grades would fail to help students win places on degree courses.
Universities worldwide recognise Cambridge International qualifications because they are rigorous, reliable and prepare students well for university study. However, university systems in different countries work independently from each other and do not always have common criteria for recognising qualifications.
Our recognition team will be working with universities in all regions so that they understand our approach for 2021 to make informed admission and credit decisions.
Exams officers at Cambridge International Schools can join a free exams officer update webinar on 20 and 21 January 2021. We will focus on information about the June 2021 series, highlight our latest updates, and remind you about our deadlines. The webinars are your opportunity to ask us questions. We will send an email to all our exams officers on 10 December with registration links to the webinars. The capacity for each webinar is 500 attendees – please only register one exams officer from your school.
Many Cambridge International schools are interested in how exams for Cambridge International qualifications relate to exams for similar qualifications used by schools in the UK.
It’s essential that we meet the needs of different communities of schools across the world, but also align with the standards set in England.
The four nations of the UK (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales) are each handling 2021 exams differently. Cambridge International is most like England in that we are:
We vary from England in some areas in that we are:
We are fully committed to ensuring that Cambridge students compete on an equal basis with those holding similar qualifications from other boards.
You can find all of our advice on our Covid-19 information page.
If you have any questions, you can review our frequently asked questions, or contact us via our help channel.
We wish everyone in the Cambridge International community well at this time.