19 Feb 2021
Our update today confirms that for a very small number of countries and regions within countries where directives from national and local authorities mean exams cannot go ahead, we will switch from exams to a teacher assessment approach using student work. We have informed schools in those countries separately today.
In all other countries, which represent around 90% of student entries, we are planning for exams to go ahead, and we have created extensive extra measures to support schools with this.
As always, we are very grateful for the questions and suggestions you have been sharing with us. We encourage you to continue to contact us wherever you have questions.
Our approach for the June 2021 exam series
- We continue to plan for exams to go ahead in June 2021 where it is permitted and safe. We know exams are the fairest and most accurate way of assessing students’ performance.
- We are helping schools manage the impact of the pandemic on teaching and learning by offering:
- adjustments to aspects of assessments
- exemptions from components the pandemic makes harder to run
- a change to special considerations, so students who for good reason miss some components they were entered for can still receive a grade
- For the small number of countries and regions within countries where directives from national or local authorities make it impossible for exams go ahead, today we can confirm that we will switch from exams to a teacher assessment approach using student work. We will share an outline of our approach with schools and information about next steps next week.
In other countries, we will update schools immediately if it becomes clear that exams cannot go ahead in their country or region and we need to switch to an approach based on teacher assessment in their country or region. We are working with our regional teams worldwide to monitor the situation in countries where we work.
We continue to work with universities, so they understand our approach for 2021 and can make informed admission and credit decisions. Universities will evaluate applications fairly from all students whether their work is assessed by exams or by teacher assessment. Universities are aware that they need to provide students with reassurance about this.
As we receive information from universities, we will post it on our recognition webpage.
Entries and withdrawals for June 2021
Entry deadline for June 2021 exams – 7 March
As we said last week, we have extended the June 2021 first-time entry deadline from 21 February to 7 March 2021 (23:59 GMT)* to give schools more time to work out what is right for their situation.
We strongly encourage you to make entries as early as possible, ideally before the deadline, even if you are uncertain of the situation in your country or region, so that we can make sure we get your questions papers to you on time.
If your circumstances change and you need to withdraw your entries because of Covid-19, you will receive a full credit. This applies even up to seven days after the final exam of the syllabus affected.
* This does not apply to Cambridge Checkpoint - the deadline for entries is still 21 February, because Checkpoint tests start much earlier (on 5 April) and we need the time to despatch question papers.
After 7 March, you can make late entries and amendments until 17 April, although you will be charged a late fee under our usual rules.
Frequently asked questions
Will grades awarded to students using an exemption from a component hold equal value compared to those of students who take every component?
Yes, absolutely. We have used our assessed grade method to award grades where a student misses a component for an acceptable reason for many years. The method is a tried and tested alternative which we believe to be fair.
It uses data from students' performance all over the world to accurately predict the likely outcome of the missed paper, based on the student’s performance in other papers in the same syllabus, and we are confident that it provides a credible and valid grade. This allows them to go on to the next stage of their education seamlessly.
The process is also one understood by colleges and universities and they award places based on assessed grades, considering them equal to equivalent grades where every exam was taken.
Will students using exemptions be able to get the highest grades?
Yes. Our exemptions calculation process uses data from students' performance all over the world to accurately predict the likely outcome of the missed paper, based on the student’s performance in other papers in the same syllabus. We are confident that it provides a credible and valid grade. We have used the process for many years where students miss an exam for a good reason, and all grades are available for students whose result is calculated by this process.
Staying in touch
You can find all 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 website.
We wish everyone in the Cambridge International community well at this time.