Don't get stressed about booking your GCSE and IGCSE exams! Our guide will answer your questions and help you get organised.
If you’re studying a GCSE or IGCSE course online, you’ll still need to sit your exam in person and it’s not just a case of turning up to sit the exam on the day.
All exams must be booked in advance and it’s your responsibility to organise this for yourself. Save yourself some stress by getting up to speed on all you need to know about booking your GCSE and IGCSE exams.
When are my GCSE and IGCSE exams?
GCSE and IGCSE exam dates are nationally set, so when you book as a private candidate, you’ll still sit your exam at the same time as all other students in the UK.
Your exam dates will depend on the subjects you’re studying and the awarding body that your qualification is supported by. GCSEs can only be sat in May/June, with the exception of English and Maths which can be resat in November. IGCSEs can be sat in January and May/June.
You can find exam timetables for each awarding body and exam diet here:
When should I book my exams?
You should aim to book your exam about 6 months before your chosen exam date as this will give you the best chance of getting a place at your preferred centre.
Although you can book your exam closer to the exam date, we really wouldn’t recommend that you do this as you may not be able to secure a place and will have to pay ‘late fees’ if you do.
Summer exams usually have a booking deadline of January or February and Winter exams usually have a booking deadline of September or October, after which you will be charged extra if you manage to get a place.
Where can I sit my exams?
You can usually sit your GCSE and IGCSE exams at your local exam centre which will most likely be schools or colleges that are already presenting their own students for the exam.
You can find your local exam centres using these search tools:
These tools won’t cover every centre, so we recommend getting in touch with local schools and colleges to check if they accept private candidates.
Not every centre will accept private candidates, however, if you have a special relationship with a school, such as it being your old school or your child’s school, they might accept you even if their policy is against private candidates.
You should be aware that most centres will charge an admin fee when you book the exam to cover their additional costs.
You’ll pay directly to the exam centre and the exact cost of this will vary depending on which centre you chose. These costs can vary drastically between centres and could be anywhere from £15 to £150 per subject so it might be worth your while comparing a few in your local area.
How much will it cost to sit my exams?
Your exam fees are also an additional cost that’s paid directly to the exam centre.
The exact cost of the exam is set by the exam centres themselves, so this can vary a lot in price, but you can expect to pay upwards of £100 per exam for GCSEs and IGCSEs.
We’d highly recommend that you contact multiple exam centres in your area about their pricing, so you can get the best deal.
What will I need to book my place?
It’s important that you have all the right information to hand to make sure you can get your exam place booked smoothly.
You’ll need to have the right exam code for the papers you want to sit; it may be referred to as a syllabus, specification, entry or course code. You should contact your course provider if you can’t find this or are confused about which code you need.
The exams officer at the centre will also need:
- Your full name and date of birth (these will need to be verified with ID)
- Your address and contact details
- Your Unique Candidate Identifier (UCI)
Your UCI can be found on your previous qualifications if you’ve sat UK exams before but don’t worry if you haven’t, you’ll be allocated one by the exam board.
You should always ask in advance what proof of ID will be accepted so you can make sure you’ll be able to provide it. Exam centres usually ask for a current passport but if you don’t have one you may be able to use another photo ID such as a valid driver’s license.
You’ll usually be required to make your payment when you book your place. You should be aware that as the exam centre will have incurred costs to enter you into the exam, you may not receive a full refund should you decide to withdraw at a later date.
What will I need to take with me to the exam?
The exams officer should give you details of where to go on the day of the exam, but we’d suggest you arrive about half an hour early just in case you run into any problems locating the room.
There are restrictions on what you can and can’t take into the exam room, so here’s a refresher if it’s been a while since you last studied.
- Your photo ID
- Your Statement of Entry (this is not essential but might be helpful)
- A clear pencil case or bag
- Black pens
- A bottle of water
- A calculator unless the exam paper specifies otherwise
- Maths equipment such as a compass, protractor etc if required
- Your mobile phone
- A smartwatch
- A Wi-Fi enabled calculator
- Any pieces of paper even if they are blank
If a mobile phone is found on you during an exam, even if turned off, then you are likely to be disqualified from that exam. The exam centre has no say on this as it’s a Joint Council for Qualifications rule.
If possible leave your phone at home or leave it for safekeeping with the invigilator.
When will I get my results?
GCSE and IGCSE results are usually released on the fourth Thursday in August each year.
Your results will usually be sent to your exam centre for you to collect in person, but you should check with the exams officer what the exact procedure is for your centre.
Interested in studying GCSEs online? Find out more about our online GCSE and IGCSE courses.