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Home educating can be a minefield at the best of times, but when it comes to exams, this opens a whole new can of worms.
Many exam centres open their bookings for summer exams as early as September of the same academic year, and these places can fill up fast.
LearnOnline recommend giving yourself plenty of time to find a centre.
When speaking to exam centres you will be referred to as a Private Candidate, this is simply a term used for someone who enters their exams through a centre, but is not enrolled there as a student.
There are exam centres all over the UK, we suggest contacting your local schools, sixth form colleges and private schools and ask if they accept private candidates for exams. If no luck with those, a simple internet search of “exam centres near (your location)” will bring up options, depending on your location you may get lots of options, other areas of the UK you will have limited options. Lastly, you can try the awarding body websites, looking at their private candidate pages.
If you are unable to find a centre near you, try looking for somewhere that is near friends or family, remembering exams can be held over a series of weeks so be prepared to travel or stay in the area for a period of time. To get an idea of when the exams will be, visit the awarding body websites and search for ‘Exam Timetables’, the 2023 Summer Series have now been published.
It is important to be aware that taking exams as a Private Candidate can be costly, 1 subject can cost you anywhere between £180 and £300!!!
- Visit the centre: when you have found a centre, try to plan a visit. If it is at an established educating centre, such as a school, it is likely to be well set up for exams. Private exam centres can vary in type of location and some may not be suitable for your child.
- Access arrangements: if your child has special educational needs or physical disabilities, they may require what are called Exam Access Arrangements (EAA). If these are your first set of exams, the centre will need to carry out an assessment so that they can formally apply for the EAA. You will need to provide any corresponding evidence to help support this assessment. We strongly recommend booking exams as soon as possible to ensure your child’s needs are met.
- Non-exam assessments: If the exam you are applying for is compiled of purely written examinations, it is likely that most exams centres (space dependant) will be able to host you. Subjects that contain non-exam assessments (NEAs), such as oral assessment, coursework, practicals or listening assessments, finding a supporting exam centre can be trickier. Read the course specification that your child is following to check what the assessments include. If you are studying with an online provider, they should be able to advise how to manage the NEAs. If independently studying, be prepared to travel to a private candidate exam specialist who can support NEAs.
If you’d like any further information about exams, feel free to contact one of our team, we are happy to help.