Summer exams were cancelled. Did external candidates get their grades?

Almost all SWSS students either chose to defer their exam to a later sitting or had predicted grades submitted and accepted. 


However, many external candidates worldwide have been negatively affected and did not receive their grades or have a choice in deferring. The Q&A below aim to provide guidance for those hoping to pass their IGCSEs in the future. It is subject to change as Ofqual, Edexcel and / or the Department of Education release new information.

Will autumn, January and Summer 2021 exams be cancelled?

The government and Edexcel are aiming not to cancel. However, it is possible that one or more may be. This will be determined by the pandemic’s progress at the time. Factors that could influence this include the ability to arrange socially distanced exams and whether we are experiencing a further wave of cases. Prepare as if you are taking the exams, but make sure you store evidence of your work in case cancellations occur.

Are all subjects available to take in the autumn and January sittings?

Students sitting UK exams can take Edexcel IGCSE exams in all subjects in autumn (dates not yet confirmed). In January 2021 only IGCSE biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics A and mathematics B will be available.


This does not necessarily apply in countries outside the UK.


Full list of subjects and sittings available here.

Can I take exams in autumn, even if I have not deferred?

Yes. This is up to an exam centre accepting you. Contact them directly.

If exams are cancelled will SWSS provide a predicted grade? 

Yes. 97% of our students had predicted grades accepted by an exam centre, chose willingly to defer or had predicted grades sent to their college this Summer.  We will continue to predict grades for our students if necessary (and permitted) in the future.


This success rate was down to students (and guardians) working incredibly hard and following advice through unprecedented stress. Select exam centres going above and beyond to help our students and to highly qualified SWSS staff being professionals in their field. We are committed to providing our skills, years of experience, connections and qualifications to students at an affordable rate that makes education accessible to all. The price of the course does not include predicted grades as a contractual right.  


Predicting grades this Summer was extremely time consuming and stressful for all involved. We will be making changes to how we predict grades in future. This will protect the mental and physical health of us, our students and their guardians whilst providing the best chance of those grades being accepted. Be ready for exam centres and/or Edexcel to make changes to what constitutes acceptable evidence. SWSS will aim to work alongside exam centres to meet any new requirements. 

We provide enrolled students with an instruction sheet we advise following to secure the best chance of having your grade accepted by Edexcel. Please follow this for detailed guidelines specific to us. It may have to be altered if new measures are put in place outside our control.

Can SWSS provide a predicted grade to my college in the event exams are cancelled?

What are the three most important things to consider when aiming for a predicted grade? 

  1. No provider, tutor or parent controls whether your predicted grade will be accepted and sent to Edexcel. Only your exam centre controls that.


Choose your exam centre carefully.


Ensure you know (in writing) what will happen if exams are cancelled. In particular confirm:

  • You will be allowed to submit evidence for a predicted grade.

  • What evidence they will accept (every centre is different).

  • What happens if they do not accept a prediction? Will they defer you to the next sitting, give you a full / partial refund or neither?



  2. No provider, tutor or parent has the final say on your grade. Your exam centre or Edexcel may change it.


Having a predicted grade is step one. This must be accepted by your exam centre. They will assess whether the evidence submitted is enough to warrant the grade. Your grade will then be ranked by your centre. This means you will be placed in a list from the highest attaining student to the lowest. This will be sent to Edexcel who will also rank you amongst all the students taking that exam in the UK. This means that if everyone in the UK is predicted a level 9 they won’t all get one. The same number (roughly) of students will have 9s, 8s, 7s etc as in previous years.



  3. You will need substantial evidence for your exam centre to accept your grade.


On average, the minimum amount of SWSS evidence that was accepted by an exam centre was:

  • Three pieces of teacher marked work (submitted over a significant period of time)

  • An attendance report to show the course was completed in full 

  • A large selection of computer marked online assignments

  • Full mock exam marked by a teacher


Most exam centres have clearly stated this will not be enough for future sittings. Although we would love you to get a predicted grade based on online multiple choice quizzes or a letter of recommendation the chance of this being accepted by your exam centre and Edexcel are almost zero. Be ready for exam centres and/or Edexcel to make changes to what constitutes evidence. SWSS will aim to work alongside exam centres to meet any new requirements.

Yes. If you are refused an exam or a predicted grade by your exam centre follow the usual instructions to have a grade predicted and we will send this to your college.

I don't have a provider or tutor. What can I do?

  • Ensure your exam centre will accept predicted grades based on evidence you can provide. Ring around and consider switching centres if one can accommodate you better.

  • Plan ahead. Find out exactly what evidence they will accept in writing and start making sure you have this.

  • Don’t pay tutors, providers or services for evidence until you know it will be accepted by your centre.

  • Be ready to hear that they want you to complete teacher marked work (at additional expense). This may be arranged by the exam centre and involve something like an exam invigilated by zoom.




We hope you’re keeping well in these uncertain times. We understand it has and continues to be incredibly stressful. Please do be kind to your exam centres, tutors and / or providers when they try to help. It's been incredibly tough on them as well. We're here for you!


© 2016 by Southwest Science School.