A Levels and GCSEs 2022: Sheffield students given advance information on what will be included in summer exams

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Students in Sheffield will be able to access some of the information for their summer A Level and GCSE exams early this year.

Exam boards will be giving students advance information about some of the content which will be appearing later this year in a bid to minimise the disruption to learning caused by the pandemic.

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Some of the content and topics which will feature on the upcoming tests will be made publicly available so pupils will know how to target their revision and some of the exam structures will change to give students more options.

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Students in Sheffield will be able to access advanced information ahead of this year's GCSE and A Level exams.Students in Sheffield will be able to access advanced information ahead of this year's GCSE and A Level exams.
Students in Sheffield will be able to access advanced information ahead of this year's GCSE and A Level exams.

Exam boards are also being urged to be more generous with grade boundaries this year.

But what information will be available, when, and what are the changes to GSCE and A Level exams in Sheffield? Here’s everything you need to know.

What subjects will have advance information for GSCE and A Level exams in Sheffield?

Although some information on the topics which could feature in the upcoming exams will be available in advance, exam boards in the UK have said it will not reduce the level of content that students are tested on.

In all subjects - with the exception of English literature, history, ancient history, geography and art and design - pupils will be given notice about the topics to be covered in this summer's exams.

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The information is designed to aid their preparation and help focus their revision.

Materials will not give so much detail about the likely questions that the answers can be pre-prepared or learned by rote, exam boards have advised.

For the subjects where no advance notice is given, pupils will either be given the option of choosing from more topics on the exam or having to study fewer options.

The advance information will not always list every topic covered because boards are concerned that could lead to excessive revision of one topic.

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However, boards have said that, in some subjects, all topics covered will be listed to help learners prepare.

For some text-based subjects, such as English language, the advance information may include the genre or period that unseen texts used during exams will be drawn from.

Subjects such as art and design, which are only assessed through coursework, will not feature any advance information.

When will the advance information for exams be released?

The information will be released in February to give pupils enough time to begin preparing for summer exams.

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What will the grade boundaries be like for this year’s GCSE and A Level exams?

Exam boards have said grade boundaries could be more generous in some cases this year, with a lower score across papers needed to secure a particular grade, but examiners' generosity could be more wide-ranging.

Exams regulator Ofqual had previously announced that grade boundaries would be set roughly between 2019 pre-pandemic levels and boundaries in 2021, when teacher assessment was used to set grades.

n January, Ofqual's chief regulator Jo Saxton said the changes to this year's exams would not advantage more able pupils, following concerns the lack of advance information for "lower-tariff" questions carrying fewer marks would advantage more able pupils.

Sarah Hannafin, senior policy advisor for school leaders' union NAHT, said the advance material "should now provide teachers and students some help on where to focus their teaching, revision and exam preparations".

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She added: "Advance information is not a simple list of what is assessed in the exam; the information is more complex, covers only high tariff questions and might relate to only a particular exam paper or section of it, with different approaches between specifications and subjects.

"We need to remember this is new to teachers so it will only be over the coming days that we learn whether they believe it will be sufficient to counter the levels of disruption which students have faced due to Covid.

"We would urge everyone to recognise that students have endured during one of the most pivotal period of their lives which can be pressurised even in 'normal' years.

"They simply want a fair shot at success in their exams this summer."