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Exams and Assessments

Exams and assessments are a key part of many courses, from GCSE exams to Hairdressing End Point Assessments. They could determine your final grade, assess your progress or complete a part of your course. Our teams of exam staff, tutors and learning support officers are here to support you through all stages of your exams and assessments.

Your exams

If you have exams as part of your course, you will be told about them well in advance by your tutor. They will tell you when it is, what you need to bring and also support you in preparation for the exam.

GCSE dates 2023


DayDateStart timeEnd timeExam
Tuesday16/05/202309:3011:15AQA GCSE Biology – Paper 1
Friday19/05/202313:0014:45AQA Psychology- paper 1
Friday19/05/202309:3011:00AQA GCSE Maths – Paper 1


 13:0014:45AQA Psychology- paper 2


09:3011:15AQA GCSE English – Paper 1
Wednesday07/06/202309:3011:00AQA GCSE Maths – Paper 2
Friday09/06/202313:0014:45AQA GCSE Biology – Paper 2
Monday12/06/202309:3011:15AQA GCSE English – Paper 2
Wednesday 14/06/202309:3011:15AQA GCSE Maths – Paper 3


GCSE results day: Thursday 24th August 2023

Functional Skills: Results are usually available within 4-6 weeks of your exam date.


Your exam certificate will normally be posted to you, with the exception of GCSE certificates, which must be collected from Poole Adult Learning Centre.

If your address changes during your course, please advise our customer service team by emailing

Functional Skills certificates:

  • Functional Skills Maths certificates are awarded upon completion of the exam.
  • Functional Skills English certificates will be awarded when you have successfully completed your reading, writing and speaking & Listening exams.

For some courses, certificates are not awarded until we have had a Quality Assurance visit from the awarding body. The visits only happen at certain periods throughout the year, so there may be a delay in receiving your certificate depending on when you finish your course.

Please note, certificates come from the exam boards themselves, and not us (Skills and Learning). Unfortunately, due to Covid-19, many exam boards are experiencing delays. We will keep you updated and informed if you are impacted by this.

Collecting my portfolio

Once the Quality Assurance process has taken place. You will be notified, by email, where you can collect your portfolio from. All learners with portfolio assessment work must collect their portfolio within one year of the course ending or it will be destroyed.

Extra Support

 If you have previously had extra support in exams such as extra time or a reader, please advise your tutor. If you have not had this before, but feel as though you need it, please speak with your tutor for advice.

All access arrangements must be approved by the awarding body before they can be granted in your exams. To avoid any delays in this process please ensure you discuss your needs with your tutor as soon as possible, to allow us enough time for us to gather the necessary evidence for your application.

Please be advised that regulations have changed for this year, if you have previously had an assessment of your needs with us, then you may need to be reassessed to determine whether you are still entitled to additional support during your exam.

If you’re worried about your wellbeing during exam season, please speak with your tutor or explore our support here.

JCQ guidance

Information to candidates:

Please read their information to candidates prior to your exam by clicking here.

Using a calculator:

If your exam requires a calculator, please read this extract from the JCQ guidance:

Extract from Joint council for Qualifications’ Instructions for conducting examinations 1 September 2022 to 31st August 2023.

Using calculators

Candidates may use a calculator in an examination unless this is prohibited by the awarding body’s specification. The instructions on the question paper will say whether calculators are allowed or not. If the instructions do not include such a statement, calculators should be treated as standard equipment and may be used by candidates. Where the use of a calculator is allowed, candidates are responsible for making sure that their calculators meet the awarding bodies’ regulations.

Calculators must be:

  • of a size suitable for use on the desk;
  • either battery or solar powered;
  • free of lids, cases and covers which have printed instructions or formulae

Calculators must not:

be designed or adapted to offer any of these facilities:

  • language translators;
  • symbolic algebra manipulation;
  • symbolic differentiation or integration;
  • communication with other machines or the internet;
  • be borrowed from another candidate during an examination for any reason;
  • have retrievable information stored in them.

This includes:

  • databanks;
  • dictionaries;
  • mathematical formulae;
  • text.

The candidate is responsible for the following:

  • the calculator’s power supply;
  • the calculator’s working condition;
  • clearing anything stored in the calculator.