Welcome to Tutors & Exams, the leading independent exam centre for candidates outside of mainstream education.
We often receive enquiries from parents and Independent Learners who want to start their studies autonomously, but do not know where to start in choosing the right Syllabus and Subjects and then need guidance for the process of taking exams to ultimately achieve their desired qualifications.
Below is our guide on how to find a Tutor or Tuition company, or if you are self-studying how to identify the best subjects and qualifications for you.
We then explain the exams process and our exam centres will provide you, Private Candidates and Home Educators, with a safe and welcoming environment in order to complete your assessments with Centres located across the country.
What subjects are available to me as a Private Candidate or Home Educator?
You are in a unique position when collaborating with Tutors & Exams. The variety of subjects on offer is the widest available. The Team are industry experts and can offer you over 97% of all available subjects. So, if you are looking to sit Art & Design, there is a solution for you. Food & Nutrition, we have the appetite for that. Astronomy, shoot for the stars. In addition to these often thought of “impossible” qualifications, there is around twenty-five languages, ICT, Computer Science, A Level Science Practicals, A Level Geography and Environmental Science field trips, A Level Coursework marking and authentication and a whole lot more. There are one or two qualifications that are difficult to offer which we are unable to deliver yet. Design & Technology and PE are not yet available. Although, if you have a Tutor willing to collaborate with us then there is always a chance it can made available to you. More information can be found here.
What Exam Board or Awarding Organisation should I choose?
That is your choice entirely. We can offer all the exam boards for GCSE and A Level (Pearson, AQA, OCR and Eduqas) in England and Northern Ireland (CCEA via our Belfast centre). WJEC qualifications (WJEC is the Welsh Awarding Organisation that owns Eduqas, the Awarding Organisation that offers English Regulated Qualifications) are not available in any of our centres currently. The way in which you choose your entry will need you to do a bit of research. If you are studying with a Distance Learning Provider, Online School, Tuition Company, or a Tutor, they will be able to tell you what specification you are learning, and the entry codes you need. However, if you are not, then the choice is up to you.
The best place to start is with the Awarding Organisation’s websites and search for the qualification you wanting to achieve, such as GCSE English Language or History for example. Find the Specification (or Syllabus in CAIE terminology) and read it carefully. Then look up the other Awarding Organisation qualifications and compare the content. Whilst you are looking through the qualification pages, you will find a wealth of information. There are teaching resources, lists of publications, exemplar materials and past papers. Make sure you look at all this carefully, particularly the specification as this has all the information you need for teaching, how you will be assessed for the qualification, and what you will be assessed on. Do not just rely on an Awarding Organisations market share to determine what to enter for as this is quite mis-leading. You are an individual and just because one Awarding Organisation is more popular than another does not mean it is right for you. It is worth noting that schools tend to enter for a qualification that suites their needs or the needs of their learners.
It is also worth remembering that you can enter for International GCSEs and International A Levels with Tutors & Exams. These qualifications will have different contents and is broader but may suit you better. Most of the subjects have no practicals or coursework (practicals are still included in Languages and Computing qualifications). You can choose an “Alternative to Practical” Route. IGCSE English qualifications do not need to have a speaking test. Many of the International A Levels do not require coursework and often there are fewer papers too.
International GCSEs and International A Levels are recognised by UK Colleges and Universities and you must remember that whilst you are free to choose any subjects you like, you are not bound to follow any curriculum, you will almost always be required to have qualifications in English Language and Maths for progression. It is always worth checking with any destination venue (college, university, apprenticeship provider or workplace) what their requirements are. However, Nurses require English Language and Maths Level 2 qualifications (can include functional skills). However, midwives, teachers and other professionals will require GCSE Level 2 specifically (Grade 4 or 5 and above). Primary school teachers also need Level 2 Science GCSE or International GCSE.
In summary, the choice is yours. If you are unsure check the Awarding Organisations Websites or enrol on a course with a reputable Learning Provider or Tutor.
What are the deadlines for entering for exams?
Tutors & Exams entry deadlines are earlier than the Awarding Bodies. This enables us time to process entries in a timely manner and submit them to the Awarding Body on time. Our dates are clearly published on the website, there are several deadlines, the first is to avoid Late Fees and the second is to avoid High Late Fees and we have a cut off for Cambridge Assessment International Examinations. Booking early and directly with us means that you do not pay unnecessary fees. All our deadlines are clearly published with our fees on our website. This includes deadlines to apply for Access Arrangements.
The first step – Complete our online booking form to
The first step in the process is to complete the online Application Form. As well as your personal details, we will also need to know what qualification(s) you wish to take, the T&E exam centre you wish to sit your exam at, the Awarding Organisations (exam board), Subject and Specification Code (including tier/option where applicable). If you are working with one of our Learning Partners, be sure to get the booking code off them so you can benefit from a preferential Partner rate fee. If they are not a Learning Partner, then put them in touch with us, we will be more than happy to talk to them.
Then Exam Fee Invoicing
After we have checked and processed your application, an invoice will be raised and issued to you via the email address you supply on your application form. Please remember to include a contact telephone number that we can use to contact you in the event of a query. You can make payment via electronic banking or using a secure link provided on your invoice. Please note that we will not submit any entries to the Awarding Organisation until payment is settled in full.
What is does Non – Examined Assessment (NEA) mean?
Non-Examined Assessment (NEA) is what it ‘says on the tin.’ It is part of your qualification’s structure that does not require an end point examination. This could include Science Practicals, Geography Field Trips, Environmental Science Fieldwork, Historical Enquiries, an English or Foreign Language Speaking Test, English Coursework, Astronomy Observations and Art Practicals to list the most common examples.
Tutors & Exams cater for most NEA subjects and specialise in those detailed above. We are open to discussing additional options, not listed, with your tutors or teaching groups to help widen participation even further!
More information can be found here.
What does Access Arrangements mean?
Often, Access Arrangements is confused with being able to access the centre, wheelchair access for example. This is not the case. Access Arrangements is the term used by Awarding Organisations and Exam Centres for additional needs required throughout the candidate’s exams. Access Arrangements must be the candidate’s normal way of working. Using a laptop to conduct their learning is not “normal way of working” for exam papers. A specific need for processing will need to be evidenced.
What Access Arrangements are available?
There are a variety of Access Arrangements available. However, they must be the candidate’s normal way of working. Tutors & Exams Access Arrangements Team is a highly trained group that have been advising candidates for years. They have close connections with all the Awarding Bodies enabling flexibility and an understanding of providing “Evidence of Need” and “Normal Way of Working” for Private Candidates. Tutors & Exams and the Awarding Bodies work together to provide a unique solution for Private Candidates.
Our most common Access Arrangement is Additional, or Extra Time. This is for candidates with low processing speeds that require more time in their exams. A number of tests will have to be completed by you with our assessors to ascertain what your processing scores are. Mocks will also need to be conducted to determine your “normal way of working.”
After that, Supervised Rest Breaks (SRB) is close behind. SRB’s are for candidates that have temporary, or permanent, injuries or health issues that require breaks throughout the exams. The time for SRB’s will be added onto the end of the candidate’s exams. However, you cannot use this arrangement for thinking time and may be better for you than Extra Time.
Smaller rooms are the next highest requested Access Arrangement. To make it clear, we determine a “smaller room” to have candidates of one hundred or less and many of our rooms are smaller. Due to the number of requests for smaller rooms, we are unable to accommodate all requests and you will have to sit your exams in a room that you think is not a smaller room. If we were to have rooms for all candidates that wanted rooms smaller than those we provided, we would need thousands of rooms. As you will appreciate, this is just not practical, and you will need a full clinical diagnosis of a need that requires a smaller or own room for us to consider it. A GP’s letter is not sufficient evidence of need.
We highly recommend that you have a manageable plan in place for you to sit your exams and an especially useful tool is completing mocks in the exam environment under test conditions with other candidates. Also, visit the Centre that you are going to sit your exams at, the staff are very welcoming, and many candidates find it very beneficial to familiarise themselves with the environment where they will be sitting their exams. However, please note that our centres will not allocate rooms following centre visits.
There are more Access Arrangements that we can cater for, these are just the most common. However, as you will appreciate Tutors & Exams is independent and receives no money or funding from the Department for Education. Everything we do comes from the fees that we charge candidates. We have limited resources, and they are strictly on a case by case, first come first served basis. Our Access Arrangements team are the decision makers based on needs of the candidate.
What ‘Evidence’ will I need for Access Arrangements approvals?
The evidence required will depend on the Access Arrangement. If you have an Education, Health & Care Plan (EHCP), it must include a provision for exams and the specific Access Arrangement needed. If you do not have an EHCP, we will require you to have a portfolio of evidence which may include mock exams taken at one of our centres, statements from education providers, processing score testing (conducted by an assessor known to us). This list is not exhaustive, and we need to be able to satisfy the JCQ and Cambridge Assessment regulations and the Tutors & Exams Access Arrangements Team is on hand to guide you through. However, if you do not supply this evidence, or unable to collaborate with us, you will not receive approvals to use Access Arrangements during your exams. We have a strict deadline that you must adhere to and whilst the Awarding Bodies state that they have no deadline, it is Tutors & Exams that provide the resources and have thousands of applications that need to be processed prior to any exam season. We will not accept candidates based on a complaint to the Awarding Body.
Anxiety & Smaller Rooms
I have anxiety and require a “small room”?
If you, the candidate, suffers from anxiety, then there are lots of things we can do to support you in your assessment journey and we also expect you to support yourself too. Anxiety can be incredibly debilitating, and we appreciate that this can be the case for you. However, we do not accept anxiety as an access arrangement without a full diagnosis from a consultant. We will need your anxiety plan when you register with us, and we will collaborate with you to ensure everything works out on the day. We strongly recommend visiting your centre and sitting a at least one mock exam. However, if you have a diagnosis from a consultant, we will work within your plan to accommodate you where appropriate.
What is a “small room”?
We consider all the rooms we use in Tutors & Exams buildings to be “small.” Our rooms accommodate less than 50 candidates in one sitting except for a few larger rooms. School halls tend to accommodate 200+ on exam days. Our smallest rooms are used for candidates with specific needs and disabilities. We will not agree to accommodating candidates in our smallest rooms where there is no registered disability or specific need where we have formal documents from a relevant health professional.
You may have more questions about Access Arrangements and please see our website pages relating to Access Arrangements which also includes frequently asked questions.
What happens leading up to and on Exam Days?
Exams days are prepared months in advance and through your Tutors & Exams Candidate Hub (TECH) Portal, you will receive all the essential information you need to know about. This will include joining instructions which explain where to arrive, details of the location, links to car parks and hotels as well as all the instructions for candidates on behaviour and notices signposting to the JCQ and CAIE on malpractice and other candidate information.
On exam days, we request that candidates do not bring anything other the equipment they need for their exams, and we are not responsible for storing your personal belongings and you may have to leave them in unattended areas of the buildings. Mobile phones are prohibited in the exam room, and we recommend not bringing them into the building at all. Having any unauthorised material or items in your possession within an exam room malpractice and the Awarding Bodies will be notified, and it will be their decision if sanctions are imposed on you. Unauthorised material can be, but not limited to, mobile phones and other electronic communication devices, notes, calculators for non-calculator papers and food & drink that has not been authorised.
When you arrive at the centre, a member of staff will greet you around 45 minutes from the start time of your exam. You will have to produce your ID and told where you will be sitting for your exam. Do not worry about finding your seat, you will be escorted when the time comes. You will not be allowed to wear head wear, unless it is for religious reasons and if you do for religious reasons, a member of staff of the same sex will escort you to a quiet room and ask that you temporarily remove it in order for them to establish your identity and check for unauthorised items.
The equipment you need will be specific to your exam papers. For example, if you are doing maths, you will need a scientific calculator and geometry set. For most other qualifications, make sure you have at least a black pen, pencil, highlighters (for question highlighting only), pencil sharpener and ruler. Always make sure you have a spare pen too! We do have exam packs on site, with and without calculators, for purchase. If you have an English exam, make sure you have clean copies of textbooks and anthologies where required and they must not have any notes in.
What next and then…Exam results!
After the last examination in the exam series has taken place, we will issue you with a PDF document, via the Tutors & Exams Candidate Hub (TECH), explaining the results and appeals (Enquiry About Results) process.
Results/grades are issued by Awarding Organisation on prescribed dates for each examination series, typically two months after the final examination has taken place. Upon receipt, we will notify you of your results/grades electronically via the Tutors & Exams Candidate Hub (TECH).
When do I receive my certificate?
Certificates are issued around 15 weeks after results. We will post to the address you registered with us via 2nd Class Signed for post, therefore please ensure that your address is up to date. If you would like International Delivery additional fees may apply.
Then on to the next stage of your learning journey… Good luck!