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What Happens If You Miss a GCSE Exam?

Tornike Asatiani - Co-founder & COO of Edumentors


For many students, the thought of missing a GCSE exam is a nightmare. Not only may it mean not receiving a grade for that subject, but it can also have long-term implications on future university entrance requirements and job opportunities. Let’s explore the consequences of missing a GCSE exam, the steps you can take to make up a missed exam, and ways to prevent it from happening in the first place. Whether you’re a student currently preparing for your GCSEs or a parent of a student, this post will provide valuable information to help you navigate this stressful situation.

What Happens If You are Late on the Exam Day?

If you anticipate running late for an exam, it is crucial to inform the school or exam center as soon as possible. Although you may be permitted to take the exam, you will not be given additional time to complete it.

Typically, students who arrive late to an exam may not be permitted to enter the exam room, or may be granted entry but with less time to complete the exam. The specific cut-off time for late arrival can differ between schools.

To ensure you arrive on time for your exams, it’s important to plan your transportation and factor in any potential delays. It’s also a good practice to confirm the exam location and start time the day before the exam.

What Happens If You are Sick on GCSE Exam Day?

You can resit your GCSE if you are sick on an exam day. It’s important to contact your school or college as soon as possible. You will require a medical certificate in order to be eligible to reschedule the exam.

If you miss more than one exam for a subject, the exam board may award an overall result based on how well you do in the exams you do take. If you miss all the exams for a subject, you would be expected to resit the exams in November, or if it was a subject that was not important to you then just forget about that GCSE.

What Happens If There is a Bad Weather on the Exam Day?

unforeseen circumstances such as severe weather, major travel disruption or public incidents may impact schools/colleges and students. Where possible, all exams will go ahead as planned and if schools and colleges can open then students should sit their exams as normal. If severe weather is forecast, it is suggested to allow extra travel time, check for updates from your school or college and contact the school or college if you think you may arrive late, you may still be able to sit your exam.

It is important to plan your travel and allow for any unexpected delays caused by bad weather to ensure you arrive on time for your exams. It is always a good idea to double check the location of the exam and the time it starts the day before the exam.

The Consequences of Missing an Exam

Teenager Sleeping in on the GCSE Exam Day
Teenager Sleeping in on the GCSE Exam Day

if you miss an exam due to an unprecedented event such as illness, there are systems in place to ensure you get a grade, as long as you meet certain criteria. However, if you miss the exam due to something within your control, such as waking up late, you will fail the exam. You may be eligible for a resit at a later date.

How To Make Up for a Missed GCSE Exam?

If you miss a GCSE exam, the first step is to notify your center which will be your school, unless you’re a private candidate. You should contact the exams officer or admin via phone or email to let them know you have missed an exam. The process of making up a missed exam can vary depending on the policies of the exam board, your school or college. The exam board may use a combination of your mock grade, your performance in the other papers and the national average for the paper you missed to estimate what you would have got in that paper. It’s important to reach out to your school or the exam board for guidance if you are unsure about what to do.

What is the Special Consideration?

The Joint Council for Qualifications is a group of the eight largest providers of qualifications in the United Kingdom. They have implemented systems to ensure that students receive the grades they deserve. One such system is called “special consideration,” which takes into account any extenuating circumstances that may have affected a student’s performance on an assessment. According to JCQ, special consideration is given to students who have experienced illness, injury, or other unforeseen events that may have had an impact on their ability to perform.

The JCQ has provided a guide to the special consideration process on their website, which is updated annually, for more information on how to apply for special consideration. It is recommended that students visit the JCQ’s official website for the most up-to-date information on this process.

Prevention is the Key

By taking the necessary steps to ensure that you are prepared for your exams, you can reduce the chances of missing an exam. Here are a few things you can do to prevent missing a GCSE exam:

📌 Plan ahead. Make sure you know the date, time, and location of your exams well in advance. Create a study schedule that takes into account the timing of your exams and stick to it.

📌 Get organised. Keep track of important dates, deadlines and exam schedules in a calendar or planner.

📌 Be prepared for emergencies. Make sure you know what to do if an emergency occurs on the day of an exam. Have a backup plan in place, such as contacting a friend or family member to let them know what’s happening.

📌 Keep your health in check. Get enough sleep and eat well to avoid getting sick. If you are prone to migraines or other chronic conditions, have a plan in place to manage them on exam day.

📌 Consider your transportation. Plan your transportation to the exam location in advance, and leave enough time to account for traffic or other unforeseen events.


In conclusion, missing a GCSE exam can be a stressful and worrying experience. However, by taking the necessary steps to prepare for your exams and having a plan in place for unforeseen circumstances, you can reduce the chances of missing an exam. Remember, prevention is key.

But if the worst happens and you do miss an exam, stay calm and contact your school or exam board for guidance. The most important thing is not to panic and remember there are systems in place to help you out. If you need support, you can try online GCSE tutoring. So, stay focused, stay calm, and make sure to take the necessary steps to prepare for your exams. Start your revision early, plan it out and don’t worry about missing an exam too much! If you know how will you get there and leave the house as early as possible, you’ll be good!



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