Need to Know: UK Exam Boards

Need to Know: UK Exam Boards

Be prepared before making your purchase by knowing which exam board your child’s school is registered with for that particular subject or qualification. Schools are free to choose which exam board they register with, depending on the qualification offered. For example, if you want to buy your child two GCSE revision guides for Maths and Biology, you may need to buy a Maths OCR guide and a Biology AQA guide. The same goes for different qualifications – a school may choose one exam board for GCSE French and another for A Level French. Speak with the school to find out which subjects are registered with which exam boards and don’t fall into the trap of thinking one exam board covers all subjects and all qualifications.

Give your child an extra boost in the lead up to his or her exams with a revision guide, but make sure it is the right one. Here is a guide to the seven main examining boards that set exams for state schools in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

AQA (Assessment and Qualifications Alliance)

The AQA has more than 3.5 million exam entries every year, making it the largest exam board in the UK. Its exams, which include GCSEs, A Levels and vocational qualifications, are taken in more than 7,000 schools in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

CIE (Cambridge International Examinations)

Part of the University of Cambridge, this is traditionally an international awarding body that now offers certain certificates to state schools.

CCEA (Council for the Curriculum, Examinations & Assessment)

The CCEA operates solely in Northern Ireland and it provides exams to around 300 school and colleges.

Edexcel (Pearson Edexcel, as of April 2013)

Alongside AQA, Exexcel is the other big exam board. Almost all of its exams are sat in England and it offers GCSEs, A Levels and a wide range of vocational qualifications.

ICAAE (International Curriculum and Assessment Agency Examinations)

The ICAAE is a specialist exam board offering a small number of papers in business and ICT. It is the smallest exam board for state schools.

OCR (Oxford, Cambridge and RSA Examinations)

Around 15,000 education providers are registered with the OCR, and 10% of its exams are sat by pupils attending private schools.

WJEC (Welsh Joint Education Committee)

Although it is based in Wales and offers Welsh-language exams, the majority of the exam papers produced by the WJEC are sat in England. More than 5,000 English schools and colleges are registered with the board, compared with less than 500 in Wales. The WJEC also provides the Welsh baccalaureate.

Use our education page to navigate around the different subjects and qualifications before selecting the correct exam board for your child’s exams.