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Novel coronavirus - Information for candidates and parents in Pakistan

Is Cambridge International postponing exams in May and June in Pakistan? 

We note the Pakistan government’s decision that examinations across the country will not take place until 1 June. This includes local and Cambridge examinations. Some Cambridge examinations are scheduled to take place from 1 June, and as of now, we anticipate that they will run in Pakistan as planned.  We are working in collaboration with the government of Pakistan to ensure the safety of students and provide them with academic continuity in this very challenging situation.  

Our priorities are to ensure the safety of schools and students and to minimise the impact to students heading for university, ensuring that we can support them in their progression to higher education. Therefore, we are working with universities to assist them in recognising student potential. We will also now plan for running a full exam series in October and November for students who are not able to take them in May and June. The Cambridge May/June exam series runs in countries throughout the world, and goes ahead in agreement with local governments. 

We understand the pressure students and parents are under in these unique and challenging circumstances and how tough it is for them. Both Cambridge and the government of Pakistan are trying to make the best decisions possible for students at this time. 

The June 2020 exam series timetable is global and used by many of the 160 countries we work with. It is not possible for us to make changes at short notice because timetabling across many different countries is so complex. 

If you are a candidate, please refer all enquiries to the exams officer at the school or British Council where you will be taking your examinations. They will be able to provide advice and guidance on all aspects of the examination process including timetables, support for the examinations, results and certificates. If they require further clarification please ask them to contact us directly.

What is the procedure for withdrawal of entries for May/June 2020 exams series? 

British Council will send an email to all schools early next week outlining the detailed process of withdrawal. 

Is it possible for a school to withdraw some subjects for a candidate? 

Yes, partial withdrawals are possible. 

Will British Council refund the fee for withdrawn entries? 

The British Council will provide schools with a credit note that can be used for entries in any future Cambridge exams series. More details on this will be shared with schools shortly. 

Can a school request that registrations from the May/June 2020 series be automatically transferred to the October/November 2020 series? 

Unfortunately, our systems do not allow an automatic transfer from one exams series to another exams series. Schools will need to withdraw their entries and re-enter students for the next series. 

What will be the deadline for re-registration for the October/November 2020 exams series? 

The British Council will announce the exact registration timelines for October/November session in due course, but we expect it to be around August time as normal.

Does a candidate have to pay full fee if they appear in the remaining components during October/November session? 

A candidate must complete all components in one exams series as per the regulations. It is therefore not possible to split components across more than one exam series. 

If a school is not able to withdraw entries by 10 April, will schools still be able to get a full refund? 

It is school’s responsibility to make sure that they have withdrawn the entries for their students for the May/June 2020 exams series, by the deadline. We will not be able to issue credit for withdrawal of students after 10 April.  

Are the Cambridge International school examinations going to be held from 1 June 2020 in Pakistan? 

We note the Pakistan government’s decision that the examinations across the country will not take place until 1 June. This includes local and Cambridge examinations. Some Cambridge examinations are scheduled to take place from 1 June, and as of now, we anticipate that they will run in Pakistan as planned. 

We are working in collaboration with the government of Pakistan to ensure the safety of students, and provide them with academic continuity in this very challenging situation. 

What if the situation doesn’t improve in June and the Pakistan Government extends the school closure? Will you go ahead with the exams in June?

We are closely monitoring the constantly evolving situation for Cambridge International Schools worldwide with the help of our regional teams in different countries. Cambridge International and the British Council are also working in collaboration with the government of Pakistan to ensure the safety of students in line with government advice. closures extend beyond the June 1, the next examination series will be November 2020. 

Will October/November series offer all O and A level subjects? 

We are planning to run a full exam series in October/November for students who are not able to take them in May/June 2020. 

The federal government has kept schools closed till 5 April. The Sindh government has decided to close the schools till 30 May. Are Cambridge International examinations going ahead in other provinces where there is no school closure? 

According to the Pakistan government’s decision, school examinations across the country will not take place until after 1 June for all exam boards including local and international. 

How will the grades be marked if a student has only taken one assessed component? 

We can provide a grade if a candidate has taken at least 50% of the total assessment by component weighting. For A Level, candidates must have taken at least 50% of the A2 assessment by component weighting. You can find out more about our acceptable criteria for missing an exam, please see section 5.5.4 of the Cambridge Handbook. 

If candidates cannot complete all components of a syllabus in June 2020 exam series, can they sit for some components in June 2020 and for other components in November 2020?  

All our exams are part of linear qualifications and all components within your entry option for the syllabus must be taken in the same exam series. Some entry options offer the opportunity to carry forward a result from a previous series, for example a coursework component, or to carry forward an AS result towards an A Level. For all other components it is not possible to complete some components in one exam series and some others in a different exam series. 

If candidates have to resit in a future series, can they carry forward or resubmit coursework? 

If a carry forward entry option is available, candidates can carry forward the marks submitted in June 2020. The latest you can carry forward marks is for the June 2021 series. You cannot resubmit coursework itself in a future series. However, if you withdraw the candidate’s entry before submitting the coursework for June 2020, they can submit the work in a future series if it fits the requirements of the syllabus for the year of examination. 

If my students miss exams, can they still get a grade? 

We can provide a grade if a candidate has taken at least 50% of the total assessment by component weighting. For A Level, candidates must have taken at least 50% of the A2 assessment by component weighting. You can find out more about our acceptable criteria for missing an exam, please see section 5.5.4 of the Cambridge Handbook.

We have a process for considering cases where the candidate has taken less than 50% of the total assessment by component. In these cases, we consider the level of the coverage of assessment objectives and syllabus content provided by the component(s) for which we have a mark. We may not be able to provide a grade in every case. 

Cambridge usually allows 1 year of AS result to be carried forward, what will happen if a student sit in October/November series? Will Cambridge extend this time limit? 

We are currently reviewing our carry forward rules. 

Kindly advise another course of action for the IGCSE Art & Design (0400) and A Level Art & Design (9479) examinations as all students and staff are in their homes and we are unable to guide our students as Art & Design requires practical teaching and feedback in person. Furthermore, I would also like to request you to help us with the submission deadlines for the portfolios. 

We are aware that school closures may mean schools cannot complete some or all the windowed tests in the June 2020 series, such as speaking tests and Art & Design exams. Cambridge is able to award a candidate a grade if they have completed the minimum requirements of the syllabus. Schools should apply for ‘Absent with good reason’ in these cases by writing to British Council at cambridgeschools@britishcouncil.org.pk 

If it is critical that you receive your results in time, we need to receive your coursework by the standard deadlines. We can accept coursework later in certain circumstances, provided it has been completed within the exam window and has been stored securely, but we cannot then guarantee you will receive your results on time. 

Due to school closure how do we plan to conduct the Primary checkpoint assessment? 

Cambridge Checkpoint tests are scheduled earlier than the other exams, so unfortunately it is too late to change the dates at this stage. However, you can withdraw candidates. If you would like to do this, you will need to withdraw all your school’s Cambridge Checkpoint test candidates by 01 April 2020 to allow us to make the change. To do so please email our Customer Services team at cambridgeschools@britishcouncil.org.pk with the subject line Checkpoint May 2020 withdrawal’, confirming that you wish to withdraw all your candidates. At this late stage, we cannot process withdrawal of individual candidates for Cambridge Checkpoint tests.  

How do I withdraw candidates from Cambridge Checkpoint tests? 

It is no longer possible to make Cambridge Checkpoint withdrawals via Cambridge International Direct, so please email our Customer Services team at cambridgeschools@britishcouncil.org.pk with the subject line ‘Checkpoint May 2020 withdrawal’, confirming that you wish to withdraw all your candidates. We will issue a credit note for the withdrawn entries to your school for use in a future series. If you withdraw, you will not be able to re-enter candidates after 1 April 2020. 

Cambridge IPQ doesn’t require a written exam. So, shall we submit the report as per procedure? 

Cambridge IPQ reports should be submitted as per the usual process. 

Does the Pakistan government’s decision on not to take examinations across the country also applies to Cambridge IPQ? 

If it is critical that you receive your results in time, we need to receive your coursework by the standard deadlines. We can accept coursework later in certain circumstances, provided it has been completed within the exam window and has been stored securely, but we cannot then guarantee you will receive your results on time. 

What about university admissions? What steps will Cambridge take to ensure that University placements are least affected by this change in exam time table? 

We are looking into ways to support students in their learning in different ways, from the safety of their homes and to work out options for those moving on to higher education, so that minimum interruption is caused to their educational progress. We know this is not ideal, but in these circumstances we will do our best to ensure that whatever can be done for our students is done. 

We are working with universities in different regions to update them on our efforts and gauge their response to the situation. In particular, we are in direct communication with universities in the UK, US, Canada and Australia which are the key destination countries for Cambridge learners.  

Universities in these four countries are dealing with the situation on a case by case basis and they seek to understand each student’s different context and challenges. We recommend that schools contact universities as soon as possible for each applicant, providing details of the students’ circumstances. This could include the length of time a school has been closed, limited access to specialist facilities, changes to staffing and information about whether immediate family have been affected.  

We also recommend that schools provide universities with information about student performance before they closed, including mock exam results and current predicted grades where possible. Schools should also include the student’s previously achieved Cambridge IGCSE and Cambridge International AS & A level grades as additional evidence for universities to use when making admission decisions. We have created a template that schools (not students) could use to convey this information to universities.  

The underlying principle of all admission policies is fairness. Admission teams will be as flexible as possible in these situations and try not to penalise students because of major disruptions beyond their control. For example, the University of Cambridge provided us with the following response; ‘We’re aware of the situation and have received a number of related queries. For the time being we will treat applicants on a case-by-case basis using our existing procedures. If prospective applicants have had their education disrupted due to the Coronavirus outbreak then they can complete the extenuating circumstances form. Affected offer-holders can contact their College to provide information on the nature of the disruption so that this can be taken into account in regard to confirmation.’  

This is a list of some of the responses (Document updated 18 March) we have received from universities reinforcing this message. Some are links to their websites and some are direct responses to us.  Many universities are working on their approach so please check university websites regularly.

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