COVID-19 (coronavirus) Information for schools on November 2020 and future series

Article published on 30 July

FAQ sections:

Entries and withdrawals

Forecast Grades
Additional syllabuses in November 2020
Syllabus-specific guidance


Will candidate grades or candidate marks be used to calculate Cambridge International A Level results in the November 2020 series? 

Marks from our assessments provide the most reliable and valid measure of a candidate’s performance. We will use any AS Level marks relevant to the candidate’s entry option to calculate their A Level result, in preference to using the A2 only option*. This includes AS Level marks from the June 2019 series for candidates entering staged ‘June carry-forward’ options. This is an exception to our usual 13-month rule for carrying forward marks.

We will soon be providing more detailed information about carry forwards on our website.

* The A2 only option is only available to candidates entering a ‘June carry forward’ option in the November 2020 series and who had a valid AS Level entry in the June 2020 series.

Will Cambridge International A Level candidates receive a PUM (percentage uniform mark) in the November 2020 series if candidates in their region usually do so?

Candidates completing their full A Level in the November 2020 series should be aware that PUMs will not be available under the ‘A2-only’ route. The A2-only route is available to candidates entering for the ‘June carry-forward’ option for the syllabus who have no relevant AS marks from the June 2019 series. If a candidate needs their PUM, they should enter for the linear A Level option.

Carrying forward marks to a future exam series 

As we explained previously, in the absence of AS Level marks in June 2020, students will receive a grade for Cambridge International AS Level, but will not be able to carry forward their AS Level result to A Level in the usual way. Therefore, we have put in place alternative arrangements. See our website for the latest information about carrying forward marks. 


Entries and withdrawals

Information about Statements of Entry for the November 2020 series

We are also asking you to use the electronic Statements of Entry generated on Cambridge International Direct. Please do not use hard copy Statements of Entry forms from previous exam series. Where your region has told us that it is critical for you to receive hard copy Statements of Entry, we will continue to send them to you in hard copy. 

Entry and withdrawal deadlines for the November 2020 series

For schools outside the UK our final entry deadline for the November 2020 series is 16 August. Fees for late entries will be charged as normal. However, a school will receive credit for any withdrawals made before the end of the day on 30 August. This is to support schools who may be uncertain about making entries because of the ongoing impact of the pandemic.  

Can I carry forward marks from June 2019 to November 2020?

Yes, in the following circumstances:

  • you were entered for the relevant syllabus in June 2020, irrespective of whether you were later withdrawn
  • the syllabus has a carry forward entry option for that component.

This is an exemption from our usual 13-month rule.

We will provide you with the entry options for each syllabus that will allow June 2019 marks to be carried forward to November 2020. 

How will Cambridge International AS Level grades from June 2020 count towards Cambridge International A Level in future series?

For students who want to carry forward their Cambridge International AS Level result from June 2020 to a future Cambridge International A Level, we have looked at a specific technical challenge: it is the AS Level mark students normally carry forward, not the grade. In the absence of AS Level marks in June 2020, students will receive an AS Level grade but will not be able to carry forward their AS Level result to A Level in the usual way. Please see the update provided to schools on 21 April for further information.

Information on Cambridge ICE

This update is for students for whom the November 2020 exam series would normally be the last series for which they can sit exams and gain their Cambridge ICE certificate. 

We recognise that some schools may need to plan their academic year differently due to the impact of Covid-19, and therefore we will allow an exemption for Cambridge ICE students to the usual rule that candidates must complete all elements within 13 months. 

The exemption will apply if November 2020 would have been the final series for the candidate for ICE (that is, they are also using syllabus grades from a previous series within the last 13 months). 

If candidates meets this criteria, they can count grades awarded from the November 2021 series instead of November 2020 series.   It is still the case that the candidates may only use grades from a maximum of two series.  

If a candidate has already been entered for November 2020 you have until 16 August to withdraw them and receive a credit for the entry. 

This exemption is in addition to our previous announcement for candidates who were due to complete Cambridge ICE in June 2020 series. 


Forecast Grades

Information about submitting forecast grades and internally assessed marks in the November 2020 series.

We have changed some of our processes to help us meet the challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, and to support schools working remotely. As part of these changes, we are asking you to use electronic methods to minimise delays and allow us to prioritise our confidential despatches. 

Therefore, for the November 2020 series, you need to submit your forecast grades and internally assessed marks electronically using Cambridge International Direct. This means your pre-exam despatch will not include Forecast grade forms or Internal assessment mark sheets. We will send your pre-exam despatch in mid to late September. 



What is the timeline for making entries for the November 2020 series?

You can find the timeline here.

What are your plans for the November 2020 exam series?

We plan to run exams in the November 2020 series. We have added additional syllabuses for the November 2020 series only. See our website for more information.

Advice on running exams in your centre in November 2020

Some centres have asked us if we can provide advice on running exams in their centre in what may be different circumstances from usual. We are writing guidance for centres and will publish soon in a future update for schools.

We continue to monitor guidance from government authorities about school closures and re-openings. Our priorities remain to protect the health and safety of students and teachers, and to help students continue with their educational journeys as soon as possible.



Can I use non – examination work prepared for June 2020 in the November 2020 series?

Candidates’ work prepared for non-examination assessments, such as coursework or speaking tests in the June 2020 series, may be submitted instead for the November 2020 series. This only applies where the component did not have pre-release materials or early exam stimulus materials that are unique to each exam series. Schools must make sure they have followed the guidance for non-examination assessments (Handbook, section 3.4).

This means you will not be able to submit work that was originally produced for June 2020, and which used unique June 2020 stimulus material or exam paper, for a November 2020 entry.

The syllabuses and components with series specific assessment materials can be found here.

The syllabuses and components with NO series specific assessment materials can be found here.


Additional syllabuses in November 2020

Further to our communications and requests from schools, we are pleased to confirm that we will provide a number of syllabuses in the November 2020 series that are normally only available in the June series. The list of syllabuses is provided below.

We understand that some students will have hoped to see more syllabuses here. However, we have reviewed this in depth, and considered which syllabuses have the most entries and what we can realistically achieve in the short time available.

You can now make entries for these additional syllabuses as well as all syllabuses that are usually offered in November.

Additional syllabuses available for November 2020 series:

Syllabus Syllabus Code Administrative zone(s)*
Cambridge IGCSE Bahasa Indonesia 0538 4 and 5
Cambridge IGCSE Chinese - First Language 0509 4 and 5
Cambridge IGCSE Chinese - Second Language 0523 4 and 5
Cambridge IGCSE Malay 0546 4 and 5
Cambridge IGCSE Mandarin Chinese - Foreign Language 0547 4 and 5
Cambridge IGCSE Pakistan Studies 0448 3 and 4
Cambridge O Level Global Perspectives 2069 4
Cambridge O Level Urdu - First Language 3247 3 and 4


* Each location is allocated to one of six administrative zones. You must ensure the additional syllabuses listed above are available for your administrative zone by checking the final column of the table. Please check your administrative zone and key time


The additional November syllabus that my candidates want to take is not available in our centre’s administrative zone. What can we do?

It may be possible for your candidates to sit a syllabus that has been added to the November 2020 series, even if it is not available in your centre’s administrative zone. You should apply directly to our Compliance team, who will consider each application on a case by case basis.

Be aware that entries for additional November 2020 syllabuses in another administrative zone will only be considered if the syllabus would normally be available in the June series in your own administrative zone.


Syllabus-specific guidance

Some 2021 syllabuses have new or different content. Can candidates entering exams in 2021 continue to study the syllabus content specified in the 2020 syllabus, instead of studying the content of the 2021 syllabus?

You should prepare candidates entering the November 2020 exam series  using the prescribed content (for example, set texts, prescribed topics, etc.) shown in the syllabus for November 2020; and you should prepare candidates entering any of the 2021 exam series (March/June/November) using the prescribed content shown in the syllabus for each appropriate 2021 series. This is because some schools have already started preparing candidates for the November 2020 and the 2021 exam series using the prescribed content in the syllabus that is applicable to each of these series.

You can find support materials on the School Support Hub, including Schemes of Work (SOW) to help your teaching. These provide detailed advice on lesson activities and appropriate resources for the entire syllabus content. 

Coursework, speaking and practical components: advice for November 2020

We are aware that candidates are working hard to prepare their coursework and develop their practical and speaking skills for the November 2020 exam series. Some schools are now reopening but many others are still closed. We have updated our guidance so teachers can apply the information below to specific components.

Please note, in addition to the guidance we have prepared, you must also follow local regulations for safeguarding and Covid-19.

Can my students complete their coursework components remotely?

In some circumstances, candidates working remotely will be able to practise the skills they need to demonstrate in their coursework, practical or speaking but will not be able to produce the work that they will submit for final assessment because of circumstances caused by Covid 19.

  • For components where it is still possible for candidates to meet all the assessment objectives, we have determined adjustments to the requirements of the component. This should make it easier for candidates to produce work for the component in the current circumstances.
  • Where a component adjustment is not possible, we have explained what you can do if your candidate is not able to complete the component.

To support you, and to make sure as many of your candidates as possible can meet all the requirements of their chosen syllabus, we have put together some information and guidance. Please read this advice carefully. You should also refer to our updated Special Consideration guidance. 

For other coursework, speaking and practical components, teachers and students will be able to adjust their approach to the course or their administration of the test to meet the requirements of the component. This applies to components in listed in this document.

The FAQs and syllabus-specific guidance below are relevant to components where candidates will be able to work from home on coursework tasks for final assessment. The guidance covers how to authenticate work submitted remotely for final assessment, and ways to support students as they complete assessed work from home.

How can candidates complete their coursework from home and without teacher supervision?

You must be in a position to authenticate your candidates’ coursework when you submit it. To help you do this remotely, you can:

  • check in with your candidates regularly about their progress
  • ask candidates to submit their draft work electronically for you to review, where appropriate
  • supervise your candidates’ work using online systems with video capability provided you have been given the necessary permissions to do this
  • refer to our advice about plagiarism.

How can candidates conduct their coursework research, surveys or interviews from home?

Where appropriate and in compliance with local safeguarding requirements, candidates can conduct research, surveys and interviews online instead of face-to-face. There are also many online resources that can help candidates to gather information for their coursework from home, for example, academic journals and fieldwork tutorials. Some art collections and museums can be visited online. Teachers may signpost subject-specific resources that will allow candidates to conduct research, complete surveys and practise key skills to help them with their coursework. 

What can candidates do at home to practise speaking skills in preparation for their speaking tests?

Candidates can practise the skills required for their speaking tests from home, for example, by having online conversations with teachers and other candidates via a video conferencing platform.

If candidates intend to wear a mask during their actual speaking test, they could practise having conversations wearing a mask. This might mean that candidates will need to adjust the way they speak, for example, they might need to speak more loudly and clearly to make sure that they can be understood.

For speaking tests without confidential material, can we administer the test remotely?

For these components, you should try to administer the speaking test as normal, according to the syllabus requirements. Where this is not possible, you can conduct the test remotely, but you must make sure that the candidate does not have access to any materials not normally permitted in the speaking test. To do this, you will need to use a video call to check the materials the candidate has access to for the test. Once you have completed this check, you can conduct the rest of the test as an audio call.

You must record each speaking test you conduct remotely, as you normally would, and compile all candidate recordings in a single submission to Cambridge for external moderation. Submit the speaking test recordings to us in a file format specified on the samples database for the component.

For speaking tests with confidential material, can we administer the test remotely?

You will not be able to administer speaking tests with confidential material remotely. We will be giving you more information about these speaking tests in our next update.

Can I have an extension to conduct the speaking tests?

You should conduct the speaking tests within the published test window. We know that, in some cases, that you may need more time to complete your tests, and so we will not require you to complete the tests within as short a timeframe as possible, however, you must administer all of your speaking tests within the test window for the component.

How can candidates prepare for their science practical exams?

Practical skills should be taught and practised as an integral part of all science courses. We recommend that all candidates, whether they are taking practical exams or ‘alternative to practical’ exams, should prepare by doing practical experiments at school, although we are aware that many candidates are not able to carry out practical work in school at the moment.

However, candidates can practise many practical skills remotely. Teachers can use sample results from experiments that were carried out in class to allow candidates to practise skills such as graph plotting, data analysis and drawing conclusions. Teachers can also use the experiments described in past papers to develop candidates’ planning and evaluation skills.

Schools may also choose to prioritise the teaching of theory work while closed, and then prioritise practical work when they are able to reopen. We will give you more information about science practical exams in our next update.


American History (US) (0409/03)

How can candidates complete the research-based essay?

Candidates could research an individual or event for which online material is available. If candidates choose to research a site, they could choose a site that has a website or a 360-degree video available, as this could be helpful if candidates cannot visit the site in person. Some sites might also have documentaries available, which could offer the flavour of a visit.

To help candidates know how to present their material, schools could also post examples of referencing or schedule a skills session via a video conferencing platform before candidates draft their coursework.


Art & Design (0400/01, 0989/01, 9479/01/03, 6090/01)

How can candidates work on their coursework from home?

Art & Design candidates working from home could consider various different approaches such as setting up a still life arrangement, portraits of family members, views from their homes or studies of their home to draw and develop their observational drawing skills. They could also use fabric and collage materials, for example, magazines, newspaper, packaging, textured papers or found objects, to create interesting collages based on their still life. These can then be developed into ideas for their coursework by experimenting with different layouts, choosing a section to make a repeat pattern, adding layers or lettering.

Candidates could photograph their drawings and collages, scan them into drawing software and experiment changing the scale or colours or use them as background ideas for fashion or graphic design. Photographing and documenting their surroundings can also be a good way to develop observational and recording skills.

Candidates can also benefit from sketching and making a visual journal, in which they storyboard and document their daily life visually. Approaches such as making models out of packaging or materials found around the home can be creative and lead ideas into new directions.

Several major art galleries and museums have moved their collections online, which presents a chance for research into the work of artists or designers and to think about what influenced them. Candidates can take inspiration from established artists to adapt techniques into forms that can be used at home, for example, drawing onto cardboard, mono-printing and photographing or painting scenes from daily life.

How can candidates work with first-hand sources from home?

Candidates could consider various different approaches, for example a still life arrangement, portraits of family members, views from their homes or studies of their home to draw and develop their observational drawing skills.

Candidates will not be able to access art galleries and exhibitions at first-hand; however, many galleries and exhibitions are being made available online and candidates should be encouraged to use these resources where they are available. Some candidates may want to adapt or amend their work depending on the availability of such resources. Candidates can access material online and use this to compare and contrast with their own practical work.


Design & Technology (0445/02, 6043/02, 0979/02, 9705/02/04)

How can candidates work on their projects from home?

We are aware that candidates might not have access to the materials they need. Until they do so, candidates may keep working on their sketches, drawings and photographs of stages of the development. Where appropriate, they may also work on the other information required for their coursework, for example, their reasons for choosing specific materials, tools, equipment, finishes, etc.


Digital Media & Design (9481/01/03)

How can candidates complete their coursework from home?

If candidates have access to their own device and software, they could research ideas for animations, photographic stories or montages by recording their own surroundings and family life. They could also do storyboarding or plan animations or films either on paper or using drawing software. Candidates could look for opportunities for creative problem-solving, for example, designing digital elements for information websites or apps (e.g. related to teaching online or to information about public health).

Candidates could also research artists, filmmakers or photographers to inform their ideas by looking at different ways of working, both digital and using drawing, collage and mixed media. These collaged or drawn works could be scanned and used as backgrounds for design work or could be animated to music to form a projection or moving image work. Candidates could use online surveys with their friends and families to gather feedback to inform the development of their ideas.


Enterprise (0454/02)

How can candidates work on their Enterprise project if schools are closed?

Candidates can work alone or, remotely, in groups. Candidates working alone should carry out a small, simple project that allows them to complete all the activities themselves.

Candidates could consider:

  • doing their negotiation by email instead of doing this face-to-face. For example, they could be negotiating with a relative for start-up finance or use of resources. They should keep their email communications as electronic evidence.
  • an Enterprise project that could be done at home or electronically, for example, selling items online, doing household chores, washing cars, making and selling cakes, etc. They could set this up electronically and arrange to deliver the items, following local regulations.
  • that the project does not need to succeed. When evaluating the project, candidates could potentially have a lot to discuss if their project is not a success, either as a result of the current situation or not.
  • that the presentation could be done remotely, for example, via a video conferencing platform or recorded and sent to the teacher on an email.


Fashion & Textiles (6130/02/03) and Design & Textiles (9631/02)

How can candidates create their garments from home?

Candidates could create garments at home either using a sewing machine, if available, or hand sewing. Teachers could provide guidance online and candidates might also find it helpful to use guidance from online resources, such as downloadable tutorials or patterns.

Teachers must be able to authenticate their candidates’ work. See advice above on supervising your candidates remotely in How can candidates prepare their coursework from home and without teacher supervision?


Geography (0460/03) (0976/03)

How can candidates complete coursework that requires fieldwork?

Many schools undertake the same fieldwork tasks year-on-year. Where this is the case, teachers may be able to use data collected previously to discuss with candidates the data collection methodology. If candidates are not able to collect their own primary data, they can use such data to revise methodologies and explain what they would have done to collect primary data for their coursework. They can also use this for the data representation, evaluation and conclusion sections of their coursework. 

Where schools cannot use previously collected data, candidates can use secondary data instead of primary data. To help them do this, candidates could use a wide range of online resources. For example, a school could source secondary weather data from two different school weather stations at different locations. Data from such weather stations are often shared online on the schools’ websites. Candidates could use this data (atmospheric pressure, wind speed and other weather readings) as the basis of a hypothesis, for example, 'Wind direction affects the amount of rainfall at a school in Sydney more than it does at a school in London'.


Global Perspectives & Research (9239/03), Global Perspectives (0457/03) and other Team Projects

Can candidates complete their team research project from separate locations?

The Component 3 Team Project must involve collaboration between team members. Candidates can still complete their team project using remote communication methods, through email, video chat and instant messenger services. Candidates should provide examples of difficulties they faced and how they overcame them and how they organised work within the team. Candidates need to provide evidence of their collaboration to their teacher. 

Please also see guidance above on How can candidates prepare their coursework from home and without teacher supervision?


Media Studies (9607/01/03)

How can candidates complete their coursework from home?

We are aware that for candidates to work safely, they might have difficulties in filming or might need to change locations or groups. Candidates are permitted to do this and they should explain on their blog any changes they needed to make and why.


Physical Education (0413/02, 0995/02, 9396/02/04) 

How can candidates practise the skills for coursework remotely?

Local regulations may vary in different parts of the world; while in some countries local regulations are starting to relax, in some others they are still in place. You should follow local government safety guidelines. Where allowed by your government, we suggest that candidates practise their chosen sports and work on their skills under supervision, making sure that they keep safe and avoid injury.


Travel & Tourism (0471/03, 7096/03, 9395/02)

How can candidates prepare their investigation report from home (0471/03, 7096/03)?

Candidates can do the primary research element of the coursework remotely, for example, by email or telephone. Their written research report can also be completed from home.

Teachers must be able to authenticate their candidates’ work. See advice above on supervising your candidates remotely in How can candidates prepare their coursework from home and without teacher supervision?

How can candidates plan and manage a travel & tourism event while schools are closed (9395/02)?

We are aware that it may be difficult or not possible for candidates to run an event as usual in the current situation. However, candidates could consider running an online event, subject to local safeguarding requirements. Planning, organisation and evaluation of the event can be done remotely using online platforms or email.

Suitable online events could include:

  • an online tourism seminar
  • an online talk, e.g. guest speakers on Dark Tourism
  • an online Travel & Tourism debate, e.g. is ecotourism just another marketing tool?
  • an online cultural tourism conference
  • an online travel programme with information from different contributors about destinations, sustainability, etc.
  • an online launch of a Travel & Tourism radio programme – with features on tourism destinations
  • an online Travel & Tourism app or blog, e.g. with details of the safest ways to travel
  • virtual tours of visitor attractions, hotels, destinations or resorts.

Evidence of the team in operation can be produced electronically via online discussions and interactions, such as blogs, group chats or use of social media platforms. Evidence of witnessing the event can be done using screen shots, social media advertisements and discussions, and evidence of online meetings or group chats. The demonstration of excellent customer service, as required for the evaluation section of the coursework, can be achieved through interactions via email, online meetings and groups chats with internal and external customers.

These online or electronic versions of evidence and events can still fulfil the assessment objectives and criteria for component 2 of the AS Level.


Environmental Management (8291/03)

Do candidates need to complete a practical investigation for their report?

The report may focus on a local, regional or global issue. It may be based on secondary source material and/or internet data. Where it is practical to do so, candidates can use primary sources and field data collection, but if this is not possible, candidates can use secondary source material and/or internet data only.

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