Exam FAQs

A general timetable of written exams will be posted on our website during the spring term; just select the Exam Timetables tab. Separate arrangements are made for oral and practical exams (your teachers will advise you of these).

Your personal timetable will be emailed to you in the weeks leading up to the exam, and a hard copy provided by your form tutor.

You will be issued with a timetable via your form tutor towards the end of the spring term (usually), and an electronic copy emailed to you, too.

Information you must CHECK

  • Check that you have been entered for the correct units (and that none are missing).
  • Check your date of birth and that we have the correct spelling of your name. This should be your full, legal name.

If anything is incorrect, or missing, please see the school Exam Officer (found in main reception), or email exams@stbedes.cambs.sch.uk.

Keep the timetable as you'll need to refer to this throughout the exam period.

Most GCSE exams take place in the sports hall and media room. Some students may sit exams separately if additional access arrangements are required, such as the need for a reader or prompt.

You can find seating plan templates for the sports hall, media room and sports hall classroom by clicking on the page (Seating Plans). When exam timetables are made available to you, seat numbers will be provided. You can therefore look up your seat using the templates provided in the Seating Plans page.

You should check these in advance and notify the Exam Officer if you notice any errors, or have specific queries.

We also place paper copies of seating plans by the exit of the canteen, on the sports hall main entrance and on the sports hall door itself, on the morning of each exam.


Common adjustments may include a reader pen, a prompt, rest breaks or extra time (25% or more rarely, 50%).

Each case is individual to the learner’s needs.  Teachers, parents/carers and students may make referrals for exams access arrangements.

The majority of students requiring access arrangements will have demonstrated the need for these throughout their schooling, though we can apply to test a student at any point should a need for additional support be identified.

Schools are required to demonstrate that any application to the JCQ awarding body for access arrangements is supported by evidence that the arrangements represent the student's normal way of working.

This would mean, for example, that the student has required these arrangements throughout KS4 for internal assessments.

Schools must now exhaust the option of rest breaks before applying for extra time.  

We will already be aware of exam clashes and will work out a strategy for you.  However if you notice a clash first, please contact the exams office (exams@stbedes.cambs.sch.uk), or go to main reception and ask to speak to the Exam Officer. Special arrangements will be made for you to fit the exams into the day.

Morning exams begin at 9:15am and afternoon exams begin at 1:00pm. On some occasions, exams may begin at a different time in order to accommodate potential clashes, which will be shown on your specific exam timetable.

You should aim to arrive at least 10 minutes before the start of each exam. You should wait outside the main sports hall entrance or, if wet, in the year 11 dining area underneath the canopy.

Prior to this, you should ensure you have gone to the toilet and put your bag and other belongings (including, most importantly, your phone and watch) inside your locker.

If you realise you are going to be late, you should telephone the school (01223 568816), so that we know you are on your way.

Generally, the key advice is not to panic! Sometimes students are late for reasons beyond their control, and there is a little leeway to deal with such circumstances.

What happens depends on how late you are, as the exam providers do have strict rules about whether you can sit the exam or not. In most instances, you may be allowed to start the exam a little late, but, in the case of arriving very late, you may not be allowed to sit that paper, which would mean that you wouldn't get a grade.

If travelling by school bus and you realise you are going to be late, don't worry, the bus company will have informed us. We are able to stall the start of the exam for a small period of time if we know in advance that a number of students are going to be late. We still advise you to contact the school, however, using the number above.

Generally, if unsure, you should try to come in and sit the exam. Some students might feel ill, but may only be due to the (understandable) stress of sitting an exam.

If you are unable to sit an exam due to illness however, please contact the school as soon as possible as soon as you are aware (01223 568816). It's likely you will need to provide us with medical evidence, such as a note from your doctor, in order to support our discussions with the exam providers.

It is each student's responsibility to have the correct equipment for each exam.

You should have black pens (biros, not gel pens), and it's a good idea to have a couple of spare pens, too.  You may also need pencils, a ruler, a calculator (unless specified otherwise), erasers, compass and protractor.

If you bring a pencil case, it must be a clear plastic one, and should not contain any pieces of paper/notes. Below is a useful checklist for students, produced by JCQ:

Checklist for students: On your exam day


You are permitted to bring water into the exam - in fact, it's recommended to keep good hydration levels throughout exams to help the brain function optimally. It can only be water, however, and must be in a clear bottle with no labels or markings. Any other bottle will be confiscated, as per JCQ guidelines.

You cannot bring food into the exam hall, unless for medical reasons (that should be discussed with and agreed by us, prior to the start of the exams).

It's really important to ensure you have a healthy and balanced diet through the exam period, including a good breakfast and lunch, each day.

All year 11 students will be permitted non-school uniform and should follow the usual guidelines for appropriate clothing.

It's recommended that students wear comfortable clothing and suitable for the conditions on the day, for what may be a lengthy exam.

Hats, coats scarves and gloves will not be permitted.

Certificates for Summer exams are given out during the St Bede's Prize Evening, which is typically held in the December following the exam results.

If you are unable to attend your Prize Evening, then we can post your certificates to you via recorded delivery. Please contact exams@stbedes.cambs.sch.uk should you need to discuss further.