Teaching qualifications

Changes to GCSE and A-level 2022 exams, explained

English language

Ofqual will drop the requirement for students taking the English Language GCSE to register a sample of the students’ spoken language. These are usually required by examination boards to monitor teacher evaluations, but this year they will not be needed.

Modern foreign languages

French, Spanish and German GCSE students will have to learn less vocabulary than a normal year, according to the regulator’s proposals. Ofqual will remove the requirement for students to use vocabulary that is not already on the vocabulary lists.

Students may also be able to obtain the qualification without being tested on their ability to speak the language, with the regulator saying it could remove the oral component from the exam.

While it is “best” to have oral exams, this may not be possible due to public health restrictions, Ofqual said.

Ofqual advised teachers and students to prepare for oral exams, but added that “emergency assessment arrangements” will be released in due course. If it becomes clear that oral exams cannot be taken, emergency arrangements will be implemented, the watchdog said.

Design and technology

Rather than using machines and tools themselves, design and technology students – at GCSE and A-level – could watch teachers demonstrate how to use them. Examination boards would have to accept the “mockups” and detailed intentions of how the prototypes would be built.


Field trips for GCSE and A-level geography – as well as other subjects such as geology and environmental sciences – will all be removed from the course requirements. Questions relating to field trips will be removed from the exam papers.

The regulator explained during his consultation that the work on the ground could be “difficult to organize due to public health restrictions”.

They said: “We recognize that fieldwork is an important feature of these qualifications and we encourage centers to engage in fieldwork where possible. However, we do not believe it is appropriate to retain mandatory requirements under the current circumstances. “


Performances for GCSEs and A-levels will be shorter and GCSE students will not be required to perform in groups.


Performances reviewed will be shorter and students will not be required to perform as part of an ensemble.


Students will be able to watch a broadcast or recorded live performance rather than seeing a live performance in a theater. The performances will also be shorter, to free up class time.

What do you think of the proposed changes to the GCSE and A-level exams? Let us know in the comments section below