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Aqa Private Candidates Coursework

Written exams

Before you take exams as a private candidate, check the subject specification for the format of the assessment. This will tell you what is needed and give you an idea of what you can expect on the day.

You should ensure that you bring what you need to the exams (including any pre-release materials) and follow all instructions during the exam. At the end of the exam, the invigilator in charge of the room will tell you when it is alright to leave.

You may be interested in the following JCQ information about exam regulations:

You can also read our students guide on what to expect on exams day.

Pre-release (preliminary) material

You may need pre-release (preliminary) material in advance of the exam. Exams requiring pre-release material are indicated in the specification so please check each subject specification carefully.

The information and materials are sent to your school or college and the exams officer should forward them on to you.

Please note: it is your responsibility to ensure that you receive the pre-release material. If you have not received it, contact the exams officer. We are unable to send the material to you directly.

Access arrangements and special consideration

Access arrangements for private candidates with a physical disability or learning disability should be requested at the time you make your entry and before the deadline dates. If you have a temporary injury, contact the exams officer immediately.

Special consideration may be given after your exam if you have been affected by illness, a temporary injury or any other indisposition at the time of the exam. You must contact the exams officer at your school or college as soon as possible. They are able to apply for special consideration and need to submit the request within seven days of the last exam.

For further information, read JCQ's information on access arrangements and reasonable adjustments and special consideration.


You can view AQA exam dates, or provisional exam dates, on our dates and timetables page.

Timetable clashes

If you find out that you have two or more exams at the same time, contact your exams officer straight away. Alternative arrangements will be made where possible and need to be done through your exams officer.


When you are taking exams as a private candidate, the school or college needs to verify who you are.

If you are known to school or college staff

Even if you are known personally to staff at the school or college, you will need to be able to identify yourself to the exams invigilator. Please produce your ID at the beginning of any exam, controlled assessment, non-exam assessment, practical or speaking unit.

If you are not known to school or college staff

If you are not known to school or college staff, you will need to show a current and valid passport or driving licence with a photograph when you make your entry. You will also need to produce your ID at the beginning of any exam, controlled assessment, non-exam assessment, practical or speaking unit.

If you are not known to school or college staff and do not hold current ID

If you do not have a valid passport or driving licence with a photograph, you need to provide:

  • a private candidate identification form completed and signed by a witness1
  • two passport-sized photographs taken within the last 12 months, one of which must be signed on the reverse by a witness1.

1The witness must be a person who knows you and who is in one of the following categories:

  • the head of an educational institution
  • a medical practitioner
  • a minister of religion
  • a magistrate
  • a solicitor
  • a bank manager
  • your employer.

You need to take the completed private candidate identification form with the two photographs to the school or college at the time you attend to make your entry.

Religious clothing

Where it is appropriate, you must agree to the arrangements for identifying all students wearing religious clothing, such as a veil. These arrangements are described in paragraph 9.3 of the JCQ Instructions for conducting examinations.

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