This is the time that candidates for GCSE’s in May – June must prepare to register. For students in school or college this process is taken care of, but for candidates not enrolled or affiliated, the responsibility is on themselves as individuals to find the examination that is appropriate, contact a centre willing to host them when they sit the papers, complete the required formalities (such as proving ID) and pay the fees.
Schools can currently choose a route to GCSEs from a number of examination boards and a variety of specifcations under each board. This is not the case, however, for private candidates, for this reason: their ‘missing-out’ on coursework or internally-assessed assignments, which schools only can organises and supervise. There is little point in a private candidate’s registering for an examination under a specification in which, say, only 60% of the assessment is on final exam performance.
The private candidate therefore has a restricted range of possibilities, with the condition of setting everything on performance in two written papers per subject, held a week or so apart. The qualifications in English and Maths I am recommending to my students (not-in-school, or mature) are the Edexcel IGCSE’s. Both foundation and higher tiers are provided for and the assessment is 100% by final exam. If they go ahead, Kent College, Canterbury, will be the local examination centre.
Other options for private candiates may be available, but I haven’t come across them so far.