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SQA exam season gets underway

Scotland’s National Qualification exams get under way tomorrow (Wednesday, April 28) when some 161,500 candidates in 533 schools and colleges throughout the country participate in the annual exam diet.

The exams begin with Standard Grade Physical Education and Intermediate 1 and 2 Music and conclude on Friday, June 11.

Throughout the intervening five week period some 745,000 exams from Standard Grade to Advanced Higher will have been completed
This year will see candidates participating for the first time in the newly introduced Scottish Baccalaureates. The baccalaureate is a new qualification which combines existing Highers and Advanced Highers. It also includes a unique interdisciplinary project which runs throughout the academic year.
 
Some 143 candidates will be blazing the baccalaureate trail – 19 in the Language baccalaureate and 124 in the Science baccalaureate.
Other innovations this year will see the SQA making enhanced use of electronic results delivery and student assistance measures.
 
Candidates who have signed up and activated their personal accounts for the MySQA service are being offered the opportunity to receive their exam results by text and email a day earlier than when the traditional certificates arrive by post on Thursday, August 5.
 
Participants must have registered by July 15 and activated their accounts by July 23. In addition to electronic delivery, all candidates will continue to receive their results in the traditional way.
 
Additionally, students can now download a free ‘app’ to build their own mobile phone personal exam timetable. This enables candidates to view their exam schedule at a glance, e-mail it to themselves or to friends, and integrate it into their other calendars. The ‘app’ also provides information and resources to help students prepare for exams, such as the SQA ‘Your Exams’ guide.
 
SQA Chief Executive Dr Janet Brown, in her formal role as Scotland’s Chief Examining Officer, said: “Good qualifications are probably more important today than they have ever been. Our qualifications genuinely capture and reflect our candidates’ skills and provide for them a pathway to the workplace or further study. Today, I send my very best wishes to the thousands of learners who are embarking upon the next big step in their lives and I trust that their hard work and dedication will be rewarded with the results they deserve.”
 
Each year, the SQA’s in-house team of examination experts is augmented by some 15,000 ‘appointees’ who help to set, invigilate and mark nearly two million examination ‘scripts’.
 
Dr Brown added: “In order to deliver all of our candidates' results we rely on the expertise of our appointees. In the main they come from the educational sector in Scotland and to them and to our own hardworking staff I offer my sincere thanks for their continued and highly valued support."
 
SQA has been closely monitoring the situation regarding volcanic ash flying restrictions and how they might have impacted on candidates, teachers or appointees involved in the 2010 Diet. SQA has contingencies in place which ensure that no exam candidate will be adversely affected by the recent unprecedented travel situation.