Exams begin for learners across Scotland

Monday 24 April 2023

SQA exams get underway on Monday for tens of thousands of young people across Scotland who will sit National 5, Higher and Advanced Highers.

The exam period begins on Monday 24 April and concludes on Thursday 1 June.

Almost 130,000 candidates will sit formal assessments, with learners undertaking question papers in subjects ranging from Chemistry and English to Art & Design and Environmental Science. For those candidates taking subjects such as Drama, Health and Food Technology and PE, the performance and practical elements of the assessments have been taking place over the last several weeks.

Over the course of the next six weeks, more than two million question papers will be handed out in over 500 schools, colleges and training providers across the country. SQA exams will also be held in the United States of America and a number of European countries, including Romania where the    European Taekwon-do championships are taking place, as special arrangements have been put in place to accommodate candidates who are, for example, representing their country at the time of their exams.

In addition, many learners will be in the final stages of completing National 1 to National 4 qualifications, SQA Awards, Skills for Work courses, National Progression Awards and National Certificates that are continually assessed throughout the year. These form part of a broad offering of qualifications, which support learners to progress into employment, training, further and higher education.

In total, more than 144,000 candidates are expected to get their results on Tuesday 8 August.

I would like to wish the thousands of young people throughout Scotland who are about to sit exams or complete their assessments the very best in the coming weeks. This is their opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned and what they can do, to progress to their next steps in education, training, or employment.

I also express my appreciation for the dedication and professionalism of teachers and lecturers across the country, who have continued to support and guide thousands of learners, helping them reach their full potential.

We couldn’t do what we do without the support of thousands of appointees, including thousands of practitioners, who collaborate with us throughout the year to ensure the exams and assessments are set, invigilated, marked, and quality assured. They bring a wealth of expertise from the classroom and play a crucial role in ensuring that learners' hard work is recognised.

Fiona Robertson, SQA Chief Executive, and Scotland’s Chief Examining Officer

In recognition of the ongoing impact of disruption to teaching and learning that young people across Scotland have experienced due to the global pandemic, the modifications to assessments have continued this year. These included removing elements of coursework or exams to help free up more time for learning and teaching of the course content.

In addition, an exceptional circumstances service will be in place for those who are unable to sit an exam or whose performance is affected by personal circumstances. Once all the exams have been marked, our approach to setting standards and grading will continue to be sensitive to the extent of the ongoing impact of the pandemic.

A free and direct appeals service, which will give all learners the right to request a review of their marked exam papers, will also be available after results are published in August.

The SQA website has a wide range of support for learners, including a ‘Your Exams’ Guide that gives learners helpful hints and tips for preparing for exams. This booklet is also available from schools, colleges and training providers.

Learners can access revision tips and past papers and download SQA’s MyStudyPlan app to help them plan their revision time.

As learners prepare to sit their National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher exams, I would like to commend them for their dedication and resilience during what has been another challenging year. I would also like to express my thanks to the parents and carers, teachers, lecturers and other education staff who have supported our young people in preparing for their exams.

For some, this may be their first time sitting formal exams and this can be quite daunting, however, it is an opportunity to demonstrate their hard work, knowledge, determination and skills that they have been building on over the years.

To everyone sitting their exams in the coming weeks, I wish you the best of luck and every success.

Jenny Gilruth, Education Secretary

All candidates will receive their results by post on Tuesday 8 August, but there is still time for them to register for a MySQA account to receive results by text and/or email on Results Day. Learners should log onto www.mysqa.org.uk and register for the service with their unique Scottish Candidate Number by 5pm on Wednesday 19 July.