Exams underway for learners across Scotland

Monday 22 April 2024

SQA exams begin on Monday for tens of thousands of young people across Scotland who will sit assessments for National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher courses.

The exam period begins on Monday 22 April and concludes on Thursday 30 May.

More than 131,000 candidates will sit exams, with learners undertaking question papers in subjects ranging from Maths and English to Sociology and Politics. For those candidates taking subjects such as Drama, Music, 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 several European countries. Special arrangements have been put in place to accommodate those 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 146,000 candidates are expected to get their results on Tuesday 6 August.

Following discussions with learners, teachers, lecturers, parents, carers and others, coursework has been reintroduced this year after being removed during the pandemic. SQA will consider any impact on learners completing coursework for the first time in its grading decisions. These considerations will be incorporated into SQA’s well-established grading processes.

“I would like to say good luck to everyone throughout Scotland who is about to sit exams or complete their assessments in the coming weeks. After months of hard work and study, thousands of young people are preparing to complete their qualifications and take the next step in their education, training, or employment.

“I also pay tribute to the professionalism of Scotland’s teachers and lecturers, and their commitment to learners across the country. Their work plays a vital role in enabling young people to reach their full potential.

“We very much value and rely on the expertise of the thousands of appointees, most of whom are practising teachers and lecturers, who collaborate with us throughout the year to ensure the exams and assessments are set, invigilated, marked, and quality assured. They play a crucial role in ensuring that learners' hard work and commitment is recognised.

“As coursework in subjects and exams in practical subjects have returned, I am confident that our package of support represents the fairest and best way to help learners to demonstrate their knowledge, understanding and skills for each course, while also maintaining the integrity, credibility and standard of their qualifications.”

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

An exceptional circumstances service will be in place for those learners who are unable to sit an exam or whose performance is affected by personal circumstances. Additionally, a free and direct appeals service, which will give all learners the right to request a review of their marked exam papers, will be available after results are published in August.

The SQA learner web page 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 we reach the opening of this year’s exams, I would like to wish all pupils and students the very best of luck with their qualifications – I know you have been working incredibly hard to get to this point today.

“I’d also like to take the opportunity to thank all the parents, carers, teachers, lecturers and support staff whose valuable support has helped each and every young person throughout this period.”

Jenny Gilruth, Education Secretary

All candidates will receive their results by post on Tuesday 6 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 17 July.