British Council's Recommendation:

Q. What is the British Council position on the assessed grade option for private candidates?

Our guidance for private candidates is:

  • If you are entered for IGCSE, or O level examinations, you should defer to November 2020
  • If you are entered for AS level examinations, you should defer to November 2020
  • If you are entered for A2, or the full A level, we are asking you to wait for a further update.

Assessed Grades

Q. What approach is Cambridge International following?

Following its decision not to hold June 2020 examinations worldwide due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Cambridge has adopted a very similar approach to Ofqual’s ‘assessed grade’ process, as have other Awarding Bodies.

Q. What is Cambridge International’s approach to awarding assessed grades?

Please see visit the Cambridge website on how assessed grades will be awarded

Q. Why can’t the British Council follow Cambridge’s approach?

The British Council can’t follow Cambridge’s approach because unfortunately we’re not in a position to provide predicted grades or rankings for IGCSE, O level and AS level candidates. This is because we do not deliver direct teaching to private candidates. Our relationship with private candidates is to facilitate access to Cambridge exams and to administer them in a secure environment, meeting all Cambridge International's regulatory and exam administration standards.

Q. Why can’t the British Council give me a predicted grade and a ranking?

The British Council can’t follow Cambridge’s approach because we don’t teach students, and therefore we can’t provide predicted grades, or rank students based on their academic attainment. 

Cambridge’s process requires that “Subject teachers should determine a predicted grade for each candidate in each syllabus based on the evidence they have gathered on candidates’ performance, weighing up what these different sources of evidence tell them about each candidate’s performance.”

To determine rankings, Cambridge’s process requires that centres “should now consider the group of candidates entered for a syllabus for whom you have predicted the same grade. Your centre should place these candidates in a rank order. A rank order is a list of candidates in order of their attainment, from the highest-attaining to the lowest-attaining. Do this separately for every grade at which you have predicted candidates will achieve, and for each syllabus in which you have entered candidates.”

Unfortunately, The British Council doesn’t have subject teachers who can determine predicted grades, or place candidates in a rank order and therefore we’re unable to follow Cambridge’s approach.

Q. I’m an A Level candidate, can you follow Cambridge’s process to help me?

We are still in consultation with Cambridge to help find a solution for students entered for A2, or the full A Level, but unfortunately, we can’t yet confirm this update. We apologise for the further delay and thank you for your continued patience. We will be in touch with you very soon.

Managing Entries

Q. What do I need to do to manage my entry?

Private candidates entered for IGCSE, O Level, and AS Level examinations will be automatically withdrawn by the British Council and their entries deferred to the November 2020 series. We will contact you nearer to the registration deadline for November 2020 to inform you of the process to followed to be entered for the series.

Q. If I defer my entry to November 2020 will I need to pay an extra fee?

There is no fee increase for students deferring their entry to November 2020. The fee will remain the same as the June 2020 fee.

Q. I don’t want my entry deferred to November 2020, can I withdraw my entry and get a refund instead?

Yes, you can ask us to withdraw your entry and receive a full refund instead. The process for this will be shared shortly.

All our latest updates are also included in the FAQs posted our website.

Q. What happens if a subject I want to take is not available in November 2020?

If any subjects are not available in November 2020 then we recommend that students defer their entry to the next series when the subject is available.

Q. What happens if I defer to a future exams series and it gets cancelled again?

This is a difficult time for everyone with many uncertainties. We cannot predict with full confidence what will happen in the months ahead.

Q. Why is this advice so close to the deadline for making my decision?

We have needed this time to fully consult with Cambridge, and also monitor the ongoing developments at the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual), to fully understand how the grading process could work for private candidates entered via the British Council. We apologise for the time it has taken to provide clear advice to you.


Q. Where can I find the latest updates from Cambridge International?

The latest Cambridge updates can be found here:

Q. Is the British Council different to a school?

Some British Council centres are involved in teacher-training but unlike schools, we don’t deliver direct subject specialist teaching to candidates.

Q. I would like to discuss this further with you, who should I contact?

Please contact the British Council centre where you made your entry. We’ll do everything we can to help you.