Don't know where to start with taking exams from home education? Start here! First of all there is a list of simple steps. We also have personal experiences of how other home educators got started. Our Jargon Buster will help with unfamiliar terms.
How to get started Edit
- Make a realistic plan. You don't need to take as many subjects as school pupils do, and trying to do 5+ subjects in a year would be very challenging for most home educators. You cannot usually just carry on with GCSE courses started in school, as you need to find exam syllabuses which can be taken by private candidates. Look at local colleges, see how many GCSEs you need to move forwards, and work back from there. Often you only need 6 at grade C / 4 and higher, including English and maths, to do A-levels, or 4 to do Btecs. You don't have to complete GCSE-level exams at age 16; you can take longer if you need to. More on the FAQ. You don't have to do GCSEs; there are some Alternative Qualifications which may appeal. You can also consider College at 14+.
- Decide which subject you want to do first, and look at the page for that subject on this wiki. The subject page will tell you which specifications/ syllabuses are available to home educators, and lists textbooks and other resources. We have a list of Subjects covered by this wiki. Your choice of syllabuses will be limited by which boards nearby exam centres cover.
- Find an exam centre, so you know what exam boards they can offer. See if there are any near you recommended by home educators on our Finding an exam centre page. Even if they are listed as taking external candidates, email them just to check they still do.
- Decide how you want to study for the qualification. Distance learning courses, or studying independently from textbooks and online resources, or using tutors? For information on these, and general questions about taking qualifications from home education, see our Frequently Asked Questions page for lots of info, including taking GCSEs at college at 14+, choosing an exam board, questions about regulations, etc.
- When you're ready to make entries, see 'Making entries and sitting exams' for what you need to tell the exam centre. You deal with the exam centre, not the exam board. The exam boards won't take entries direct.
- The homepage of this wiki takes you through all the commonly requested options - how you make entries, how to prepare for exams, what happens after age 16, case studies of home-ed students and their paths to uni or work, etc. Scroll down the page and see what there is.
- Join the HE Exams community! We have a Facebook group and the HE Exams Yahoogroup (email group), where experienced home educators will try to help.
Advice to newcomers from other home educators Edit
Simple Guide to GCSEs by Sally S - a home-educating mother explains how her family did it.
Please do add your own experiences here or in the comments box below. It's easiest if you set up a Wikia account to edit - it only takes a moment and is really easy.