AQA apologises over GCSE physics advance info error

England's largest exam board will award full marks to all pupils for question about circuits in higher tier paper

England's largest exam board will award full marks to all pupils for question about circuits in higher tier paper

The exam board AQA has apologised after a GCSE physics paper included a question on a topic that had been specifically ruled out in advance information provided to pupils.

All pupils who sat higher tier paper 1 last Thursday (June 9) will all be awarded the full nine marks available for all parts of a question on energy transfers and circuits, AQA has said.

The board admitted that its advance information for the paper, provided this year to aid pupils in the first formal exams since 2019, had specifically stated that circuits would not be assessed in the exam.

Pupils and parents tweeted their frustration over the “embarassing and unforgivable” mistake last week.

One user said they were “absolutely fuming … Why say two topics will not be assessed if you’re going to assess them on the paper!? I would have revised circuits with my y11 if that were the case! AQA have made me fail my classes. Despicable.”

Another, who said their daughter sat the paper, asked why the exam board would “do this to candidates confidence?”.

GCSE physics
What the advance info said

Another user said the cohort had “suffered enough disruption”.

“Provision of advanced information was welcome but has to be accurate! Why a 9 mark circuits and symbols question when advanced info specifically stated this area wouldn’t be examined? Embarrassing and unforgivable.”

In a statement issued on Friday, AQA said it was “really sorry and we’re looking at why our checks didn’t pick this up”. It was also doing “extra checks on the advance information and question papers for future exams”.

“Energy transfers were listed in the advance information as being assessed – but circuits were unfortunately listed as not being assessed.

“To make sure students aren’t disadvantaged, we’ll be awarding everyone full marks for all parts of the question, which were worth a total of 9 marks.”

It follows criticism of AQA just last week over a question in a GCSE geography paper which campaigners warned was “inaccessible” to colour-blind pupils.

More from this theme


Ministers mull scrapping Gove’s Russell Group school metric

It follows calls from a House of Lords committee to review destination measures

Samantha Booth

GCSEs: What ministers said in response to Lords’ reform calls

DfE rejects calls to scrap the EBacc and for wider reform, but sets out some of its thinking on...

Samantha Booth

Ex-education secretary to chair OCR curriculum and exams review

Exam board boss said they can 'create something better across education and assessment' in secondary schools

Samantha Booth

DfE brings in minimum teaching hours for GCSE English and maths resits

Teach maths resit students for at least 4 hours a week and English for 3 or face funding reduction,...

Billy Camden

EBacc to the past: DfE hits brakes on accountability shake-up

Leaders welcome pause on plans to 'incentivise' subject take-up

Freddie Whittaker

GCSE maths re-sit pass rate lower than pre-pandemic

But performance in English re-takes continues to rise

Freddie Whittaker

Your thoughts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


    • Cliff Webb

      It doesn’t work that way. If everyone doing that paper gets full 9 marks it essentially removes that question. Therefore the other marks that DO get checked become even more important, sadly. It polarises the paper and leaves less room for assessment of candidates. This is an unbelievable error. How many incompetent exam authors DIDN’T spot this before the exam went to the printers. Zero competency. It’s a disgrace.

  1. Louise Evans

    Aqa also messed up A level Physics papers 1 and 2. Whole question on electric field and capitance on paper 2 and multiple choice on it as well. All in all around 15 marks. Hardly low valve tariff. Nothing about this in the advanced information. These students have had enough of learning disrupted. To then have their university hopes dashed by this. Not fair at to students.

  2. Maddy jane

    The sciences have been set to high this years in A levels, chemistry way to hard. These children have also been effected with covid. I understant have to get back in track but not this term. Grade boundries need to be lowervso not waste of children who worked so hard.