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For some A level and GCSE subjects, non-exam assessments (NEAs) are included. NEA may refer to coursework or an endorsement and includes:

  • Coursework
  • Practical science endorsements
  • Spoken language endorsements

For example, if you’re studying A level English or A level History, in order to achieve the qualification you’ll need to complete NEA coursework as well as sitting the written papers.

Subjects which include a practical or spoken language endorsement are reported separately on certificates and don’t contribute to the A level or GCSE grade.

If your chosen course includes an NEA element, call us free on 0800 389 2839 and we’ll be happy to share our expertise to help you make the right choice. You can also view or download a free copy of our PDF guides for more details.

How NEC partnership exam centres help with NEAs

When you enrol with an exam centre for subjects requiring non-exam assessments, the exam centre will be responsible for all aspects of the NEA. This includes supervision, authentication, marking and following all administration requirements specified by the awarding bodies.

By enrolling with NEC you are safe in the knowledge that as an approved centre we can offer a complete service to students. We are able to deal with all aspects of NEA subjects from supervision and authentication through to examination. Authentication will require students to complete at least four NEC assignments. The deadlines for completion of these and other elements of the NEA will be available on learn@nec when you start studying.

We are also able to offer practical and spoken language endorsements through a number of our partnership exam centres for our students.

Where an endorsement is attached to your A level or GCSE, exam centres can only accept your entry if they are willing to provide you with the opportunity to complete the endorsement. So if you are planning to find your own exam centre privately, you may find that centres willing to accept you are harder to locate.

NEC guide to A level English non-exam assessments

If you’re taking A level English Language or English Literature you’ll need to complete an NEA as well as taking your exams (there is no NEA for the AS). Your course materials and personal tutor will help you prepare for the NEA. The NEA makes up 20% of the overall A level marks and you must complete it in the same year as you sit your exams.

The NEA for A level English Language is ‘Language in action’ and consists of an investigation, original writing and a commentary.

The NEA for English Literature is ‘Independent critical study: texts across time’, and consists of one extended essay and a bibliography.

Download the full NEC guide to A level English non-exam assessment here.

If you choose to find your own exam centre, you may find this difficult, as the entering centre will have the responsibility for supervising, authenticating and marking the NEA, and will also need to follow all requirements specified by the awarding organisation.

With NEC’s partnership exam centres, you won’t have this issue as we are able to deal with everything from supervision to examination.

NEC guide to A level History non-exam assessments

If you’re taking A level History you’ll need to complete an NEA as well as taking your exams (there is no NEA for the AS). Your course materials and personal tutor will help you prepare for the NEA. The NEA makes up 20% of the overall A level marks and you must complete it in the same year as you sit your exams.

Download the full NEC guide to A level History non-exam assessment here.

If you choose to find your own exam centre, you may find this difficult, as the entering centre will have the responsibility for supervising, authenticating and marking the NEA, and will also need to follow all requirements specified by the awarding body.

With NEC’s partnership exam centres, you won’t have this issue as we are able to deal with everything from supervision to examination.

NEC guide to A level Science practical skills endorsements

If you’re taking A level Biology, Physics or Chemistry, your exam centre must give you the opportunity to do the practical endorsement, which involves 12 practicals in total (usually taken as three sessions of four practicals. This is reported separately on your certificate, and doesn’t affect your A level grade. You can still pass the A level even if you don’t pass the endorsement.

Download the full NEC guide to A level Science practical endorsement here.

Some of NEC’s partnership exam centres can accept entries for the practical endorsements. You don’t have to sit your written exams at the same centre as you do your practicals – just talk to us when making your application and we’ll make the necessary arrangements.

NEC guide to GCSE English spoken language endorsements

Entries for GSCE English Language automatically include the endorsement, and all examination centres accepting entries for GCSE English Language have to give you the opportunity to do the endorsement. You can choose not to do it – it won’t affect your overall GCSE grade.

Getting your endorsement involves preparing a spoken presentation on a specific topic, taking around 10 minutes to deliver. You’ll be videoed making your presentation.

Download the full NEC guide to GCSE English spoken language endorsement here.

Whilst getting the endorsement isn’t compulsory in order to pass your GCSE, we’d always recommend that you do it, as it could be a requirement for applications you make in the future. If you sit your GCSE English Language without it and then discover you need it later, you’d have to retake the whole GCSE – it can’t be added on afterwards.

Several of NEC’s partnership exam centres offer you the opportunity to do your endorsement there, the guide specifies which  – and it’s important to be aware that you must do your endorsement at the same centre where you take your written exams.

Oral exams for modern foreign languages

GSCE and A level courses in modern foreign languages include oral exams as part of the exam assessments.

If your course includes an oral exam we can guarantee you a place at a number of our partnership exam centres.

If you are thinking about using a private exam centre remember to check that they can deal with all aspects of the assessment, including orals, as your exam entry can’t be split across two centres.

Additional information

Pearson Edexcel provides some useful advice for private candidates taking subjects with an NEA element. Visit the Pearson Edexcel website to find out more.