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Exam Centres – Your Choice

People learn in different ways – some self-study, some engage a tutor and some use Distance Learning Providers (online courses, etc).

Just as it is your choice to use any Distance Leaning Provider you wish, so it also goes for using an exam centre of your choice.

While there are some fantastic Distance Learning Providers who know that private candidates are free to use their regional/local exam centre (should one exist), some providers are disadvantaging learners.

Post-Covid, some unofficial exam and tutoring relationships have been established which remove the choice and control from learners and their families. Read on to find out how you can ‘see through the hard sell’.

Keep Control

In the ‘examisphere’, it’s easy to be misled by those who shout the loudest. Always remember that you have absolute control over where you sit your exam. No learning provider or tutor can force you to take your exams with a centre that is inconvenient to you. Keep control and take advice. 

Convenience Shouldn’t Cost

Some exam and learning provider services have started to ask you to pay to be introduced to ‘their approved’ exam centres and ‘approved tutors’. Only exam boards can approve exam centres, so don’t fall for the spin! In addition, awarding bodies do not ‘approve tutors’, so such terminology doesn’t guarantee quality. Some providers ask you to pay a fee, so they can palm you off with one of their ‘associate’ exam centres (where there’s a financial relationship). The JCQ website has a full list of private exam centres close to you, which you can search for free.

Don’t Be Threatened

Some providers threaten learners with reduced services if they do not use their exam centre. For example, they will refuse to give learners’ marked grades for NEA or coursework assignments to exam centres that they claim are not in their ‘club’. This is a nonsense! If you have enrolled with a Distance Learning Provider or tutor, you have paid for learning content, including marked assessments to indicate your progression. You are entitled to access your assessments and have them submitted to any exam centre that will accept them. If you’re preventerd from doing this, make a complaint. 

Read The Small Print

When signing up to a Distance Learning Provider, make sure you read their terms and conditions before handing over any money. You need to keep your exam centre options open, so you can use their regional centres if they will accept you.

Don’t Get Caught Out

Many private exam candidates have been caught out, having been promised learning and exam centre services in one package. Unfortunately, they later find out that the exam centre is miles away from where they live and what seemed like a cheap option, suddenly becomes expensive when factoring in hotel costs, train fares, etc. Many subjects have three exams on separate day (perhaps weeks apart), so one expensive trip becomes three or even more.

Stand Firm

Tell your Distance Learning Provider that you wish to retain control and the freedom to choose your own exam centre. If they have a problem with this, look for another Distance Learning Provider. Don’t accept spin, lies, poor service or misinformation. 



An exam centre can’t approve a learning provider or tutor and a tutor or learning provider can’t approve an exam centre. Any provider using the term ‘approved’ usually means an unofficial (but financially motivated) deal has been struck between two providers (a relationship which may not be in a learner’s best interests). Do not be forced to ‘lock in’ to an inconvenient service.

Private Exams North East is an independent exam centre willing to work with any Distance Learning Provider, tutor or private candidate.

Private Exams North East

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