We offer equivalency exams if you don’t have the required GCSE grade to apply for our courses.

 We have equivalency tests for:

  • Maths
  • English
  • Science

If you successfully complete these tests they can be used to meet our GCSE entry requirements when submitting an application.

How do you take the exams?

Maths and Science exams will be held online, whereas the English exams will be held on the St Johns Campus.

What do I need to be able to access the tests?

In order to be able to take these tests you will need to ensure you have access to;

  • Computer
  • Web browser – Google Chrome or Firefox
  • Microphone
  • Webcam
  • Camera or scanner (English only)
  • PDF reader  (Science only)
  • Calculator – (Maths and Science - if on a device such as a phone you will need to use a preloaded App and disable internet access for the duration of the test)

 The dates of each of the tests are given below.



  • Wednesday 23rd September 2020 –  04:00pm – 06:00pm 

  • Wednesday 7th October 2020 – 04:00pm – 06:00pm 


  • Tuesday 8th September 10:00am – 12:00pm 
  • Wednesday 16th September – 10:00am – 12:00pm
  • Monday 28th September – 10:00am – 12:00pm
  • Wednesday 28th October – 10:00am – 12:00pm
  • Wednesday 11th November – 10:00am – 12:00pm
  • Monday 23rd November – 10:00am – 12:00pm



  • Thursday 3rd Sept – 10:00am – 12:00pm
  • Thursday 17th September – 10:00am – 12:00pm
  • Thursday 8th October – 10:00am – 12:00pm




Practice papers are available and prior to the test, candidates will be sent the link to the practice materials.

The test is in two parts:

  • Part 1 – a 20 minute numerical reasoning test. No calculator allowed.
  • Part 2 – a 1 hour test similar in style and content to GCSE papers. A calculator may be used.

Each test is completed online and submitted electronically within an allotted time period. 

You will be invigilated remotely throughout this test.

English Language

The English equivalency exam consists of two sections.

Section A: Reading (1 hour)

On the day of the test, candidates will receive a 1 page extract from a novel along with section A questions 1 and 2 at 11.55. You will have 30 minutes to read and annotate the extract and note down answers to questions 1 and 2. You will be asked your answers to questions 1 and 2 during the interview and they will count towards your final mark.

Collaborate interviews will take place from 12.30 onwards. Your link to the Collaborate session and your allocated time, will be in the email with the novel extract. Please make sure you access the link via Chrome or Firefox. You should also have access to sound on your device. Each candidate will be given a 30 minute one to one slot.

Once your session goes live, you will need to have the extract and answers to questions 1 and 2 to hand. An English subject tutor will conduct the interview which will consist of a series of questions testing your comprehension and inference skills.

Section B:Writing (1 hour)

At 14.55 all candidates will be emailed a choice of writing tasks. Candidates will have 1 hour to choose, plan, write and edit task. This needs to be handwritten.Invigilation will take place live over Collaborate.

At the end of the written test, candidates should scan or photograph their written task and email these details to an address that will be confirmed to you. The deadline for receiving your written task is 16.15.


More information about the science tests and examples of past questions can be found in pdf form at the document link Notes for Science Test candidates. 

Candidates should ensure that they have suitable PDF reader software installed on their computer before the date of the test. Acrobat Reader (available free for all systems) and Preview (installed on IOS devices) are the most popular options to use, but other PDF readers should be fine. ­You can check the suitability of your PDF reader by downloading the sample editable paper and using this to practice entering text and placing ticks in the boxes to indicate your choice of answers.

The tests are ideal for EU or international applicants whose school qualifications are not of an equivalent level to GCSE. Please check that the course you wish to apply for with us accepts these equivalency tests before booking.

The exams are not GCSEs

These tests are not subject to national validation in the same way as GCSEs so they may not be acceptable outside of the University of Worcester. If you pass the tests you are not entitled to claim you have a GCSE in these subjects.

Booking process

The University does not provide tuition or exam guidance, this is the candidate’s responsibility. We recommend that you revise sufficiently before sitting the test, especially if you have not attempted GCSE style questions for a while.

Practice test papers are provided below but if you need further practice GCSE exam papers can be downloaded from the internet (e.g. BBC Bitesize website, www.corbettmaths.com). We also recommend you purchase of a suitable GCSE revision guide (e.g. the Letts Study Guide) and that you look for tuition where necessary. Please allow a minimum of 2 weeks for the test to be marked and for the results to be announced. This can take longer for July / August tests due to availability of tutors.

  • Each test costs £30 (non-refundable)
  • You will only be permitted to take an equivalency exam if you have applied for a course at the University of Worcester
  • Each test is at an intermediate difficulty and features some questions from both higher and lower papers.
  • Please note that candidates are allowed a maximum of 2 attempts at each test. If you are unsuccessful after 2 attempts candidates are advised to enrol on a GCSE course.
  • Please ensure you book early (and no later than 4 working days before the test date) as places are limited per exam session.

1)    Check that the course you wish to apply for with us accepts these equivalency tests before booking

2)    Apply for a course at the University of Worcester

Please note you are not permitted to take our equivalency exams if you have not applied for a course at the University of Worcester

3)    Complete the online booking and payment form

Sample papers and preparation

English sample question paper

English sample extract

Maths sample paper (part 1)

Maths sample paper (part 2)

Maths test preparation

Science test preparation