Ofqual warns students against searching for leaked papers as GCSEs and A levels start

Students are being warned not to take their phones into exam halls and to avoid searching for leaked papers on social media as GCSEs and A levels get underway.

The number of students being caught with a mobile phone during exams is steadly rising say exam chiefs - with 2,180 instances last year compared to just over 1,800 in 2022.

GCSE and A level exams begin in May. Image: iStock.
GCSE and A level exams begin in May. Image: iStock.

Pupils taking exams this summer, says exam regulator Ofqual must comply with all malpractice rules or they risk having their test grades scrapped.

Taking a mobile phone into an exam can lead to automatic disqualification, confirms the warning, with both schools and students being advised to establish safe places to leave devices.

Students are being urged to not search for leaked papers online. Image: iStock.
Students are being urged to not search for leaked papers online. Image: iStock.

Candidates are also being urged not to be tempted to search for exam papers on social media, which can lead to strict sanctions for those caught - even if the papers ultimately turn out to be fake.

Accounts offering to sell current papers ‘almost always’ turn out to be a scam, says the regulator.

Students could have grades scrapped if they’re caught cheating. Image: iStock.
Students could have grades scrapped if they’re caught cheating. Image: iStock.

Sir Ian Bauckham CBE, Chief Regulator at Ofqual, said: “Students have been working hard to prepare for their exams, and nobody wants them to miss out on their grades and qualifications.

“It’s important that the rules are followed so that grades reflect what a student knows, understands and can do.

“Students risk losing the qualification they’ve been studying for if they search for or communicate with social media accounts claiming to sell leaked exam papers. Sanctions can still apply even if the papers turn out to be fake. Buying papers is never worth the risk.”

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