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Understanding the Advance Information for the Summer 2022 Examinations

After a two year hiatus, exams are back! Although normality is starting to return for most of society, exams are certainly not back to normal this summer. In order to try and help make GCSE and A-level revision more manageable in the light of lost teaching and learning time over the last few years, exam boards released advance information in February. This advance information is designed to give teachers and students an idea of what will and will not come up in assessments so students can streamline their revision and better prepare for their summer exams.

These changes were meant to simplify the revision process. But for many teachers and students, it has meant additional time has been spent trying to navigate what this advance information means, what needs to be revised and which topics – if any – are safe to leave out entirely. 

Revision is stressful enough without you having to circumnavigate it all. That’s why we’ve read through the advance information and summarised the changes for GCSE and A-level Sciences, Maths, and English. For AQA, we have also created handy PDFs for each subject with links to our resources on Physics & Maths Tutor to speed up your revision.

I can’t find advance information for my qualification, why is this?

Something important to note is that only JCQ-regulated exam boards released advance information. This doesn’t include CAIE. CAIE assessments are going ahead in the same way as they did pre-pandemic. Likewise, Edexcel are not publishing advance information for international A-levels (except Law). This is because all their IAL qualifications except Law are modular rather than linear, which means students have opportunities to sit IAL exams in January, May/June and October/November, whereas the advance information only applies to the summer exams. Therefore, they decided the fairest and most consistent approach for students is to run the summer series in the same way as the other series.

GCSE Science: Biology, Chemistry and Physics

For all GCSE Sciences, topics for most papers fall into two categories in the advance information documents:

  • Major focus of exam
  • Not assessed 

This means certain topics definitely won’t come up in the exams. However, the rest might

You may notice that some topics aren’t listed in either the major focus or not assessed list. You may still be assessed on these topics. Indeed, AQA says: “Topics not explicitly given in any list may appear in low tariff questions or via ‘linked’ questions. Linked questions are those that bring together knowledge, skills and understanding from across the specification”. Although these may seem like only a mark here and there, these will add up and could push you over a grade boundary. Especially if you’re aiming for top grades, we recommend that you don’t just revise topics that are the main focus of the exam, but also topics that may come up in the exam.  

Physics equations sheets 

In addition to providing information about the focus of the summer exams, the exam boards decided to give all physics students equation sheets to use in their exams. While they will be provided in the exam, knowledge of what’s in the formula booklets will help you avoid wasting time in your exams so you should print them off and use them during your revision. You can access these sheets in advance here:

Combined ScienceTriple Science
AQAAQA
OCR (A)OCR (A)
OCR (B)OCR (B)
Edexcel GCSEEdexcel GCSE
Edexcel IGCSEEdexcel IGCSE

AQA and Edexcel IGCSE Revision Resources

We’ve prepared a document like the one below for AQA and Edexcel IGCSE sciences with topics colour coded according to the advance information and included links to our revision resources to help your revision.

You can find links to all the documents in this table:

BiologyChemistryPhysicsCombined Science
AQA (Higher)AQA (Higher)AQA (Higher)AQA (Higher)
Edexcel IGCSEEdexcel IGCSEEdexcel IGCSEEdexcel IGCSE
Edexcel IGCSE (R)Edexcel IGCSE (R)Edexcel IGCSE (R)Edexcel IGCSE (R)

Advance Information Documents

You can find the official advance information documents for each exam board below:

BiologyChemistryPhysicsCombined Science
AQAAQAAQAAQA
OCR (A)OCR (A)OCR (A)OCR (A)
OCR (B)OCR (B)OCR (B).OCR (B)
Edexcel GCSEEdexcel GCSEEdexcel GCSEEdexcel GCSE
Edexcel IGCSE (zip)Edexcel IGCSE (zip)Edexcel IGCSE (zip)Edexcel IGCSE (zip)

What if I want to do a science A-level?

Despite the advance information, exam boards are still advising schools to teach the whole syllabus, regardless of what may be assessed in the exams. For example, Edexcel says

It is advised that teaching and learning should still cover the entire subject content in the specification, so that students are as well prepared as possible for progression to the next stage of their education.

And, to paraphrase Edexcel, if you are considering taking a Science subject at A-level it’s important that you learn the whole GCSE specification to lay solid foundations for your A-level study.

GCSE Maths

For all GCSE Maths boards except WJEC, advance information has been given about topics that will form the major focus of the summer exams. Unlike the GCSE Sciences, no topics have been excluded per se and may still be tested via low-tariff or synoptic questions. For example,

As everything on the syllabus could be assessed, we recommend you revise it all, even if you look in lesser detail at the topics that won’t form the main focus of the exams. Moreover, you won’t be disadvantaged in the exam by using information from the other topics not mentioned to help you answer questions. Edexcel says: “Students will be credited for using any relevant knowledge from any other topic areas when answering questions.”

WJEC is the only board where the duration of the exams have changed; in 2022 it will be examined via shorter papers that are worth fewer marks. Instead of stating the topics that will form the focus of the exam, WJEC have disclosed which topics will not be assessed (and therefore do not need to be revised for).

Formula Sheets

All GCSE Maths boards except WJEC and Edexcel IGCSE have released formulae sheets which will be given to students in the summer exams, allowing students to focus on demonstrating mathematical understanding without having to memorise formulae. It’s important you print it off and familiarise yourself with it ahead of your assessments so you aren’t wasting time in your exam figuring out what everything means.

You can access the formulae sheets below: 

Foundation TierHigher Tier
AQAAQA
Edexcel GCSEEdexcel GCSE
OCROCR
WJEC EduqasWJEC Eduqas

Advance Information Documents

You can find the official advance information documents for each exam board below:

GCSE English Language

For GCSE English Language, exam boards except WJEC and Eduqas* have released advance information about what type(s) of text will appear in the exam. To prepare optimally, students should research what the type of text is, the characteristics and read as many examples of them as possible so they are familiar with the style. As the questions are either the same or very similar each year, extracts found online can be used to create mock papers to develop essay writing skills. 

Below, we’ve outlined what a student could do with the advance information for AQA. This can be extended for other exam boards.

AQA 

Paper 1 remains unchanged but for Paper 2 AQA’s advanced information says:

  • Section A: Reading
    • Source A – 21st century autobiographical writing 
    • Source B – 19th century Essay
  • Section B: Writing
    • Question 5: Article

For Source A student may research autobiographical writing and come up with a website explaining “What Is Autobiography? Definition, Usage, and Literary Examples”. Then, they might search autobiographical writing extracts and find the Edexcel anthology which has extracts from autobiographies they can use to help practise – p 11 (20th century autobiography), p13 (21st century autobiography) p16 (21st century memoir), p30 (20th century autobiography), p41 (20th century autobiography).

For the 19th century essay lots can be found online. 

Spoken language assessment

The only other change to the assessment refers to qualifications that include a spoken language assessment – teachers will no longer need to submit audiovisual recordings of this assessment, and it can be assessed at any point in the course.

Advance information documents

WJEC Eduqas

WJEC Eduqas have not released information about the genre of the reading or writing tasks. The only change to WJEC Eduqas English Language GCSE is that the spoken language assessment will continue to be assessed but will not form part of students’ final grade. You can find the advance information document here.

WJEC 

For WJEC, the ‘responding and interacting’ and writing tasks in Units 1 and 2, respectively, have been removed. For the Unit 3 writing task, students can choose between responding to the argumentation or the writing task, and the paper duration has been shortened accordingly. You can find the advance information document here.

GCSE English Literature 

For GCSE English Literature no advance information has been given about the focus of the exams. Instead, options have been introduced meaning students will sit a reduced number of exam components. The changes have been summarised by board in the table below:

BoardChangesAdvance Information
AQA For Paper 1, students choose any two from poetry anthology, the 19th century novel and modern prose/ drama for Paper 1.Click here
OCR Students choose any two from poetry anthology, the 19th century novel and modern prose/ drama.Question papers split into four to reflect changes.Assessment objectives (AOs) weightings changed.Click here
Edexcel GCSEFor Paper 2, students choose either the 19th century novel or poetry.Click here
Edexcel IGCSEAnthology Poetry will not be assessed Unseen Poetry will be included in Paper 1Assessment objectives (AOs) weightings changed.Click here
WJEC EduqasFor Component 2, students choose any two from poetry anthology, unseen poetry and 19th century texts.Component 2 split into three papers to reflect the change.Click here
WJEC Students sit either Unit 1 or Unit 2.Click here

AS and A-level Science – Biology, Chemistry and Physics 

The advance information for A-level Sciences lists the major focuses of the exams. The topics are listed in rank order; the topics carrying the higher number of marks feature at the top of the list. Any content not listed in the advance information may be assessed by multiple-choice questions or via linked or low-tariff written questions. Knowledge of practical and maths skills will continue to be assessed, and practicals that will be a major focus of the exam are listed in the advance information. 

Should I revise topics not listed in the advance information?

If you’re aiming for top marks then definitely don’t ignore that little sentence in the advance information which says something like this: “Topics not included on the list below may still appear in multiple-choice items, questions with a low tariff, or via synopticity” (AQA). It doesn’t sound like a lot of marks. However, we’ve done some maths below so you can see how these little marks add up.

Moreover, there’s a superb article from Dr Gaz – a professional Physicist and Physics teacher – called “Why non-listed topics just became more important in A-level exams”. You can read it here.

AQA 

BiologyChemistryPhysics 
25/260 marks are synoptic or 9.7% of total marks across all papers50/300 marks are synoptic or multiple choice, i.e. 16.7%50/250 marks are multiple choice which amounts to 20% of marks across all papers. This doesn’t include low tariff or synoptic questions meaning the percentage of marks you could gain from topics not on the advanced information may be more than 20%.

Edexcel

For Edexcel, Papers 1 and 2 have multiple choice questions and Paper 3 has synoptic questions. Unlike other exam boards there isn’t a predetermined percentage for either type of question which has to appear in each paper so we can’t be specific. However, we think going into an exam knowing there will be questions you can’t answer at all because you haven’t revised that topic is silly. 

OCR

For example, for A-level OCR Sciences, 30/270 marks are multiple choice which amounts to 11% of marks across all papers. This doesn’t include low tariff questions, meaning the percentage of marks you could gain from topics not included in the advanced information may be more than 11%.

Revision Resources

We’ve also prepared a document for AQA and OCR (A) Sciences with topics colour coded according to their status and included links to all topics that will or may be assessed, so that you can quickly access revision resources for these topics.

AQA

OCR (A)

Advance Information Documents

You can find the official advance information documents for each board below.

AS-level

BiologyChemistryPhysics
AQAAQAAQA
OCR (A)OCR (A)OCR (A)
OCR (B)OCR (B)OCR (B)
Edexcel (A)EdexcelEdexcel
Edexcel (B)N/AN/A
WJEC EduqasWJEC EduqasWJEC Eduqas 

A-level

BiologyChemistryPhysics 
AQAAQAAQA
OCR (A)OCR (A)OCR (A)
OCR (B)OCR (B)OCR (B)
Edexcel (A)EdexcelEdexcel
Edexcel (B)N/AN/A
WJEC EduqasWJEC EduqasWJEC Eduqas

AS and A-level Maths and Further Maths

The advance information for AS and A-level Maths exam boards list the topics which will form the major focus of the summer exams. Unlike A-level Sciences, the topics given in the A-level Maths advance information are not ranked according to how many marks they will carry. 

Edexcel has published questions by topic based on what’s included in the advance information.

Topics not listed can be assessed via low-tariff or synoptic questions. As Maths is so interconnected it’s important to revise the entire specification. For Edexcel Applied, the listed topics are not specific; they cover all the topics within the specification. For Pure, the topics given are either very general or they’re specific but it’s not possible to cover these in isolation. Here are some examples:

  • ‘Trigonometric identities and equations’ is almost all of the trigonometry topic
  • ‘Methods of integration’ can refer to anything from the integration topic
  • ‘Differentiation of curves defined parametrically’ wouldn’t make sense without a good grasp of fundamentals of differentiation
  • ‘Integration as a limit’ requires understanding of integration

There are topics that are not explicitly listed on the advance information that are basic and can be within any question. For example, even if there aren’t any questions solely on ‘surds’ or ‘law of indices’, answering many other maths questions without being confident in those would be difficult. Therefore, it’s particularly important to revise the whole of the syllabus content. Moreover, the exam boards have also stressed the need to “cover all specification content in teaching and learning”

Unlike the other exam boards, WJEC discloses what won’t be assessed, rather than what will be the main focus of the exam. Also, Edexcel IAL didn’t release any advance information.

Advance Information Documents

AS-levelA-level
AQAAQA
AQA FurtherAQA Further
OCR (A)OCR (A)
OCR (A) FurtherOCR (A) Further
OCR (MEI)OCR (MEI)
OCR (MEI) FurtherOCR (MEI) Further
EdexcelEdexcel
Edexcel FurtherEdexcel Further
WJECWJEC
WJEC FurtherWJEC Further

AS and A-level English Literature 

All AS and A-level English Literature boards (except Edexcel IAL) have provided advance information about the range of material assessed in the summer exams. Depending on the genre of the text, they may have specified which chapter in a book, lines within a poetry passage, poems within an anthology or which themes in an unseen poetry assessment a question will focus on. For most boards this only applies to one paper, while for WJEC it applies to multiple papers. 

As with other A-level subjects, the exam boards have stressed that all content should be taught and revised. You can’t give an informed and in depth analysis of a text if you’ve only bothered to read one chapter of the text, or you haven’t bothered reading an entire poem! It’s important to have a holistic understanding of a text or set of texts if you’re aiming for a high grade – you need to be familiar with a whole book to fully understand the characters’ speech or actions within a particular chapter, or the range of manifestations of love in an poetry anthology that focuses on that theme.

Advance Information Documents

AS-levelA-level
AQAAQA
OCROCR
EdexcelEdexcel
WJEC EduqasWJEC Eduqas
WJEC WalesWJEC Wales

PMT Education is a non-profit education platform for students and teachers. We create free tools and resources to help GCSE and A-Level students pass their exams and navigate their path through education.

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Hello, under aqa for a level there are ocr revision resources, it would be great if they were ocr.

    Thanks for making these
    Raaga 🙂

  2. Hi, the AQA Triple Science advanced information for Chemistry does not load when I click it – it only shows the Biology one. Do you have one for Chem? Thanks 🙂

  3. I am not sure if this was a mistake or type but period 3 is not on the advance info for chem aqa so I do not know why you have highlighted it as a major topic?

  4. Good afternoon, under GCSE AQA (Higher) Chemistry revision resources is document for GCSE AQA (Higher) Biology resources. Could you please add the document for GCSE AQA Higher tier Chemistry? (the document which shows the topics which will definitely be assessed, may be assessed, will not be assessed). Thank you for making such a great website.

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