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3 Steps To Gaining Your GCSE Equivalency Qualification

If you need more try eqsupport@astarteachers.com (preferable include a contact number in case it is necessary to speak to you) 

If you have many questions, complex issues or don’t know where to start then attend an information sessions and get face to face assistance!

Step 1: Where Do I Begin The Process?

The Requirements You Need To Meet Before You Can Be Accepted For A Training Programme?

Always check with your teacher training provider for their specific requirements and deadlines. Generally the following are required before the course commences and those with “conditional acceptance” on a course should check the dates by which the requirements need to be met.

  • You’ll need to hold an undergraduate degree awarded by a UK higher education provider, or a recognised equivalent qualification.
  • You’ll need to have achieved a standard equivalent to grade C or above in the GCSE examinations in English and mathematics (or grade B or above if you're applying in Wales).
  • If you intend to train to teach pupils aged 3-11 (early years /primary), you must also have achieved a standard equivalent to a grade C or above in a GCSE science subject exam.
  • In England, you’ll also need to have passed the professional skills tests. Practice tests are available on the Department for Education Professional Skills Test website

If you haven’t achieved the required GCSEs, there an option of passing a GCSE Equivalency Exam.

If you studied outside the UK, check the National Academic Recognition Information Centre (NARIC) website (link is external) to find out whether your qualifications are of an equivalent level to UK GCSEs, A levels and an undergraduate degree.

What Are Equivalency Exams?

GCSE Equivalency Exams are intended for students who cannot evidence they have achieved a standard equivalent to grade C or above in the GCSE examinations. The equivalency exam result is used as an alternative to completing a GCSE for the purpose of meeting the entry requirements of teacher training programmes. It is not a GCSE. 

Will A Star Teachers Equivalency Exams Be Accepted By My Training Provider?

A* Star Equivalencies have been leaders in administering equivalency exams for over a decade and our certificates are accepted by most teacher training providers. However, as there are hundreds of existing providers, new providers and policies can be subject to change we advise candidates to always check with their proposed provider.

If there appears to be any issues with your training provider please email test@astarteachers.com as we can generally assist.

Why Does A* Star Equivalency Lead In The Provision And Delivery Of Equivalency Exams?

Value for Money

  • Our charges are lower than our major competitors
  • All the home study materials for our exams can be readily purchased online and are inexpensive.
  • High quality, professionally written, exam board GCSE exams which are well supported, professionally administered.
  • Exams are professionally assessed and results are returned promptly, generally within one or two weeks.
  • We offer our examinees a range of options that provide flexibility on the day, time and location of exams
  • We also offer a broad range of training options to support examinees.

Widely Accepted (*)

  • We have assisted thousands of aspiring teachers achieve course prerequisites for over a decade  
  • We have an excellent reputation as a successful, well established, major provider of equivalencies to teacher training providers
  • Our equivalencies are accepted by most teacher training providers.

Our expertise

  • Our equivalency team is made up of former teachers, headteachers, university student registration staff and we know how to best assist you through this process
  • We only use experienced successful professionals to support you including professional markers and exam invigilators receive JCQ training.
  • All examinees are ID checked by staff with Safer Recruitment Training/compliance training. Scanned copies are kept secure for auditing purposes for up to 12 months.

Security and Accountability

  • Banks of exams in each subject are regularly rotated to ensure examinees sit fresh exams
  • Completed exams, marking schemes, profiles of markers, copies of examinees photo ID and evidence of dyslexia (where relevant) are kept secure for 12 months for the purpose of auditing the process before shredding
  • Anti-fraud certificates include a Unique Identification Code linking the certificate to named examinee’s results.

(*) Note since there now so many providers and policies are subject to change we ask examinees to first check with their chosen training provider before booking. If any issues arise please pass your details and the provider’s details to eqsupport@astarteachers.com as we can generally assist.  

Exams charges paid for you

  • A* Star Equivalency has a sister company called A* Star Teachers. They supply staff into daily supply, short term, long term and permanent roles in nurseries, primary and secondary (though to A level) schools /colleges throughout London and the South East.
  • They are offering to pay/refund the exam costs for candidates that refer school staff looking for work and/or for referring schools /nurseries who are prepared to use staff with their offer of a FREE TRIAL!
  • If you are interested in taking advantage of this popular offer please email:  examrefund@astarteachers.com with your contact details. 

Information And Help Sessions

One hour information/help sessions carried out from 5.00pm-6.00 pm on Tuesdays in the Angel Office N1 0QH. Our Information and Help Sesisons are designed to provide clear guidance to those with issues surrounding pre requisites for teacher training courses.

Our facilitators have extensive experience working with Initial Teacher Training issues. In addition they are familiar with issues relating to pre requisites for teacher training courses including all aspects (and subjects) of equivalency and skills tests.

These sessions are ideal for teachers who have already looked these frequently asked questions (FAQ) and emailed for support test@astarteachers.com but require more assistance as they:

  • have many questions /issues 
  • have complex issues
  • need to gain a number pre requisites and need assistance with planning to save time and money 
  • they are generally confused about what to do and need to speak to somebody face to face and make a plan ​ 

Useful Links

Professional skills tests

http://sta.education.gov.uk/

UCAS Teaching training guide

https://www.ucas.com/ucas/teacher-training

DfE get into teaching

https://getintoteaching.education.gov.uk/plan-my-application

Step 2: How Do I Plan And Prepare For Exams?

Making A Plan

  • From step 1 you have confirmed specifically what you require and when you will require it and have confirmed your training provider accepts A* Star Equivalency Exams
  • Preferably focus on passing one test/exam at a time. Studying for more than one exam/test at a time can be counterproductive
  • Generally it is best to begin with the exam/skills test that you find most difficult. We often start with enthusiasm and succeeding in the subject you find most difficult will enable you to maintain your momentum. Also, if for any reason you fail to succeed in this exam/test and decide to pause or stop you will have minimised the time and money spent
  • How much time do I need to study for my test?  It depends on how much previous study you have done, your aptitude for the subject and most of all, how effectively you study; this will vary from individual to individual. The best advice is to look through the revision materials and assess how much time and how much support you think you need
  • When creating your timeline try to allow some time at the end in case things do not go quite according to plan
  • Make a weekly schedule for your study. Note: All revision materials are inexpensive and readily available online and from this website. (See step 4 subject by subject)
  • Beyond this there are a number of options you could choose from to assist your preparation for your test:
  1. Study with a friend, if you know anyone who is preparing for the same test
  2. Ask one of your friends/colleagues for some help. Do you know a teacher?
  3. Get private tuition using the course outline from this website
  4. Choose one of the recommended support options offered by A Star Teachers and outlined in Step 3 below

Preparing For The Examinations

  1. Now have a plan with a timeline, purchase the recommended revision materials online by copying the ISBN number and pasting it into your search browser. These materials are inexpensive and are essential to your preparation.
  2. Preparation for examinations
  3. Course options
    • Kick-start programme consisting of three consecutive two-hour sessions covering programme over three consecutive weeks.
    • Booster Class which is a 1x2 hour session designed to prepare candidates who have thoroughly studied the recommended revision material.
    • One to One classes 1x 2 hour “One to One ” personal revision classes
    • Professional Skills Test Coaching Classes 1x 2 hour “One to One ” personal revision classes 
  4. Examination options
    • Mock Examinations Students sit a standard scheduled 2 hour exam. The paper is marked as per standard exams. Exam provides practice and results are used to inform course of study
    • Scheduled Examinations Results are generally returned in one or two weeks. An official equivalency certificate with an anti –fraud Unique Identification Code will be sent to the address you used when you made the booking. The exam and certificate are accepted by most training providers, however it is the candidate’s responsibility to check with their provider.
    • You Choose When This option suits those who need greater flexibility in the date, day and time of their exam
    • You Choose Where This option suits those with a busy schedule, who can provide an appropriate assessment environment and need the exam to come to them
    • Fast Track with 24 -48 hour results This service is best suited for candidates who have tight deadlines and require a guarantee that results are back quickly

NB. A* Star Equivalency’s sister company A* Star Teachers that recruits staff to supply, short , long term and permanent roles from institutions from Nursery though to A levels in London and its surrounds. They will pay the costs of exams for referrals for school staff looking for work and/or schools or nurseries interested in using them for free trials.

Course Options

There is a range of course options designed to support your preparation:

  • Kick-start programme consisting of three consecutive two-hour sessions covering programme over three consecutive weeks. Parallel to this, your tutor will set a home study programme to complete your preparation.  Exam dates have been scheduled for the week following the completion of these courses.
  • Booster Class which is a 1 x 2 hour session designed to prepare candidates who have thoroughly studied the recommended revision material.

These courses are designed to deliver maximum impact and accelerate candidates with basic skills and experience through well -structured revision material. These courses are held just prior to each scheduled

  • One to One classes 1x 2 hour “One to One ” personal revision classes
  • Professional Skills Test Coaching Classes 1x 2 hour “One to One ” personal revision classes

How do these options benefit you?

  • Specialist coaching delivered by experienced successful trainers
  • Guidance regarding best strategies to successfully sit the exam
  • Support materials including workbooks with questions and answers and example exam questions with answers  

Examination options: There is a range of exam options designed to meet your needs:

  • Mock Exam Students sit a standard scheduled 2 hour exam. The paper is marked as per standard exams. Exam provides practice and results are used to inform study plan.
  • Scheduled Examinations – You benefit from
    • All home study materials for our exams are readily purchased online and inexpensive.
    • High quality, professionally written, exam board GCSE exams which are well supported and professionally invigilated.
    • Exams are professionally assessed and results are returned promptly, generally within one or two weeks.
    • We also offer a broad range of training options to support examinees.
    • Certificates have an anti-fraud Unique Identification Code linking the certificate to named examinee’s results and grade
    • We offer our examinees a range of optional extras that provide flexibility on the day, time,  location and turnaround time of results

All candidates must arrive by 5.30pm to the centre. Photo ID is required prior to entering the exam room.

Optional Extras:

YOU CHOOSE WHEN (Select scheduled exam and then check this as an optional extra)

This option suits candidates

  • who need greater flexibility in date, day and time of exam
  • wishing to use the “equivalency exam” as a prerequisite for gaining Qualified teachers Status with teacher training providers

You choose when to sit your exam?

  • Tick this option before selecting dates
  • Not currently available on weekends or evenings however candidates who need further assistance should email test@astarteachers.com
  • These exams are generally held at Angel venue N1 0QH see contact us page

YOU CHOOSE WHERE

  1. Before booking download, complete and email eqsupport@astarteachers.com
    1. Authorisation Form (signed by headteacher)
    2. Joint Council for Qualifications exam accommodation checklist (signed by Headteacher/ nursery manager or deputy head teacher or exams officer)
  2. Receive confirmation to go ahead by A* Star Equivalency’s reply to email 
  3. Book scheduled exam and this optional extra online

NB Discounts apply for multiple examinees at the same school eqsupport@astarteachers.com

This exam suits those who

  • have a busy schedule making attendance at scheduled exams difficult
  • have a tight deadline for results
  • need the greater control over the time and place of their exam
  • could save time and money by sitting the exam through school day
  • have the support of a school

You benefit from

  1. The exam
    • All home study materials for our exams are readily purchased online and inexpensive.
    • High quality, professionally written, exam board GCSE exams which are well supported and professionally invigilated.
    • Exams are professionally assessed and results are returned promptly, generally within one or two weeks.
    • We offer our examinees a range of options that provide flexibility on the day, time and location of exams
    • We also offer a broad range of training options to support examinees.
    • Certificates have an anti-fraud Unique Identification Code linking the certificate to named examinee’s results and grade
  2. The Exam invigilator travelling to you with
    • A* Star Teacher’s gold standard Safeguarding Guarantee and photo ID
    • Joint Council of Qualifications Exam Training


Fast Track with 24 -48 hour results Select scheduled exam and then check this optional extra.

50% Discount applies when this option is selected with YOU CHOOSE WHEN  

This service is best suited for candidates who

  • Have tight deadlines and require a guarantee that results are back quickly.
  • Need exam results are guaranteed to be returned to you between 24-48 hours. NB Results are usually returned within 24 hours however the guarantee is 48 hours. These hours apply to work days of the week.
  • Require marking to be carried out by experienced markers (usually experienced exam board markers), issuance and delivery of unique ID coded equivalency certificates
  • Require their uniquely ID coded certificate to be sent to the address entered with booking  within 48 hours of receipt of their results

NB. A* Star Equivalency  has a sister company A* Star Teachers that recruits staff to supply, short , long term and permanent roles from institutions from Nursery though to A levels in London and its surrounds. They are prepared to pay the costs of exams for referrals for school staff looking for work and/or schools or nurseries interested in using them for free trials.


Step 3: Booking My Courses / Exams

Booking And Attending The Exams

Please ensure you need to do the equivalency exam courses as payments are non-refundable

What are the Exam and Course Dates?  We have a scheduled exam once per month, exam dates can be found in exam booking section. Exams must be booked online in advance.

What are the Exam times? Exams start 5.50 pm. Candidates MUST arrive at 5.30pm on the day of the exam, Please do not attend earlier as we can only hire premises from 5.30pm. Your Photo ID can be copied prior to the exam. Late candidates will be refused entry to the exam room. If times and / or dates do not suit your needs please use “Your Choice When” option. Once booked, it is the candidate's responsibility to attend at the correct time and date. PLEASE CHECK YOUR SPAM/ JUNK FOLDER FOR CONFIRMATION EMAIL

What do I need to bring to exam? You will need to bring Photo ID in the form of your passport or photo card driver's license to enable an identity check to be made. If you do not bring the valid ID you will not be able to sit the test. Student cards, paper licenses etc are not sufficient. 

Can I sit exams in more than one subject? You can complete more than one exam BUT you can only complete one exam per booking date. However, if you have a genuine problem regarding an application deadline, please outline the issue to test@astarteachers.com with a contact number.

Where are the Exam and tuition classes held? All revision classes and “Your Choice When” exams are held at the Suite 210 Business Design Centre in Angel, Islington N1 0QH


Scheduled exams are held at Premier Training in Finsbury Park. Directions to this centre, will be emailed to you the week before the exam, however it is directly opposite Starbucks outside the Wells Terrace exit of Finsbury Park underground on Clifton Terrace (N4 3JP). 

Street View of Premier Training Finsbury Park

What Is An Equivalency Exam And Does My Training Provider Accept A*Star Teachers Equivalency?

What is an equivalency exam and does my training provider accept A*Star Teachers equivalency?  An equivalency is not a GCSE. It is a GCSE equivalency for the purpose of meeting the pre-requisites for certain teacher training programmes. It is your responsibility to check if your training provider accepts A*Star Teacher equivalency.

When Do I Get My Exam Results? What About Re-Sits?

When do I get the Exam results? Results usually take one to two weeks after you sit the exam. Candidates are sent official notification via email. A certificate is sent to the postal address provided on your booking. If you require a quick turnaround of results (24 -48 hrs) we offer a fast track service.. Please select this option when making a booking.

What if I need to re-sit? Candidates can re-sit exams by rebooking an exam. The exam will be similar but will be a different exam.

How Do I Book Exams? How Do I Change Exam Dates?

How do I book an exam or course? Click Book Now and follow directions. Once you have made a booking you will receive a confirmation email.
If you do not receive this email, please check your spam folder.

I need to change my exam date. How do I do this? A change of exam date can be done by clicking the option in bookings and will incur a change of booking charge.
At least 48 hours notice must be given when changing your exam date. If less than 48 hours notice the change cannot be made and fees are not refundable