Exam papers being sold on social media for £1

Emma Seton·13 May 2021·4 min read
Exam papers being sold on social media for £1

2020 hit us all by storm, and the impact of the pandemic was especially significant for those who were due to sit their GCSEs and A-levels last summer. Back in summer 2020, when exams were cancelled across the UK, the exam papers which had already been finalised by exam boards, went unused in the summer assessment period. As COVID_19 continues to impact on the lives of many, the 2021 assessment period will not take place in the traditional way. Pupils will be assessed using a variety of assessments, all which will take place in-class, and they will be assessed by teachers, rather than externally. Across the UK, many teachers have opted to recycle the unused 2020 exam papers for their summer assessments. However, these unused papers have been leaked across social media and are being sold for as little as £1.

Leaked Exam papers on TikTok

The papers have circulated all over social media, with phrases like ‘easiest 9 ever’ frequently appearing as the tag line. There are a multitude of Instagram accounts with various names such as ‘2020 exam papers’ generating across the social media site. Many of these accounts have bios such as ‘dm us for mark schemes’ appearing on their page. The leaked exam papers have also appeared on Tik Tok, with phrases such as ‘these will probably appear in your mocks’ frequently in the videos. Many providers are asking those who wish to purchase the papers and mark schemes to purchase these via pay pal.

Fear in the educational community

Fear has circulated throughout the educational community that the entire assessment system could be undermined if pupils have hold of the papers before they sit their exams. Although many schools are using a range of assessments, such as coursework and mocks, as well as summer exams to assess pupils, a vast proportion of schools have opted to use the 2020 exam papers, at least as part of the assessment process.

While exam boards have reassured schools that the papers are confidential, there have been reports of pupils viewing the papers before their final assessments. Some schools have even had to contact parents warning them that their child will need to re-sit their exam due to reports of them having hold of the 2020 papers thus compromising the accuracy of their grade.

Minor Advantage

The centre-assessed grade system has been put in place as a COVID_19 contingency, in order to replace the traditional exam format. However, the integrity of this system could be severely compromised if grades are based on these leaked papers.

The exam board, JCQ, comments that the re-sale of their papers is not in any way acceptable and calls for this exchange to stop as soon as possible. Students are not recommended to use material which is not available to the public on the exam board websites. Moreover, as pupils are being assessed via a range of assessments, the advantage gained from viewing leaked papers is minor.

Social Media

The general secretary from the Association of School and College Leaders has commented that all schooling establishments are endeavouring to assess pupils as fairly as possible, and it is paramount that pupils stick to the rules advised by their college or school. Anyone who wishes to buy papers from the internet is discouraged to do so.

The leak of the 2020 assessment papers could impact the grades of many students across England. In the digital age, things are becoming more and more readily available. It takes seconds for somethings to be shared over social media and received by millions.