Exams and assessment

Student taking exam

Booking exams with NEC

Many of our distance learning courses lead to qualifications from awarding organisations for which you will need to sit at least one exam. Exams are strictly controlled and can only be sat at registered exam centres on certain dates.

We understand that locating an exam centre and ensuring that you are entered correctly can be stressful for students. We are delighted to be able to offer a guaranteed exam place for our students at one of our partnership exam centres. By choosing one of our partnership exam centres you can be confident that the application process will be seamless. All of our centres work hard to provide a professional and friendly service, which has been extremely valued by our students.

As an approved centre we are able to cover both exams and NEA:

  • Written exams
  • Oral exams
  • Coursework
  • Practical science endorsements
  • Spoken language endorsements
Partnership exam centres

NEC is pleased to be able to offer places for its students at partnership exam centres in the following locations in England: Bolton, Cambridge, Coventry, Doncaster, Gravesend, Norwich, Oxford, Reading, Swindon, Ashton-under-Lyne (Greater Manchester), Brighouse (West Yorkshire), Fareham (limited places available), Stockton-on-Tees (limited places available), London (limited places available).


If you wish to sit an exam in one of these partnership centres, our student support team can arrange this for you. Further information can be found on learn@nec once you are enrolled.

If you decide not to use one of our centres you can enter privately with a centre of your choice. Where this happens students need to take full responsibility for ensuring they are entered for the correct examinations and understand NEC will be very limited in the support they can offer with any issues that arise. We recommend that you book your exams at least six months before the exam session starts. Private exam centres will have their own exam entry deadlines which are likely to be earlier than those listed by the awarding organisations.

Non-examination assessments

For some A level and GCSE subjects, Non-Examination Assessments (NEA) are included. NEA may refer to coursework or an endorsement. Candidates studying subjects such as A level English and A level History will need to complete a NEA as well as the written papers to achieve the qualification. Subjects which include a practical or spoken language endorsement are reported separately on certificates and don't contribute to the A level or GCSE grade.

Exam centres making entries for these subjects will be responsible for all aspects of the NEA which includes supervision, authentication, marking and following all administration requirements specified by the awarding organisations. Where an endorsement is attached to the A Level or GCSE, exam centres can only accept your entry if they are willing to provide you the opportunity to complete the endorsement. Due to this you may find that centres willing to accept you are harder to locate.

By enrolling with NEC you are safe in the knowledge that as an approved centre we can offer a complete service to students. We are able to deal with all aspects of NEA subjects from supervision and authentication through to examination.

We are also able to offer practical and spoken language endorsements through a number of our partnership exam centres for our students.

If your chosen course includes an NEA element, call us free on 0800 389 2839 and we’ll be happy to share our expertise to help you make the right choice. You can also view or download a free copy of our PDF guides for more details:

Oral exams (modern foreign languages)

For subjects that include an oral examination as part of the assessment we can guarantee you a place at a number of our partnership exam centres.

If you are thinking about using a private exam centre remember to check that they can deal with all aspects of the assessment, including orals, as the entry can’t be split across two centres.

Exam fees

The cost of sitting your exams is not included in your course fee. The cost will vary depending on your choice of exam centre and whether your subject involves oral exams, coursework, spoken language endorsements or practical science endorsements. You should also bear in mind that you will need to make your own travel arrangements to attend your exam.

We try to keep our exam fees as low as possible and we will always honest about the costs. NEC students can access a full list of fees on learn@nec.

Further information

If you have any questions or want to find out more about booking exams or NEA with NEC, contact our friendly team and we’ll be happy to share our expertise to help you make the right choice.