We offer equivalency tests if you don’t have the required GCSE grade to apply for our courses.

 We have equivalency tests for:

  • Maths
  • English
  • Science

If you successfully complete these tests they can be used to meet our GCSE entry requirements when submitting an application.

We are also happy to accept those equivalency tests that have been taken and passed through http://www.equivalencytesting.com 

Please note you are not permitted to take our equivalency tests if you have not applied for or are not currently enrolled on a course at the University of Worcester.

How do you take the tests?

The English and Science Equivalency tests will be held at the St Johns campus face to face, whilst the Maths Equivalency tests will be held online.

If we cannot hold a test on campus we will make this decision one week prior to the test date.  We will then inform candidates, stating whether the test is being transferred to an online test or postponed.  We will also give those candidates the option of rescheduling their test date.

What do I need to be able to access the tests?

For tests on campus you will need:

  • Pen
  • Pencil
  • Calculator (Science only)

For tests online you will need to ensure you have access to:

  • Computer
  • Web browser – Google Chrome or Firefox
  • Microphone (can be built in)
  • Webcam
  • Calculator (Maths and Science only)
  • Camera or scanner (English only)


What you need to know:

Check you need this test

For a conditional offer, please check that the course you wish to apply for with us accepts these equivalency tests before booking.

If you have not applied for a course at University of Worcester you will not be eligible for these tests.

Book and pay

 Visit the online booking and payment form– all currently available dates are listed here – and book your test.  Each test costs £37 and this will not be refunded if you have booked in error or do not attend a test.

An automated email will be sent to confirm the booking.

Be aware that places for each date are limited so do not leave it to the last minute to book.

Prepare for the test

Revise for the test using appropriate resources. 

The University does not provide tuition or test guidance, this is the candidate’s responsibility. We recommend that you revise sufficiently before sitting the test, especially if you have not attempted GCSE style questions for a while.

Practice test papers and some guidance are provided below but if you need further practice, GCSE exam papers can be downloaded from the internet (e.g. BBC Bitesize website, www.corbettmaths.com). We also recommend you purchase a suitable GCSE revision guide (e.g. the Letts Study Guide) and that you look for tuition where necessary.

You are aiming to attain a GCSE grade 4 standard (old grade C). The tests will include the opportunity to gain credit at lower grades but both maths and science do not include questions targeting the higher grades. Focus the revision on content across grades 2, 3, 4 rather than at the higher grades.


Where and when

About one week before the test date you will receive an email clarifying the time, place and other arrangements for the test.

English and Science tests are taken on campus at the St John's site, Maths is invigilated online so can be taken from anywhere – a suitable quiet space is essential.

What happens next?

Please allow a minimum of 2 weeks for the test to be marked and for the results to be announced. This can take longer for July/August tests due to availability of tutors.

Admissions will then send an email stating whether the candidate has passed or not passed.

This information is also added to the records, there is no need to do anything but candidates may wish to contact their tutor.

Please note that candidates are allowed a maximum of 2 attempts at each test so if the first attempt is not passed you may choose to book a second attempt. If unsuccessful after 2 attempts, candidates are advised to enrol on a GCSE course.



 What do the tests consist of?

English Language

The English GCSE equivalency test consists of two sections.

Section A: Reading (1 hour)

Candidates must answer all questions in this section.  There will be an extract from a novel to read at the start of the test. This will be one A4 side of text.  After reading, you will answer a series of questions to show your understanding of the extract.  This will assess comprehension and inference skills.

Section B:Writing (1 hour)

Candidates choose just one task from this section.  There will be non-fiction and fiction choices .  You will be required to complete an extended piece of writing; we recommend you write about 2 sides of A4.  You will have 1 hour to choose, plan, write and edit the task. We strongly recommend that candidates make a plan before beginning the main task and leave at least 10 minutes for proof-reading and editing.


Written practice papers are available (see the links below) and prior to the test, candidates will be emailed the link to the online practice materials and information about the conduct of the tests.

This test is in two parts and targets the content from Foundation GCSE Mathematics:

  • Part 1 – a 20 minute numerical reasoning test. No calculator allowed.
  • Part 2 – a 1 hour test similar in style and content to GCSE papers. A calculator may be used.

Each test is completed online and submitted electronically within an allotted time period. 

You may choose to join the invigilation from a campus room but will need a quiet space.


The science test last two hours and contains GCSE standard questions from areas of Biology, Chemistry and Physics.

This test targets the grade C/D/E (now 4/3/2) content from GCSE Science.


The tests are not GCSEs

These tests are not subject to national validation in the same way as GCSEs so they may not be acceptable outside of the University of Worcester. If you pass the tests you are not entitled to claim you have a GCSE in these subjects.

The University sends an email confirming whether the test has been passed or not, but does not provide a Certificate.

The tests are ideal for EU or international applicants whose school qualifications are not of an equivalent level to GCSE. Please check that the course you wish to apply for with us accepts these equivalency tests before booking.


Booking process

  • Each test costs £37 (non-refundable)
  • Please note that candidates are allowed a maximum of 2 attempts at each test.
  • Please ensure you book early (and no later than 4 working days before the test date) as places are limited per test session.

1)    Check that the course you wish to apply for with us accepts these equivalency tests before booking

2)    Apply for a course at the University of Worcester

Please note you are not permitted to take our equivalency tests if you have not applied for a course at the University of Worcester

3)    Complete the online booking and payment form

Sample papers and preparation

English sample question paper

English sample extract

Maths sample paper (part 1)

Maths sample paper (part 2)

Maths test preparation

Science test preparation