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GCSE equivalency tests

Equivalency tests at St Mary's

As a provider of Initial Teacher Education, we understand that not everyone who wants to become a teacher has the qualifications required. This is particularly true when it comes to GCSEs.

GCSE equivalencies are required regardless of any higher qualification in a related subject. An individual with an A Level or Undergraduate degree in Mathematics, English or Science also requires the appropriate GCSEs. International qualifications equivalent to GCSEs will be assessed by St Mary’s using the National Academic Recognition Centre (NARIC).

The Institute of Education offers GCSE equivalency tests in Eng­lish, Mathematics and Science. A pass in one of these equivalency tests is considered to be of the same standard as a GCSE C grade or Level 4 in the revised GCSE structure. St Mary’s University will accept an equivalence test from Equivalence Testing Company. We will not accept an equivalence test from Equivalence Testing Company should applicants have failed the St Mary’s test twice.

We accept these equivalency tests for both the Primary and Secondary PGCE programmes.

Our equivalence tests do not count as a qualification in their own right and are only appropriate for those who have accepted a conditional offer to train with St Mary’s University or one of our partner schools.

We offer equivalence tests in:

  • English: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Maths: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Science: 1 hour 30 minutes

Please note: The St Mary’s test is specific to St Mary’s and is not an exam from any exam board. 

Internal Applicants

Equivalence tests take place twice a month. The cost of the test is £85.00. This is payable when you book your test.

Tests will be marked and your result e-mailed to you within three weeks of taking your test.

We allow one re-sit for a failed test. Should an applicant fail both of the tests they will be required to undertake a full GCSE qualification. We will not accept an equivalence test from another company should you have failed the St Mary’s test twice.

A second payment is required for any re-sit that is undertaken.

For applicants that have been interviewed in August, you will only be able to have one attempt at the equivalence tests as the PGCE courses begin at the start of September.

Please note:

It is expected that you will sit your equivalence test within 3 months of you receiving your condition of offer. Once your booking has been made a check will be carried out on when you received your condition of offer. If it is over the 3 month period you will be deemed to have not met your conditions of offer. There are no exceptions to this.

External applicants

Cost of equivalence tests for external applicants £100.00

External applicants who wish to sit our GCSE equivalence test will be required to follow the same policy that is in place for our internal applicants. You are only permitted to sit the test twice at St Mary’s University. Should you fail both test we will not be in a position to offer you a third test.

A second payment is required for any re-sit that is undertaken.

Due to high demand we are unable to offer any external equivalence tests in the month of August.

We strongly recommend that prior to booking your test you confirm with your provider that they will accept and equivalence test result from St Mary’s University.


All fees are non-refundable and payable in advance. 

St. Mary’s Test dates and timings

Please note: Tests for March and April 2020 are no longer going to go ahead. Applicants will be contacted to reschedule tests already booked.

  • Saturday, May 30, 10:30am
  • Saturday, June 27, 10:30am
  • Saturday, July 25, 10:30am

  • Thursday, May 14, 17:00pm
  • Thursday, June 11, 17:00pm
  • Thursday, July 16, 17:00pm

For further information about equivalence tests please contact Lizzy Jackson

Disability and learning difficulties

If you have a disability or learning difficulties that may affect your exam performance you may be eligible for extra exam time. Written evidence of your disability or learning difficulty is required to ensure appropriate support is given. This information must be provided a minimum of 1 month prior to your test date.

The exams are designed to be at least the equivalent to a GCSE ‘C’/ level 4 and will be sat under exam conditions. Examiners decisions are final and no appeals will be considered.

To book your test please follow the link:

Book your equivalence test.