Frequently Asked Questions

Search our FAQ for answers to any questions you might have.

Step 1: How do I Start the Journey?

A* Star Equivalency Testing has been the leader in delivering Equivalency Tests since 2002 and our certificates are accepted by most training providers and as a result are accepted by the vast majority of training providers including Universities and SCITT’s. If you have any concerns regarding acceptance of the equivalency test then you are welcome to contact us on [email protected].

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.
  • Equivalency 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 equivalency training options to support equivalency test 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 testing 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 equivalency tests, 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.

A* Star Equivalency Testing has been the leader in delivering Equivalency Tests since 2002 and this equivalency exam and certificate is accepted by most training providers. However, as there are hundreds of existing providers, new providers and policies can be subject to change. We therefore advise candidates to always check with their proposed provider as we do not offer any refunds.

If any issues arise, please pass your details and the provider’s details to [email protected]  as we can generally assist.

  1. Confidence that both the GCSE equivalency examinations and their administration are of the highest professional standards

Our service provides:

  • High quality GCSE exams benchmarked on recognised exam boards AQA and Edexcel.
  • Professional administration of exams under JCQ (Joint Council for Qualifications) regulations by invigilators (JCQ Training)- we also provide teams of trained invigilators to schools
  • Marking is carried out by a team of independent markers who have/or currently mark for the exam boards and use exam board marking schemes
  1. As training providers require candidates to have these equivalency certificates prior to beginning courses, providing frequent and flexible examination dates is important

Our service provides:

  • Regular and frequent scheduled exams dates throughout the academic year
  • Flexible dates any day during office hours are also available for an urgent request
  • prompt return of results and a further option of fast-tracking results and certificates within 48hrs
  • Option to offer candidates a discount to run exams on training provider’s campus
  1. Confidence that examinees with disabilities are well supported

Our service provides:

  • support to examinees with disabilities through
    • complying with JCQ policy Adjustments for candidates with disabilities and learning difficulties (also used by Edexcel and AQA)
  • provision of flexible dates to sit examinations at a time of their choosing
  1. Accountability and Security of the process and the certificates awarded to examinees

Our service provides:

  • Security through requiring examinees to provide photo ID on entry to the exam
  • Photo ID checking by professional compliance staff (DBS Counter signatory)
  • FRAUD PREVENTION Security codes are used on all our certificates
    • Combined with the photo ID check at the Exam this makes it pointless to copy a certificate as we can link the unique code to the specific candidate name, exam date and exam result
    • Simple validation of equivalency test certificates with one phone call/ email with this security code
    • (NB We regularly assist UCAS and training providers in validating equivalency certificates)
  1. Support provided to examinees
    1. General guidance – often candidates for teacher training courses have little knowledge or understanding of a variety of issues including teacher training prerequisites and GCSE requirements, equivalencies or NARIC. They may or may not have a chosen provider and often feel lost.
    2. Many candidates require a GCSE equivalency in a subject in which they require support.

Our service provides:

  • General guidance to candidates through free information sessions, phone and online support
  • Free online revision resources as well as dedicated courses for home delivery throughout the UK
  • Training courses are optional; however, we offer a wide range of regular inexpensive training programmes including
    • comprehensive courses using experienced teachers, small classes and mock exams
    • one to one support and online support
  • Our online support uses the latest online technology, is more cost effective than traditional face to face tutoring, offers a wide range of resources and is perfect for students that may be less mobile or are in a remote location.
  • We offer flexible dates for candidates wanting one-to -one study support, face -to-face or online with experienced specialist teachers.
  • Our tutors are all experienced, professional, subject specialist teachers.
  • Our examinations and support are substantially less expensive than our competitors.

One hour information/help sessions carried out on a weekly basis. The webinars cover subject specific content and are aimed to give you a great head start with your revision. Our Information and help sessions also provide clear guidance to those with issues surrounding pre-requisites for teacher training courses.

These sessions are ideal for students who:

  • 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 ​
  • need help with starting their revision
  • need a boost in confidence with a friendly and informative class

Always check with your training provider for their specific requirements and deadlines. Generally for those doing teacher training the following are required before commencement, and those with “conditional acceptance” on a course should check the deadlines.

  • 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/4 or above in the GCSE examinations in English and mathematics (or grade B/6 or above if you’re applying in Wales or some training providers in Scotland).
  • 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/4 or above in a GCSE science subject exam.

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

If you studied outside the UK, check the National Academic Recognition Information Centre (NARIC) website to find out whether your qualifications are of an equivalent level to UK GCSEs, A levels and an undergraduate degree. In most instances you will still require a UK GCSE equivalent such as an equivalency test.

GCSE Equivalency Exams are intended for students who cannot evidence they have achieved a standard equivalent to grade C / Level 4 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  post graduate courses including teacher training and nursing programmes. It is not a GCSE qualification.

Yes, A Star Teachers is the company name and A Star Equivalency is the name of the testing service. If you have been recommended A Star teachers then A Star Equivalency is the service you need to use.

Step 2: How do I Prepare for Equivalency Testing?

Start with the specifications which can be downloaded from the subject pages. Understand what is contained within the specification and what parts of this you are likely going to need work on. Start working through the course materials and these will prepare you for each exam.

Each equivalency test has its own course. Head to the subject pages to find out what each specific course contains.

I have been told I have to do GCSE equivalencies. I haven’t studied GCSEs for years. What do I do now?

    • If studying for more than one exam, it is preferably focus on passing one equivalency test/exam at a time. Studying for more than one equivalency test/exam at a time will be confusing and more difficult to manage
    • Generally, it is best to begin with the equivalency 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, how effectively you study; and most of all your motivation. This will vary from individual to individual. The best advice is to thoroughly look through the revision materials and do the following.
      • Create your timeline, try to allow some time at the end before the due date in case things do not go quite according to plan
      • Break down (chunk) the content into manageable pieces based on chapters or topics and create a weekly schedule for your study.
      • Work your schedule and adjust it to meet a challenging but achievable weekly target.
      • Make full use of the free support resources we have outlined in the preparation material.
      • Summarise revision material in your own words as if you were going to teach it to somebody else. If you have the opportunity, then teach it to friends and family. It can be fun. and the best way to learn something is to teach it!
      • They say repetition is the mother of skill, so do lots of questions from your revision book and check your answers.
    • If you feel you need further support, you will now be clearer on the what and how much help you require and we have wide variety of low cost support options to assist your equivalency exam preparation. Also explore
    • Study with a friend, if you know anyone who is preparing for the same test
    • Ask one of your friends/colleagues for some help. Do you know a teacher?
    • Choose one of the recommended support options offered by A* Star Equivalency

Step 3: Booking Online Courses & Equivalency Tests

Results usually take a maximum of 10 working days after you sit the Equivalency Test. Candidates are sent an official notification via email. Candidates can re-sit an Equivalency Test by rebooking on the subject booking pages.

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.

An equivalency test certificate is not a GCSE. It is a GCSE equivalency for the purpose of meeting the pre-requisites for certain teacher training, nursing, midwifery and other courses.

A* Star Equivalency Testing has been the leader in delivering Equivalency Tests since 2002 and our certificates are accepted by most training providers. However, as there are hundreds of existing providers, new providers and policies can be subject to change. We therefore advise candidates to always check with their proposed provider.

You can complete more than one exam BUT you can only complete one exam per scheduled booking date. However, it is possible to sit multiple equivalency exams through the “you choose when” option. If you have a genuine problem regarding an application deadline, please outline the issue to [email protected] with a contact number.

Yes, you can do the exams online as well as paper based. These exams are exactly the same content as the standard equivalency exams, but are sat online. They are administered using the world class technology, processes and procedures to ensure the highest security in our online testing.

To do these exams you require a computer with camera, microphone, keyboard, browser with a stable internet connection and a phone with the ability to scan or photograph. No special hardware, software or training is required.

A change of exam date can be done through your online account or by calling our exams team on 020 3488 0960. 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.