Charting the impact of COVID-19 on UK admissions and recruitment

A summary of school closures and exam arrangements.

News over recent weeks has been dominated by the spread of coronavirus; as of 30th March UNESCO found that 184 countries have closed schools and universities at a national level.

With the period between April and June a common period for upper secondary and undergraduate exams globally, it remains to be seen what the impact of these closures will be on students due to graduate school/university this year.

At UK NARIC, we’ll be tracking delays in exams at secondary and higher education level as they’re announced. 


China: Schools in some regions are beginning to reopen. The general policy set by the Ministry of Education is that that key “exit years” will return to school first – Grade 9, Grade 12 and final year university students; thereby helping to minimise disruption to exams and graduation. The Gaokao has been postponed until 7th-8th July.

Hong Kong: Schools are closed and will resume April 20th at the earliest. Examinations for the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) have been postponed until 24th April; results will be released by the end of July.

India: all schools and universities are closed as the country started 21 days of lockdown on 24th March. Exams due to take place during this period have been postponed or cancelled.

Indonesia: Schools are closed in some regions, including the capital Jakarta, for two weeks from 16th March. All national examinations (Ujian Nasional) for 2020, including senior high school, madrasahs and junior high school, have been cancelled.

Malaysia: All schools and universities are closed until 14th April. Semester 2 exams for the STPM have been postponed until November. Exams for semester 3 are also due to take place in November as originally planned.

Pakistan: All examinations, at school and university level, have been postponed until 31st May.

Philippines: Schools are closed in certain regions, including Manila. Grade 12 examinations took place on 12-13th March and the school year ends at the beginning of April; the new academic year starts in June.

Singapore: Schools and universities remain open.

South Korea: The start of the spring semester for schools had been postponed until 6th April; instead of reopening, schools will teach online from 9th April. The College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT / 대학수학능력시험), the national university entrance examination, which usually takes place in November, has been pushed back to 3rd December.

Vietnam: The majority of schools are closed. The school year has been extended until mid-July and national high school graduation examinations will take place 7-11th August


France: a decision has not yet been taken as to whether Baccalauréat exams will go ahead as planned.

Germany: Schools closed in most Länder until end of Easter hols (around 20th Apr). Some Länder are holding Abitur exams under strict health conditions, others have postponed exams either until mid-May or until further notice.

Hungary: Schools and universities are closed, but exams for the Matura are still due to go ahead.

Ireland: Oral and practical performance tests for the Leaving Certificate and Junior Certificate, which were scheduled to take place from 23rd March to 3rd April, have been cancelled, with students awarded full marks for this component. Students due to complete project work from 20th March to 24th April will have the deadline extended until 15th May.

Italy: Schools and universities are closed across the country until at least April 3rd. The Esame di Stato, the upper secondary school examination which provides access to undergraduate study, is due to take place in June/July – no delays have been announced as yet.

Netherlands: Schools will remain closed to Monday 6 April. Priority will be given to secondary schools pupils and students at schools for secondary vocational education (MBO) who are preparing for their final exams.

Poland: Schools are closed until 10th April. Matura exams are currently due to go ahead in May, but this may change.

Portugal: Exames Nacionais do Ensino Secundário (ENES) exams are due to go ahead but students must register for the exam online.

Romania: All schools and universities are closed. No changes to examinations have been announced yet.

Russia: A decision has not yet been taken on whether to postpone or cancel national exams for the Attestat, Unified State Examinations or university degrees.

Spain: The Evaluación de Acceso a la Universidad (EvAU) (university entrance exam) has been postponed.

Ukraine: All schools and universities are closed until 24th April.

UK: All secondary school exams including the GCSE, AS and A Level; as well as the Scottish Highers, National 4 and 5 have been cancelled this year.


West African Examinations Council (WAEC) (Nigeria, Ghana, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Liberia): all exams have been postponed indefinitely.


Caribbean: Offices of the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) are closed so certificates and transcripts cannot currently be printed. A decision has not yet been taken regarding exams.

Chile: Schools and universities are currently closed. No announcements have been made regarding exams as these take place later in the year.

USA: The College Board has cancelled the SAT and SAT subject tests scheduled for 2nd May. An at-home testing option is being developed for the Advanced Placement (AP). The ACT due to take place on April 4th has been rearranged for 13th June.


International Baccalaureate: Exams due to take place in May 2020 have been cancelled.

Cambridge International: all Cambridge IGCSE, International AS and A level and Pre-U exams worldwide in May and June have been cancelled.

Pearson: all International GCSE, AS or A level exams globally, due to be held in May and June, have been cancelled.

English language tests

One of the other principal challenges faced by students and admitting universities alike, will be access to Secure English Language Tests for visa purposes, as individuals are required to have attended an approved test centre.

Some SELT test providers are maintaining a list of current test centre closures. You can find out the latest through the dedicated COVID-19 pages on their websites:

Other English language test providers are also maintaining updates on their websites:

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