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

[This article was first published on 17th March 2020, but is being updated regularly. Last update: 17th August 2022. The latest updates are shown in blue.]

At UK ENIC, we have been tracking delays to exams at secondary and higher education level since March 2020.

A summary of assessment arrangements in 2020, 2021 and 2022 for over 150 qualifications from around 110 countries and territories can be found in: International Secondary Assessment during the COVID-19 Pandemic (2020-2022): A Quick Reference Guide (June 2022).

More in-depth coverage and analysis can be found in our special reports published in 2020 and 2021.

We compiled all of the information we gathered on assessment at secondary level in 2020 for over 120 different qualifications into a comprehensive report: COVID-19: Guide to International Secondary Assessment in 2020. The report also analyses the different approaches to assessment and looks at the effects on student performance and grading.

In 2021, education globally continued to be affected by the pandemic, and information on disruption to exams in summer 2021 can be found in our report: The Effects of COVID-19 on International Secondary Assessment: Summer 2021 Update.

We are continuing to monitor developments around the world in 2022.

For the latest updates, a summary by country can be found below.


Bangladesh: Higher Secondary Certificate exams are scheduled to go ahead in late August, around 4 months later than usual. Schools and colleges are open.

China: Schools and universities in some cities, including Shanghai, have been closed as part of lockdown measures to contain recent outbreaks. In Shanghai, the Gaokao was postponed by one month. International exams, such as the IB, international GCSEs and A levels, and the AP were cancelled in Shanghai and some other cities in Eastern China.

Hong Kong: School summer holidays were brought forward and lasted from 7th March until after Easter. HKDSE exams started on 22nd April as planned.

India: Schools, colleges and universities are open. Standard 12 exams for many boards were held in April. CBSE Standard 10 and Standard 12 exams took place in two sessions, with 50% of syllabus assessed in each. The first set of exams were held in November / December 2021, and the second in March / April 2022.

Indonesia: Many schools and universities are currently teaching in a blended mode; restrictions vary between regions. Higher education institutions are permitted to offer face-to-face teaching if they are able to put specific measures in place. In most cases, lectures are still online with some in-person classes.

Nepal: Schools and higher education institutions started to reopen from mid-February. Grade 12 exams were held between 29th April and 8th May.

Philippines: Lockdown restrictions began to be lifted in February 2022. The 2022-23 academic year begins on 22nd August with a combination of face-to-face and distance learning. A full return to in-person classes is planned for November.

Sri Lanka: Schools reopened for all classes in November. 2021 A level exams were postponed from August but went ahead in February 2022.

Thailand: Schools reopened in May 2022. Universities are allowed to teach on-campus but some are still teaching online.


Most school exams across Europe are unaffected in 2022.

France: Students in schools at all levels are attending classes in-person and exams are going ahead in 2022 after two years of disruption.

Ireland: Exams for the Leaving Cert went ahead this year. Results will be released on 2nd September, later than usual due to COVID measures.

Italy: Written exams for the Esame di Stato went ahead this year.

Latvia: Schools reopened with in-person teaching in September. Grade 12 students did not have a mandatory fourth exam in 2022.

Norway: Schools and universities returned to face-to-face teaching in the normal way from September 2021. Written exams for the Vitnemål (upper secondary school leaving certificate) were cancelled for 2022.

Portugal: Schools are open. Final exams were only taken by students who wished to access higher education.

Slovakia: External exams for the Maturita went going ahead in 2022.


Ethiopia: Schools are now open. The 2020 University Entrance Examination was held in February 2021 and the 2021 exam was held in November 2021.


Oman: Schools fully reopened in March 2022.

Saudi Arabia: Remote learning in schools ended in March 2022.


Bahamas: Schools reopened with hybrid teaching in January 2022.

Barbados: Schools began the new term online in January 2022, and returned to in-person classes in late February.

Bolivia: Schools began to reopen in February, but attendance is part-time in some areas.

Brazil: Schools have now reopened.

Chile: Some schools have now reopened.

Jamaica: There was a staggered reopening of schools from September 2021 onwards.

Mexico: Schools have reopened in the majority of areas.

USA: The majority of schools have offered full in-person teaching since September.

AP exams were held as paper-and-pencil tests in 2022 over 2 weeks in May (2nd-6th and 9th– 13th). AP exams in some Chinese cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, were cancelled. No alternative sessions were scheduled for these locations.


Australia: Schools are now open. Exams are due to go ahead as usual in October and November.

New Zealand: NCEA exams are due to go ahead as usual in 2022.


Cambridge International: June 2022 exams went ahead, unless it was not possible due to government restrictions. Where exams could not go ahead, grades are based on portfolios of evidence marked by examiners. This latter option was used in Shanghai and some other cities in China.

International Baccalaureate: In 2022, exams went ahead as usual, except in Shanghai, where assessment switched to the non-examination route. In 2021, two assessment routes were available (an examination route and a non-examination route) depending on whether schools in different countries were able to administer exams safely.

OxfordAQA: The vast majority of exams went ahead in May / June 2022, but exams in Shanghai and some other locations in China were cancelled.

Pearson: Exams went ahead in May / June 2022, with the exception of Shanghai and some other Chinese cities, where they were cancelled.

English language tests

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

The vast majority of test centres globally are now open. 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:

Further information

Further information on the resources available from Ecctis to support our member organisations and diverse stakeholders across the globe can be found here.

4 Thoughts

  1. Really useful intel. Would be helpful if flags were added to indicate where the most recent updates have been made.

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