GCSE and A-level results will be marked leniently next year – and pupils will be tipped off about exam topics.
Exams will return next year after being scrapped because of Covid, ministers have announced.
Ministers said they will push ahead with exams, but make them easier to recognise the massive disruption the pandemic had on kids' education.
Students sitting exams in England will be given advance notice of what papers will be about.
They will also be graded more leniently than before the pandemic.
Pupils will be given a choice of topics in some subjects, extra information on what they will be tested on and formulae sheets in maths to help them.
If Covid makes a sudden, deadly return which means exams cannot go ahead then teachers will hand out grades again.
Ministers said they will also start tackling grade inflation by placing marking boundaries halfway between where they were pre-pandemic, and this summer’s record-breaking haul.
Nearly half (45 per cent) of all A level grades doled out this summer were As or A*.
Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said: “We've put fairness at the heart of our approach and listened to pupils, teachers and parents.
"The measures we’re putting in place will help reduce the impact of the significant disruption this group of young people have had to face – allowing them to move onto the next stage of their lives.
"We are committed to rigorous standards being fairly applied, and exams are the fairest way to assess students, which is why they will take place next year."
Tory MP and education select committee chairman Robert Halfon said: “This seems a good idea, pegging grades to 2019 half way.
“The priority must be to unbake the grade hyper-inflation in GCSE/A level exam results.
“They need to assess all children in exam years, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds to see how much lost learning there has been.”
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