This document, produced on behalf of all exam boards, tells you about some things that you must and must not do when you are completing your work. Before you submit any work for marking, you will be asked to sign an authentication statement confirming that you have read and followed these regulations.

If there is anything that you do not understand, you must ask your teacher or lecturer.

Controlled Assessment will provide you with an opportunity to do some independent research into a topic. The research you do may involve looking for information in published sources such as textbooks, encyclopedias, journals, TV, radio, and on the internet.

Using information from published sources (including the internet) as the basis for your assignment is a good way to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of a subject, but you must take care how you use this material – you cannot copy it and claim it as your own work.

The regulations state that:

“the work which you submit for assessment must be your own”;

“you must not copy from someone else or allow another candidate to copy from you”.

If you use the same wording as a published source, you must place quotation marks around the passage and state where it came from. This is called “referencing”. You must make sure that you give detailed references for everything in your work which is not in your own words. A reference from a printed book or journal should show the name of the author, the year of publication and the page number, for example: (Morrison, 2000, pg.29).

For material taken from the internet, your reference should show the date when the material was downloaded and must show the precise web page, not the search engine used to locate it. This can be copied from the address line. For example:

(, downloaded 12 February 2011.

You may be required to include a bibliography at the end of your work. Your teacher or lecturer will tell you whether a bibliography is necessary. Where required, your bibliography must list the full details of publications you have used in your research, even where these are not directly referred to, for example: Morrison, A. (2000) “Mary, Queen of Scots”, London: Weston Press.

If you copy the words or ideas of others and don’t show your sources in references and a bibliography, this will be considered as cheating.

Preparing your work – good practice

If you receive help and guidance from someone other than your teacher, you must tell your teacher who will then record the nature of the assistance given to you.

If you worked as part of a group on an assignment, for example, undertaking field research, you must each write up your own account of the assignment. Even if the data you have is the same, the description of how that data was obtained and the conclusions you draw from it should be in your own words.

You must meet the deadlines that your teacher gives you. Remember – your teachers are there to guide you. Although they cannot give you direct assistance, they can help you to sort out any problems before it is too late.

Take care of your work and keep it safe. Don’t leave it lying around where your classmates can find it.

You must always keep your work secure and confidential whilst you are preparing it; do not share it with your classmates. If it is stored on the computer network, keep your password secure. Collect all copies from the printer and destroy those you don’t need.

Don’t be tempted to use essays from online essay banks — this is cheating. Electronic tools used by awarding bodies can detect this sort of copying.


Plagiarism involves taking someone else’s words, thoughts or ideas and trying to pass them off as your own. It is a form of cheating which is taken very seriously.

Don’t think you won’t be caught; there are many ways to detect plagiarism.

  • Markers can spot changes in the style of writing and use of language.
  • Markers are highly experienced subject specialists who are very familiar with work on the topic concerned — they may have read the source you are using (or even marked the essay you have copied from!).
  • Internet search engines and specialised computer software can be used to match phrases or pieces of text with original sources and to detect changes in the grammar and style of writing or punctuation.

Penalties for breaking the regulations

If your work is submitted and it is discovered that you have broken the regulations, one of the following penalties will be applied:

  • the piece of work will be awarded zero marks;
  • you will be disqualified from that unit for the examination series in question;
  • you will be disqualified from the whole subject for that examination series;
  • you will be disqualified from all subjects and barred from entering again for a period of time.

Your awarding body will decide which penalty is appropriate.



A message from AQA

Following complaints from private candidates that the controlled assessment rules made it virtually impossible for them to find centres which would accept them for courses of study, AQA has been in discussion with Ofqual as to whether there is any possibility of relaxing the requirements for these candidates – the response received has made it very clear that they will not agree to any relaxation of controlled assessment requirements for private candidates in the foreseeable future.

Private candidates need to find a registered centre that will:

  • accept them for all elements of Controlled Assessment Task Taking and Task Marking, including preparation and analysis prior to the Task Taking
  • undertake authentication of Controlled Assessment Tasks
  • keep their work securely between sessions
  • undertake the assessment of any Controlled Assessment Tasks.

Private candidates will be asked to undertake all elements of controlled assessment. This can include writing-up sessions and research and analysis sessions. All elements with high or medium levels of control must be undertaken within the centre, or externally with centre supervision e.g. a field trip. The timings of these sessions will vary but writing-up sessions can be as long as 6 hours and research and analysis sessions can be as long as 20 hours.

Private candidates should note that:

  • AQA will not undertake the assessment of Controlled Assessment Tasks (CATs), except for units that have been designated High level of control for Task Marking;
  • AQA cannot undertake the authentication of CATs;
  • AQA cannot release CATs to Private Candidates for security reasons.