COVID-19 Updates

Diploma exams

Resources to help students prepare to write diploma exams and information for exam administrators.

2020-21 diploma exams

The June 2021 and August 2021 diploma exams are optional due to COVID-19.

Students who complete a diploma exam course and have a school-awarded mark are eligible for an exemption. It doesn’t matter if they are registered for the diploma exam or not. If they choose not to write the diploma exam, they will be granted the exemption.

For further information see: Learning during COVID-19.

2021-22 school year

  • Diploma exams will be mandatory in the 2021-22 school year
  • Diploma exams will be offered in every diploma course subject in November, January, April, June and August.


The Grade 12 Diploma Examinations Program has 3 main purposes:

  • to certify the level of individual student achievement in selected Grade 12 courses
  • to ensure that province-wide standards of achievement are maintained
  • to report individual and group results

Find out more about Diploma exams.

Diploma exams for 2020/21

For the 2020/21 school year, diploma exams are optional due to COVID-19.

There are circumstances where students may choose or need to write diploma exams, including, but not limited to:

  • home education students if required by a post-secondary institution
  • adult students who can write an exam without taking a course
  • students who do not have a passing mark from their teacher
  • students who want to raise their mark, or want to have a diploma exam mark on their transcript
  • students who are registered to rewrite a diploma exam and are not currently taking the course


Students and their families decide if the student will write their diploma exam. Eligible students will get an exemption if they choose not to write their diploma exam.

To be eligible for an exemption, a student needs to:

  • be currently taking the course, and
  • receive a mark from the school during the 2020/21 year

Only students with a new mark, awarded in the 2020-2021 school year, are eligible for exemptions.  

Students who choose to write a 2-part diploma exam, such as English Language Arts 30-1, must write both parts.

Students who choose to write a diploma exam but are dissatisfied with their mark are not eligible for an exemption.

Deadlines and rewrite fees

Students should let their school know if they will write their diploma exams as early as possible, but have up until the exam date.

We will contact students registered at one of the 2 provincial writing centres in Edmonton or Calgary to ask if they want to write the diploma exam.

If a student paid a fee to rewrite a diploma exam, is eligible and chooses to receive an exemption, they will receive a refund approximately 4 to 6 weeks after the exam period.


If a student chooses to write the exam, the exam mark will be blended with the student’s school mark. The exam is worth 30% of the student’s mark and the school mark is worth 70%.

If a student chooses not to write the diploma exam and is eligible for an exemption, their school mark will become the final course mark. Exemptions will appear on students’ academic reports when diploma exam marks are released.

Applying to post-secondary

To find out whether a student needs to write a diploma exam to apply to a specific post-secondary institution, contact that institution.


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