Page last updated at 12:05 GMT, Wednesday, 28 April 2010 13:05 UK

Exam season begins for Scottish students

Students sitting an exam
The new baccalaureate is a Scottish government initiative

Students across Scotland are knuckling down to their studies as the new exam season gets under way.

Over the coming five weeks, 161,500 students will sit 745,000 exams from Standard Grade to Advanced Higher.

This year new technology is being used to inform and involve students, including text results and mobile apps.

The Scottish Baccalaureate is also being introduced, which will combine elements of the Higher and the Advanced Higher qualifications.

Students can receive their results a day early via text and e-mail by signing up to the new service MySQA. It has been arranged so that this will not give them an unfair advantage in chasing university places once the results have been released.

A new free phone app has also been released which will, amongst other things, enable students to make a calendar of their exams which they can share with friends.

'Outside the box'

The new baccalaureate is a Scottish government initiative.

Derek Douglas, from the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA), said: "The baccalaureate better prepares young folk in the 6th form for their first year in university. It helps them to think outside the box."

The qualification involves an interdisciplinary project that runs throughout the academic year and allows students to develop their own thesis.

Although the baccalaureate is highly rated by Ucas, the Highers and Advanced Highers will remain the "gold standard" of Scottish school qualifications.

The SQA assures any students who may still be stranded by the volcanic ash travel disruptions that they have contingency plans in place.

They have said no exam candidates will be adversely affected by the recent unprecedented travel situation.

Dr Janet Brown, chief executive of the SQA, in her formal role as Scotland's Chief Examining Officer, said: "I send my very best wishes to the thousands of learners who are embarking upon the next big step in their lives and I trust that their hard work and dedication will be rewarded with the results they deserve."

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