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Key dates for KCSE, KCPE & KPSEA plus KNEC's 5 key rules for 2023 candidates

The 2023 KCPE, KCSE, and KPSEA examinations: Important dates and insights students and parents should know.

File image of students in an exam room for KCSE

As the clock ticks down to the highly anticipated 2023 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) and Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examinations, the Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) gears up for the rehearsal phase starting on Thursday, October 19.

The rehearsal marks a significant step in the preparations for Form 4 candidates, who are set to take their exams from October 23 to November 24.

Form 4 candidates are set to undergo rehearsals, an essential aspect of their exam readiness, on Thursday, October 19.


Similarly, the rehearsal date for the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE), and the Kenya Primary School Education Assessment (KPSEA) is scheduled for Friday, October 27.

The actual examinations for both KCPE and KPSEA will commence on Monday, October 30, and conclude on Wednesday, November 1.


The 2023 KCPE examinations will signal the conclusion of the long-standing 8-4-4 system in primary schools.

This will mark a historic shift, the second major curriculum change since the transition from the 7-4-2-3 system in 1985.

The decision to phase out the 8-4-4 system stems from its perceived incompatibility with the evolving aspirations of Kenyan students and the ever-changing labor market, which increasingly relies on technology.


It faced criticism for not adequately preparing students for the demands of the modern workforce.

The Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) has garnered attention as the ultimate solution to address the limitations of the 8-4-4 system.

Unlike its predecessor, this curriculum places a strong emphasis on skills development, aiming to equip students with practical and applicable knowledge.

The curriculum's trial run took place this year, spanning from May to September and encompassing 470 schools, with 10 schools in each of Kenya's counties participating in this pilot program.


A staggering 3.5 million candidates are set to sit for the national examinations this year. Among them, just under a million will sit for KCSE, 1.4 million for KCPE, and 1.2 million for the inaugural KAPSEA.

To ensure a fair and secure examination process, KNEC will deploy 1,700 officers for monitoring.

Recognising the importance of maintaining integrity during examinations, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission conducted a sensitization forum in collaboration with KNEC on October 17.


The forum, graced by Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu, emphasised the need for students to uphold honesty and avoid exam-related malpractices.

To succeed in the examinations, candidates are advised to adhere to essential guidelines:

  1. Maintain integrity and avoid sharing exam-related information on social media.
  2. Work independently and honestly during exams.
  3. Punctuality is key; report for exams on time to reduce anxiety.
  4. Dedicate ample time to studying and thorough revision.
  5. Use mobile phones for communication at home but strictly refrain from using them during exams.

As the nation eagerly anticipates this crucial examination period, KNEC remains committed to ensuring a seamless and fair process for all candidates.

All eyes are set on October 23 when the exams kick off, marking the beginning of a new chapter for many students across the country.


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