After months of anxious waiting, GCSE results day is finally here and many students will prepare to embark on new studies. 

Thousands of students will be preparing themselves for lower grades than usual, after regulator Ofqual ordered a return of tougher grading regimes after years of exam turmoil prompted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Pupils have been warned to brace themselves for a ‘shock’ as 300,000 fewer top marks are set to be awarded

To help parents and students prepare for whatever results the envelope reads, here is everything you need to know about how to appeal your results.  

GCSE students are in for a 'shock' today as they open their exam results. Here is everything you need to know about how to appeal your grades

GCSE students are in for a ‘shock’ today as they open their exam results. Here is everything you need to know about how to appeal your grades

What are the GCSE grade boundaries?

All pupils will be able to collect their results from 8am on August 24, 2023 and nerves are heightened this year as grades are expected to be lower. 

Students will be marked based on a numerical system, first introduced in 2017, awarding grades from one to nine in each subject. 

The number scale is not directly equivalent to the former letter one, however the scales do align in certain places.  

Scores of 9, 8 and 7 are equivalent to the replaced A* and A, the bottom grade 7 being aligned with the bottom of grade A. 

Meanwhile, Score 6 is equivalent to grade B and a score of 1 is equivalent to a G.

Pupils will have needed a 4 for a ‘standard pass’ and 5 for a ‘strong pass’.

This means that a candidate who gets nine grade-4s will have passed all their exams.

However, the government’s school league table is based on the percentage of pupils who achieve a 5 or above in English and maths GCSEs.

Similarly, many sixth form and colleges insist on students gaining a minimum number of 5s and 6s to progress into further study. 

All pupils will be able to collect their results from 8am on August 24, 2023 and nerves are heightened this year as grades are expected to be lower

All pupils will be able to collect their results from 8am on August 24, 2023 and nerves are heightened this year as grades are expected to be lower

How can students appeal GCSE results?

This year, results day is likely to be more nerve wracking than ever, as students prepare for pre-Covid grading standards, which will see fewer top marks awarded. 

If you are unhappy with your grades, school staff members will be on hand for any queries. 

Students who think their grades may be wrong can ask their schools and colleges to check for administrative errors and mistakes. 

They can appeal if they think procedures were not properly followed, the school or the awarding organisation made an administrative error or the school made an unreasonable exercise of academic judgement in the choice of evidence used to support your grades.  

If you are unhappy with your grades, school staff members will be on hand for any queries, your teachers can submit an appeal to the exam board on your behalf

If you are unhappy with your grades, school staff members will be on hand for any queries, your teachers can submit an appeal to the exam board on your behalf

The deadline to request a priority copy of the marked paper is Thursday, September 7 and the deadline to request review of the marking is a few weeks later on Friday, September 28. 

However, if you are still dissatisfied after completing enquiries, your teachers can submit an appeal to the exam board on your behalf. 

The exam board will check your work for marking mistakes. Your mark may change if they find any. If your mark changes your overall grade may also change. Your new grade could be higher or lower than the original.

The deadline for exam board centres to receive copies of GCSE papers is Sunday, September 17. 

Students must ask their school to apply and pay the exam board the cost of the appeal and the fee is only refunded if the grade is altered. 

They also have the right to request certain documentation to support their request, such as the exam board’s policy and their evidence, which they can request from their school.  

Students will also be offered the opportunity to re-sit their exams in the autumn if they do not want to appeal.  

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