What is the new GCSE grading system?

GCSE results day guide 2019: When is it and what happens next?

The Independent's guide to everything you need to know

With GCSE results day just weeks away, students and parents will be waiting in anticipation to open up their envelopes find out their grades.

The results will determine whether many 16-year-olds stay on for sixth form to do their A-levels or attend a Further Education college to do alternative qualifications.

Here’s our handy step-by-step guide on what you need to know to prepare for the day.

When is it?

GCSE results day falls on Thursday 22 August for students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

How can I collect my results?

You can collect your results from your school in the morning, often from 10am.

If you are unable to make it into school, you may be able to arrange for a family member pick it up if they have a signed letter of authorisation.

Some schools may be able to send results through the post if you aren’t available on the day.

What do I do if my exams don't go to plan?

If you are unhappy with your results then it is best to speak to your teacher at school to see whether they think it is worth putting the exam paper in for a re-mark.

A review of marking can take up to 20 days once submitted to an exam board.

If you are still dissatisfied with your result following a re-mark, then your school, or you individually, may be able to appeal the result. You should speak to your school before taking this decision.

What if I want to resit my exams?

The first resits for English and maths take place in November. For other subjects, the earliest opportunity you will have to resit exams will be June 2020.

What do the number grades mean?

Since 2017, numerical grades have been gradually introduced for the reformed GCSEs.

There has been a shift away from the old, letter-based grading system – where the highest achievable mark was an A* – to a numerical system where papers are marked on a scale from 9 to 1.

Michael Gove introduced the system when he was education secretary to set the new, tougher GCSEs apart from the legacy qualifications.

He also wanted a new top grade (grade 9) to help leading universities and employers to distinguish the brightest students from the rest.

The system is as follows:

  • A 9, 8 or 7 is now equivalent to an A* or A grade
  • A 6, 5 or 4 is equivalent to a B or C grade
  • A 3, 2 or 1 is equivalent to a D, E or F grade
  • A U mark is judged as ungraded

This summer, the vast majority of GCSEs awarded will have numbers rather than letters.

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