A-Levels are notoriously difficult exams, taken by thousands of students across the UK each year. Students have often been preparing for these exams for at least two years, and in some cases, need certain grades to get into university (or other next steps). It can be really disappointing if, on results day, you do not get the grades you were hoping for. However, there are still other options. One of these is getting your papers remarked, particularly if you are close to a grade boundary. This can be a stressful process, with lots of different things to consider. Many people wonder whether it is worth getting papers remarked in the hope that it will result in a higher grade.
This article contains all the information you need to know about A-Level remarks. From how much it costs to how you apply for one, keep reading to help you decide whether a remark could be worth it.
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Can you get your A-Levels remarked?
In short, yes, you can get your A-Levels remarked. However, this decision needs to be carefully considered. Due to the costs involved, and the fact that there is no guarantee that your mark will change, many people hesitate to apply for a remark.
This article focuses on A-Level remarks, but many more qualifications are eligible for this. Have a look at this article from Think Student for plenty of information about GCSE remarks.
There are a few main things to think about. One of these is which subject you intend to get remarked. Subjects such as English Literature or History are largely essay-based, with subjective marking.
These humanities subjects are therefore more likely to change marks than, for example, A-Level Maths, which is much less dependent on the marker’s opinion.
Along with this, it is important to check how many marks you are away from the grade boundaries. You will get these statistics along with your grades on results day.
For example, you may be more likely to apply for a remark if you are just one mark away from an A, than if you are 10 marks away. Additionally, you may be just a few marks away from the lower grade boundary. You don’t want your paper to be remarked and the grade decreased!
Another key thing to know is which exam board made the paper you want remarked. They will be the ones to manage the remark, and the costs and details of the process vary slightly depending on the exam board.
This page of the AQA website contains all the information about their remark process. For Edexcel, check out this link. If your A-Level uses a different exam board, make sure to use the correct website.
Keep reading for more information about other considerations when getting a remark, such as costs and timings.
How much does it cost to get A-Levels remarked?
Unfortunately, there is a cost to remark papers, due to the extra work it gives the exam board. This cost may vary depending on a range of factors.
Make sure to double check exactly what a remark will cost you based on your exam board, subject and time frame – this information should be readily available on exam board websites. The information below is for the most common exam boards for remarks in 2023.
For all AQA A-Level subjects, a standard remark costs £44.40 for each unit or component. A priority remark – which is essentially the same but is processed faster – costs £52.85. This information can be found on their website here.
Edexcel charges similar prices – a standard remark is £49.20, and a priority remark is £58.70, from this document on the AQA website.
If your overall grade is changed due to the remark, you should be refunded the full amount. However, you can never be sure of a grade change, so don’t rely on getting the money back.
How long does an A-Level remark take?
It can be nerve-wracking waiting for the results of a remark, and you want it to come as soon as possible. Both AQA and Edexcel say that their standard remark process can take up to 20 days.
As mentioned, there is a priority remark service available if you need results quicker. This is often used if a university place depends on the outcome of the remark. For AQA and Edexcel, a priority remark will be completed within 15 days.
This can still sound like a long time to wait. Make sure you stay in contact with the university you need the grade for, so they know you are getting your paper remarked, and how long it is expected to take.
What is the A-Level remark success rate?
The success rate for remarks differs considerably each year. This document from the government website has data from 2014 to 2017.
In 2017, out of the 325 appeals received, 95 resulted in a grade change. This is a success rate of 29%. In comparison, the success rate in 2016 was just 13%.
It is more helpful to look at your individual circumstances rather than overall statistics to see how likely you are to get a grade change. Your chances are higher if you are only one or two marks away from the upper grade boundary, and it is in an essay-based subject.
If you get a remark and your grade does not change, there are several next steps you can take. From gap years to re-sits, there are lots of options available if you are not happy with your results.
How do you apply for an A-Level remark?
Most of the application process for a remark is done through the centre where you sat the exam. This will normally be your school or college. There will be a designated exams officer, as well as other members of staff who can help.
The process generally involves filling out online forms. It is best to ask your exams officer exactly what you need to do to make sure your application goes through. For more information about applying for a remark, have a look at this page from the sixth form website cife.org.uk.
Your exam centre will also be notified once the result of the remark is available. Make sure to stay in contact with the exams officer so you don’t miss any important updates.
When is the A-Level remark deadline?
The earliest you can appeal your A-Level result is on results day itself, when you actually get your grades.
Most people wait to talk to teachers and parents before deciding about appealing, and this is an important part of the process. Equally, it is important not to miss the appeal deadlines.
For AQA, the deadline for 2023 is set at 29th September 2023 for standard remarks, and 24th August for priority remarks. Other exam boards have similar deadlines, and these do not tend to change much each year. You should check with the relevant exam board to make sure you have the correct date.
Of course, the earlier you apply for a remark, the sooner you will get it back. Especially if you need the grades for a university place, it is not recommended to wait until near the deadline.