GCSEs are stressful, and sometimes, you may not get the best result, or the result you were hoping for. However, in the event that you do receive a lower grade than you think you deserve, there are many different options for you. One of the reasons you may have been awarded with what you feel is an unfair result is a marking error. It’s vitally important to know what your options are in the case of an unexpected grade so that you can do everything possible to improve it.
In short, yes you can get a GCSE remark. If you genuinely believe that your grade is unfair representation of what you produced in the exam, you can request a review of your GCSE paper. There are several steps you must take, one of which is to contact your secondary school. They will then contact the exam board regarding your paper. When getting a remark, there’s the possibility for an improvement in your grade, but there is also the potential for it to go down as well. As a result, your grade could either increase or decrease.
Despite this, there are many questions raised you should raise on this topic such as whether your grade will decrease, how much it will cost and what happens if you are unsatisfied with the remark. Keep reading to find the answers to all these questions and more.
Can you get a GCSE exam remarked?
The simple answer is yes, it is definitely possible to have a GCSE exam remarked. Remarks are an important part of the exam process because, whilst examiners are good at what they do, they occasionally make mistakes. These can lead to errors in marking which wrongly change your grade.
In order to get a paper remarked, first contact the school that you sat the paper with. They are able to contact the exam board and request that the paper be remarked. The exam board will then remark your exam and replace the original mark with the new one.
By doing this, your mark will probably change, and there’s also the chance that your overall grade will too. However, there is no guarantee that the mark will go up. If it goes down, you cannot ask for the original grade back.
After the remark, if you still think there is an error, you can ask your school to appeal the result. The exam board will look at your work yet again and then decide on whether a correction decide is needed.
There is a deadline that needs to be respected when sending off appeal and remark requests. Make sure you’re entering before the deadline, or your application will not be considered. Read more about the deadlines on this government page.
How much does it cost to remark your GCSE?
When getting a paper remarked, you must pay an initial fee which works as a deposit. If your mark stays the same or goes down, the exam board gets to keep this money. However, if the mark or grade goes up, you will be completely refunded the money.
The fee really depends on the number of papers being remarked, the exam board and the exam centre (usually your school) where the GCSE was completed. Usually, the cost of a remark is upward of £30.
You should take your budget into consideration. More importantly, you should be completely confident that the paper deserved more marks. If you simply appeal because you want a higher grade but don’t genuinely believe you deserve it, you could lose out on your money.
Will your grade change after a GCSE remark?
If there has been a marking error on your GCSE, then most likely, your mark will change. If enough marks are added, then it could even turn out that the overall grade changes. However, it can increase, or decrease. In the past, decreases in grades was rare, but recent changes to regulation mean that this is now far more likely to happen.
According to this article by Cife, only 20% of all papers challenged are changed to a higher mark. Knowing this, you should carefully weigh up the pros and cons to calculate the risk of the remark.
The best idea is to speak to your teachers. They can view both your individual mark for each paper and the grade boundaries. Using this, you can assess whether a remark will be worth it.
If you are on the lower end of the grade boundary, you may risk going down a grade. On the other hand, if you are just a few marks off the next grade boundary, then the risk may seem worth it.
Is it worth getting a GCSE remark?
With all these different risks and benefits in mind, the question to ask is whether it’s really worth getting a remark. The following pros and cons summarise the most important factors to consider:
- Your grade could increase – If your mark changes, your grade can also change if it goes over the grade boundary.
- However, it could also decrease – If the marks are lowered and pass over the grade boundary, your grade will go down and you lose your money.
- There is a fee, and you may not get refunded – The initial fee of around £30 is only paid if your mark goes up and if not, you lose the money.
- It takes time to get a remark – Remarks can take a while, so making applications for sixth form and college may be delayed, complicating the start time for A-Level study.
You can find out more about remarks for one specific exam board by reading this article by AQA.
Can you re-sit your GCSEs?
A re-sit is effectively where you complete a set of GCSE exams in the subjects you wish to retake. This could be because you failed the first time, did not get your desired grade, or your remark did not go as planned.
You can retake your GCSEs if you wish to, however, it is not necessary unless you are in one of the following situations:
- You received a grade 3 or lower and are planning to study a subject full time next year which requires a pass
- You received a grade 3 or lower and will be studying part-time next year, although in this situation you may take a functional skills qualification instead
- You got a grade 2 or below in any subject, in which case you may also want to take a functional skills qualification
- You are going on to study for an apprenticeship where a certain grade in Maths or English is required for programme
- You achieved lower than a grade 4 in Maths or English
If you fall under any of these brackets, you must re-sit any papers which need higher grades. Check out this guide from the National Extensions College to see if you’re eligible for GCSE re-sits.
How can you re-sit your GCSE paper?
There are quite a few options if you are looking to re-sit your GCSEs. If you want to start from scratch and learn the course again, you can enrol at a school or college. You will then re-sit the exam at the end of the year.
If you have already started sixth form or college education and need to study for retakes, you will study the GCSE subjects alongside your A-Levels or BTECs. If you only need to re-sit a couple of subjects, this is a great option. However, if you need to retake more than two subjects, postponing the start of A-Level study will allow you to keep on top of the workload.
If you do not want to work in a classroom environment for your re-sits, you can become a private candidate instead. You then have as much or as little time as you want to prepare for the exams. You have far more flexibility, especially if the classroom was the issue the first-time round.
When it comes to the practical exam, students need to register with a school or exam centre and sit the exam at the same time as other students. When you take your re-sit depends on your paper. Have a look at this Think Student article to find out more about when you can take your exams and at what age this is possible.
How much does it cost to re-sit a GCSE?
Generally, the cost of a re-sit is around £35 per paper. This only applies to optional retakes, so if you are re-sitting GCSE English or Maths as you did achieve a pass grade, this can be done at a local college for free.
If you are taking a course, either online or in-person, to try and improve your grade, you should consider the cost. This fee can become quite expensive, especially if you require a full year’s worth of tuition. It could into the high hundreds, or even £1000.
What happens if your grade does not improve in a GCSE re-sit?
You can re-sit your GCSE exams as many times as you want within your budget. Up until the age of 19, you are legally required to re-sit your Maths and English GCSE exams until you can achieve a grade 4 or higher. No other subject requires compulsory re-sits, but there is still no limit to the number of times you can re-sit each exam.
You should keep in mind your time management and how busy your schedule is but as well as your budget. By putting in some extra time and effort, you will end up wasting less time and money on re-sits. Check out this Think Student article to read more about the limits on GCSE re-sits.
If you achieve a grade which is worse than your original score, the re-sit will be disregarded, and your certificate will list the higher, original grade. Many students of the past have not been able to improve their grades through re-sits. For this reason, Ofqual recently implemented the change. You can also read more about how grades are selected in this Think Student article.