Getting your GCSE results is a nerve wrecking process, believe me, I’ve been there. However, if you don’t get the grades that you feel you deserved, it may even feel devastating. If you really think that something is wrong with the grades that you received in comparison to your GCSE performance, you may even consider appealing these grades to get the grades that better suit how you feel you achieved. However, you may be asking yourself if this is even worth it at all.
In short, whether appealing your GCSE results is worth it will depend on you, your situation and what you consider worth it. This is because for years, over half of the upheld appeals led to grade changes and so you may feel it’s worth it if it can you a higher grade. However, it may not be wort it as you could end up with a worse grade and the costs involved may not be worth it as they can be between from about £114 to over £250 for a single stage of the process.
Continue reading to learn more about the reasons why appealing your GCSE results may or may not be worth it. This article will tell you more about why you might want to appeal, how your grade may change if you do appeal and the potential costs of appealing.
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How does appealing GCSE results work?
Before you can make your own decision about whether appealing your GCSE results will be worth it for you, you need to know how the appealing process works. This is particularly because it can help you to understand if this process if worth going through.
The process for appealing your GCSE results slightly differs based on where you live. These differences are primarily to do with the deadlines and the costs involved.
In England, the first thing that you will need to do if you want to appeal your GCSE results is contact your school. Your school will then get in touch with the exam board and ask them to review the marking to see if your grade can be changed.
If you still don’t agree with your GCSE results after they have been appealed, you can try to appeal again. Once again, you will need to contact your school and have them contact the exam board on your behalf.
In the case that you feel your appeal was handled wrong, you have the option to contact Ofqual. If this is the case, Ofqual will look into how the appeal was handled.
In Wales and Northern Ireland, the process is roughly the same. Once again, students must talk to their school if they want to appeal as the school is the one who will contact the exam board. However, the school may also ask to see the exam scripts as well as asking the exam board to check that the marking was done correctly.
Regardless of where you live, students will only need to pay fees if there is no change to their grade. However, the fees may slightly differ. You can learn more about these fees in its respective section below.
To learn more about all of this, check out this article by The Independent.
Can you get a worse grade after appealing GCSE results?
The hope when appealing your GCSE results is obviously that you come out with a better grade than you were initially given. However, this may not always be the case.
When you appeal your GCSE results, your grade will either change or be confirmed. If it does change, this can be positive or negative, meaning that it is possible that you can come out with a worse grade after appealing your GCSE result.
If you do end up with a lowered grade as a result of appealing, you will not be able to go back to the grade that you initially got. To learn more about this, check out this guide by the government.
Due to this, you may feel that it’s not worth appealing your GCSE results due to the risk of getting a worse grade than before and being unable to change it back. However, if you’ve already not received a passing grade, getting a worse grade wouldn’t affect you quite as much as you don’t have the GCSE either way.
What percentage of students who appeal their GCSE results get their grade changed?
Another way of assessing whether or not appealing your GCSE results will be worth it, is by looking at how frequently it pays off. In this case, this will be the number or percentage of students who actually end up with a different GCSE grade as a result of appealing.
For the 2021- 2022 academic year, there were 1,090 appeals of GCSE results in total but only 635 of them were upheld. Only 470 of them actually led to a change in the student’s GCSE result by at least one grade. This was 74% of the upheld appeals and about 43% of the total number of GCSE appeals in the 2021- 2022 academic year.
For the 2020- 2021 academic year, there were many more appeals of GCSE results as there were 9,225 in total and 3,670 of these were upheld. 3,415 of these led to changes in GCSE results by at least one grade.
This was 93% of the upheld appeals and about 37% of the total number of appeals. These figures are much higher likely due to the fact that students didn’t sit national, standardised GCSE exams in the summer of 2021.
In the last pre-COVID academic year, 2018- 2019, there was a total of 775 appeals for GCSE results with only 435 of these being upheld. Only 275 of these actually ended up changing the student’s GCSE result by a grade or more. This was only 63% of the number of upheld appeals and about 35% of the total number of appeals.
To learn more about these figures, check out this guide by the government.
As in these examples, over half of the number of upheld appeals led to a change in GCSE results by at least one grade. This could suggest that appealing your GCSE results is worth it due to it being fairly probable that you will get a grade change if your appeal is upheld.
However, if it’s not, this may suggest that it’s not worth it as the percentage of appeals leading to grade changes from the total number of appeals is much lower.
Does it cost money to appeal a GCSE grade?
A major part of whether or not appealing your GCSEs is worth it or not is the costs involved. The short answer is yes, appealing your GCSE results can cost money.
However, if your appeal is upheld, you won’t have to pay the fees. For more on this, check out this guide by OCR.
Also, just how much appealing your GCSE results will cost will depend on several factors. These include the exam board, and what stage or type of appeal you have requested. Look at the following sections to learn more about the fees for appealing with the main GCSE exam boards.
How much does it cost to appeal a GCSE grade with AQA?
For AQA, you will be charged for each stage of the appealing process. The first stage is the preliminary stage and is the first time that you have appealed.
This will be done as mentioned above through your school, unless you’re a private candidate. For 2023, the first stage of appealing costs £114.10.
The second stage is the appeal hearing. This appeal hearing is if you’re unhappy with the results of the preliminary hearing and then choose to appeal again. This will once again be done through your school but instead will be reviewed by an appeal panel.
For 2023, the second stage, the appeal hearing will cost £195.60 for GCSE results. To learn more about this, check out this page on the AQA website.
How much does it cost to appeal a GCSE grade with Pearson Edexcel?
For Pearson Edexcel, there is once again the preliminary appeal and the appeal hearing. The preliminary appeal should cost £140 per component at the maximum.
For the appeal hearing, the maximum fee is £180. Once again, these figures are correct for the 2022- 2023 academic year. To learn more about this, check out this page by Pearson Edexcel.
How much does it cost to appeal a GCSE grade with OCR?
For OCR, the preliminary hearing fee is slightly more than the first two exam boards as it will cost students £175.50. The appeals hearing for GCSE results is also substantially higher in cost than the first two exam boards at £250.75.
These figures are correct for exams that take place within the 2022- 2023 academic year. To learn more about this information, check out this guide by OCR.
How much does it cost to appeal a GCSE grade with WJEC and Eduqas?
For WJEC and their English exam board, Eduqas, the preliminary appeal is known as the preliminary investigation. This preliminary investigation will cost £120 for GCSE results. The appeal hearing will cost students £200 for GCSE results.
This information is true for the June 2023 exam series. To learn more about these figures and the fees of post-results services, check out this guide by WJEC.