What Do P1 and P2 Mean on GCSE Exam Results?

In GCSE by Think Student EditorLeave a Comment

It is natural to feel stressed as a student, especially when it comes to getting your exam results! However, having as much knowledge as possible about how the exam results work can give you one less thing to worry about! Your hard work throughout the school year will result in a grade which is reflective of that effort and it is frustrating when you receive your long-awaited exam results and are unable to comprehend it. So, in this article I will be breaking down what exactly P1 and P2 mean, so when you receive your exam results you won’t need to hunt down the meanings of them! 

To answer the question, P1 and P2 refer to the level at which you passed the specific subject at. For example, P1 means pass at Level 1 and therefore P2 means pass at Level 2. These are commonly used for BTECs or Edexcel functional skills courses which may include a speaking exam. Your exam results will mainly consist of the 9-1 grading system.  

Above clearly concludes what the P1 and P2 grades mean however continue reading this article to find out more about what they are equivalent to and how they affect your GCSE results.  

What is the Current GCSE Grading System? 

To clear up any confusion, your GCSE results will be in the typical 9-1 format, with 9 being the highest possible grade and 1 being the lowest possible grade. These grades were issued for the first time in 2017, replacing the old A*- G system, for GCSE students who had started the course in 2015. 

It is important to understand that the new system does not directly correlate with the old system, as its purpose was to offer greater differentiation for advanced and higher achieving students. Therefore, a 9 is equivalent to a grade greater than an A*, thus removing any limitations for students who could reach it. If you would like to read more about what ‘mark equivalent’ means on your exam results, take a look at this useful article 

When Are P1 and P2 Grades Used for GCSEs?  

The 9-1 grades, described above, are used for your core GCSE subjects, constituting of GCSE Maths, English Language, English Literature and Science, as well as your options which you selected either in Year 8 or Year 9 such as GCSE Languages (French, German, Spanish), Arts and Drama. The way in which P1 and P2 grades fit into this whole scheme is slightly different. P1 and P2 grades are used to grade BTEC qualifications or Edexcel functional skills, which include media, applied science, engineering and healthcare.  

What Do P1 and P2 Actually Mean? 

Put shortly, P1 means a Pass at Level 1 and P2 means a Pass at Level 2. To put this into perspective, with regards to the old GCSE grading system, a Pass at Level 1 is roughly equivalent to an F grade and a Pass at Level 2 is roughly equivalent to a C grade.  

However, you are not limited to either P1 or P2 grades. As you may be aware already, common grading systems include three different types of qualification: Pass, Merit or Distinction. With the latter being the highest grade that you can possibly achieve for this type of course, a multitude of different grades are available. Ranked in order from lowest to highest, the BTEC grades are as follows: P1, M1, D1, P2, M2, D2 with the latter being equivalent to the old GCSE grade system A.  

What Does the Number Represent in P1 and P2? 

Whilst we have already established that P1 and P2 are BTEC qualifications which are used instead of the typical 9-1 grades that you will be expecting to receive this summer, you may still be curious as to what these grades actually mean and what the grades reflect.  

A P1 grade (or a Pass at Level 1) is the lowest of the set of grades which you can achieve. It means a Pass at Level 1. But what is Level 1 actually representative of? Level 1 is technically the ‘lower’ quartile grade and is easier to achieve than Level 2.  

Some schools offer the chance to achieve an even higher grade which is a Level 3 and the factor which differentiates the other two Levels from the Level 3 is that they are normal GCSE courses and therefore are the equivalent of one GCSE.  

The Level 3 on the other hand is equivalent to an AS Level (this is the same as half of an A-Level) and therefore the more advanced work put in during the course constitutes to greater recognition by achieving a higher grade. As you would expect, the grades that you can achieve at Level 3 are P3, M3 and D3 which stand for Pass at Level 3, Merit at Level 3 and Distinction at Level 3.  

How Do You Achieve a Good Grade in a BTEC Course? 

Whilst this question clearly can be answered by saying ‘revise more’ the nature of the BTEC courses allow more than just academic-central learning as they tend to be more hands-on and practical, for example the speaking and presentation as part of the GCSE Speaking exam require practice of good communication and effective researching as well as memorisation of the relevant subject knowledge – this can be very appealing to future employers as it provides a certificate validating any skills you claim to have. 

You can refer to the Pearson qualifications website for more detailed descriptions on the grades as well as how they are calculated, but to simplify it, being able to tick off the success criteria in each of the requirements of the course will guarantee you a good grade. Your school will provide you with more information on how to succeed depending on which course you take.  

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