Applying to university can be a stressful time for students, and one of the key parts is getting your predicted grades. These help you to know which sixth forms and universities you can apply to, as well as helping you understand how you are generally getting on in your courses. In fact, many students see predicted grades as a wake-up call, showing them how well they are doing and what they can expect in the summer if they keep working as they are now. Overall, predicted grades are a very important part of your school and college career. In this article we will inform you on when you will get predicted grades, as well as what the process for finding them looks like.
Most GCSE students will receive final predicted grades around November/December time of Year 11. However, this will depend on your school, and when your GCSE mocks happen. You will likely receive lots of reports throughout your GCSEs, which will give a working idea of what grades you could expect to be predicted. These are often referred to as target grades.
Predicted grades for your A-Levels are submitted along with your UCAS application if you are going to university, so you will receive these grades before the UCAS application deadline. This deadline is in January for the majority of courses.
While this should have given you a short answer to your questions, please read on for more details on when predicted grades are given for GCSE and A-Level students.
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When are predicted grades finalised?
GCSE predicted grades are typically finalised after your final set of mocks, which are usually done around December. For more information on when GCSE mocks are, check out this Think Student article. These are often given in a report and then discussed either during a parents’ evening or individually with your teachers. In this meeting you can express any concerns and talk about what you need to work on to get that grade.
A-Level students are slightly different, as their grades are needed for UCAS applications. As such, the date when your predicted grades are finalised usually depends on when you apply to university. Early applicants such as Oxford, Cambridge and Medicine students will get theirs before the October deadline, and other students usually slightly later, in January.
When are your GCSE predicted grades calculated?
GCSE predicted grades are based on a number of factors. For example, SATs scores from Year 6 are usually taken into account as part of the grade, as well as general performance in the subject throughout high school. Of course, end of topic tests from your GCSE courses and any mocks will have the biggest influence on predicted grades.
Schools actually start predicting grades a long time before they are finalised, usually officially at the start of Year 10. This is to help them decide what target to give you in reports, as well as help decide if you are taking foundation or higher exams in some subjects. These grades can be completely different to what you are finally predicted, so do not panic if they look disappointing at the start.
For more information about how predicted grades are calculated, this Think Student article has all the details.
When are your A-Level predicted grades calculated?
A-Level predicted grades are usually worked out based on a baseline from your GCSE grades, as well as end of topic tests and mocks that have been part of your A-Level. Students usually start receiving predictions around January of Year 12, typically after a set of mocks or end of unit tests, but these are never finalised until just before you submit your UCAS, typically in October-January of Year 13.
Some schools calculate predicted grades exclusively in the winter term of Year 13, in order to be balanced to students and avoid pre-conceptions from the start of the course biasing the grades. This means they are usually based on summer mocks. If you are concerned about bias in your grades, please speak to your head of year or teachers, who can help.
For more information about when predicted grades are submitted to UCAS, please read this Think Student article.
What should you do if you are disappointed with your predicted grades?
Getting predicted grades can be both exciting and scary. For some students it is confirmation that teachers have seen their hard work, and that it is paying off. However, for other students it can be demoralising and scary to get grades that they were not expecting, perhaps feeling they are too high or low to achieve.
If you receive your predicted grades and are disappointed, it is important to speak to your teachers. They can help you to understand why they predicted what they did, as well as what you could do to improve. Some teachers hold subject clinics, or even tutor students who wish to improve.
Overall, predicted grades are not the end-all of any exam series. If you are disappointed, remember that if you work hard you can likely achieve far more, and many students do gain better grades than what they are predicted.