Every parent wants their child to reach their full potential with their GCSE’s but making sense of the results isn’t always easy.

We’ve pulled together a definitive guide to GCSE results and results day to support families during this time.

GCSE 2023 Key Dates

  • 23rd August 2023: Results released to schools.

  • 24th August 2023: GCSE results day for students.

  • 7th September 2023: Deadline to request priority of the marked paper.

  • 28th September: Deadline to request a review of marking.

New GCSE Grades Explained: 9-1 Marks

Curious about how the GCSE grading system works? Here’s how the numbers work across the different exam boards and what their equivalents would be…

  • 9 = A*

  • 8 = low A* / high A

  • 7 = A

  • 6 = B

  • 5 = low B / high C (strong pass)

  • 4 = C (standard pass)

  • 3 = between grades D and E

  • 2 = between grades E and F

  • 1 = between grades F and G

  • U = U (fail) 

*Please note that Wales, Scotland and NI will differ*

Why a new grade scale has been introduced

The new GCSE grade system was created to allow more differentiation among the higher grades. Now, grades between 4-6 cover what was grades B and C and grade 7-9 cover what was A* and A. Given the new changes, only around 20% of students who achieve a grade 7 or higher will be able to achieve a grade 9. This creates more distinction among the highest earning students. 

What is the GCSE pass mark?

The standard pass mark for the GCSE is a 4 and a strong pass is a 5. Although getting a 4 will across all your exams will allow you to pass the GCSEs, some colleges require minimum grades of a 5 or a 6 as entry requirements for their institutions. It is important to identify early on which universities students will be aiming for to understand what grades they require.

Changes to GCSE exams

There’s no doubt that the Covid-19 pandemic caused a lot of disruption to our lives. Not only did it affect our day-to-day, but the pandemic also changed the way GCSE grading was conducted for a couple of years as there were many students that were out of school for extended periods of time. As we head towards exam results day in 2023, it’s great to celebrate that schools will be reinstating the pre-pandemic grading scale. Unlike 2022, this year there will be no advanced information for students in England. However, students in Northern Ireland will have advanced information available. While the change may be seen as a challenge, we are excited that education is returning to normal and we can celebrate that through testing our knowledge with GCSEs.

Invigilator stands over student doing an exam

The importance of mock GCSE exams

One of the best ways to study for the GCSE exams is to practice sitting mock exams. Mock exams provide  very beneficial training for students to put themselves under the exam pressure and solve given a set timings. This allows students to test their skills and identify their weak points and the areas they need to work on the most.

Although GCSE mock exams provide one of the best revision methods, there are ample others that students can try out. Have a look at our GCSE revision guide for more tips or explore GCSE tutoring in maths and other subjects to help students perform at their optimal level.

When is GCSE results day 2023?

The GCSE exam results day is announced to be on August 24th 2023. Waiting for GCSE results to come out can be very nerve-wracking and may cause a bit of exam results stress, so be sure to discuss some stress coping mechanisms and remind them that everything will be okay, no matter what happens.

How will students receive their GCSE results?

The GCSE exam results are typically available to pick up from schools early in the morning. This can differ from school to school so make sure you or your child asks for the best way to pick up their GCSE exam results. They can also access their GCSE exam results online.

What do GCSE results mean?

The top grades for the GCSE exams range between 7-9, with only 20% of students achieving a grade of 9. If students get a grade of 5-6, this means that they have a strong pass and if their grade is 4, then they have a standard pass. Unfortunately, if they receive a grade below 4, this means they have not passed the GCSE exam. 

Remember, a lower score on the GCSE exam doesn’t have to mean that they've failed. At the end of the day, what truly matters is how much they were able to learn from the entire journey.

When will students get their GCSE certificate?

Typically, the GCSE certificate will be sent to the school 3 months after the results day. Having said that once students get their results they can start making plans about any future courses if they want to. Please visit our life after GCSE guide to explore next steps.

Disappointing GCSE results: what options are available?

Most young people will experience a disappointing GCSE grade or GCSE exam result.

It can be especially hard to deal with the disappointment when your child feels they have put everything into the exam.

  • Firstly it’s important for your child to know they are not alone. Don’t try and analyse what went wrong immediately or jump to appealing the result. Give them and yourself time to accept that it didn’t go to plan.

  • Challenges like this will come along in life and it’s a test of our resilience to be able to pick ourselves up and move forward.

  • Do something that makes your child feel good and when some of the emotion has died down discuss what the next steps might look like.

  • Make a plan together of what the new path forward looks like.

Dealing with GCSE stress can be difficult, so it is very important that you are constantly taking care of your mental wellbeing.

How to appeal GCSE grades

If students think there’s a mistake in the exam grading, they can always appeal your child’s GCSE grades.

First, you can ask their school to review the grade. If you still think there is a mistake, you can request that their school asks the exam board to appeal the grade. Finally you can appeal the grade by asking Ofqual to review it, which would be the last possible resort in the appeal process.

You can read more about the process here for EnglandScotlandWales, and Northern Ireland.

GCSE resits

If students are unsatisfied with their GCSE exam grade and/or the appeal, they will have the opportunity to resit the exam in the following series. It is highly recommended that you speak with your tutor or teachers at school to identify whether this is the right step for your child.

Advice on GCSE resits

Retaking an exam should not be perceived negatively. Instead, students should perceive it as another chance to attain their desired score and to take them a step closer to what they would like to achieve.

When Are GCSE Resits 2023

In 2023 students will be able to retake their GCSE exams during the usual exam season, so results will be released at the same time as other GCSE exams. However maths and English GCSE exam resits will take place in November 2023, with January 2024 being the resit release date.

For more information about GCSE resits, check with the exam board students will be sitting their exam with.

Beyond GCSEs: Next steps

Teenagers talking in the hall at school

What grades do you need to get into sixth form?

The entry requirements to get into sixth form is that you achieve GCSE grades of 4-9 in all of your subjects. This entry requirement is set so that the level of students entering can be matched across the country. 

Do universities look at the GCSE results?

The short answer is that it highly depends. Some universities will only look at student's A-level grades and application before they consider accepting. But at more competitive universities, they will look at student's GCSE results to see how consistent their academic career has been.

It is important that students understand the requirements for the universities they're intending to apply for to have the full picture.

Discover our GCSE maths programme

You now know the most important information about the GCSEs. Have a look at our GCSE maths tuition programme and talk to us about your needs.

It’s never too late or too early to begin, the most important thing is that you take a step forward!

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