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GCSE grading system explained

Updated: Jun 6, 2022

If the exams weren`t already tricky or stressful enough, now you have to think about how they are marked...

Luckily, we're showing you everything you need to know about GCSE grading in 2022 and what exactly the examiners are looking for! We hope this makes studying more efficient and you can walk out of that exam knowing, and feeling like you crushed it!

GCSE exam results and grades
GCSE exam grades

GCSE grades/grading systems explained. What do you (the student) need to know?

What is a pass?

According to BBC News, students now need a minimum of a 4 to of passed that exam. 4 is considered a standard pass and 5 a strong pass. This means that a candidate who gets nine grade-4s has, technically, passed all their exams.

What is required for further education?

Many sixth-forms and higher education institutes will insist on a minimum number of 5 and above passes for entry and acceptance. You should check with the institute that you plan on attending and for the courses you desire to study at a higher level if they have a minimum acceptance requirement, so you can best prepare yourself.

How are grades awarded?

Since 2017, grades have been awarded predominantly based on how you behave in exams. There is less coursework throughout the years to make up your final grade. You’ll receive a final number grade based on how you perform in this exam.

Part of a complete overhaul of the GCSE system was carried out to bring England closer in line with the top-performing education jurisdictions around the world.

While grading is no harsher than under the previous system, the GCSE curriculum is now designed to have more content and some of the questions in the exam papers (when they are used) are intended to be harder, to identify students on course to gain a grade 9.

How to improve grades?

If you are worried about your grades or how to improve them, we know lots of ways to help you! We even have a full website dedicated to helping you with additional Maths, English, and French. just head to

We even have dedicated articles focusing on exam and revision techniques, how to prepare for your exams and what to expect, so you feel 100% prepared and your grades are the best possible.

Improving your grades

Here are a few tips on how to improve your grades, and for more information, head to our website.

  • Ask for help.

If there is something you do not understand or you are not 100% sure about, we guarantee you are not the only one. Do not be afraid to put your hand up in class, or ask for some 1-1 time with your teachers. They will do everything they can to help you understand and pass your exams.

  • Extra study never hurt

Take some initiative. If you want to feel as prepared as possible for your exams, then study hard. Study in your free time and use a range of materials and sources so you are completely covered. Exams do not last forever and you will have your social life back just in time for summer.

  • Revise efficiently

It is true that there can be too much of a good thing. Although revising for many hours might feel like the right thing to do, give yourself regular breaks and balance all that hard work with some relaxation time. This gives your brain the valuable time it needs to digest and absorb all that information and convert it to memory. If after your break you can not remember something, it is better to find that out now than in the exam! Go back and revise those areas again. This repetition will help it to stay in your long-term memory.

  • Practice makes perfect

It is always a good idea to familiarise yourself with the exam paper layout before the real thing. You can ask your exam centre which board your exam will be under; Ed Excel, AQA, BBC, TES, OfQual. Find some past papers online and have a go! This could highlight the styles of questions you need to work harder on and gives you a good idea of how long you will have in the real thing. Ask your teachers to mark it for you or look the answers up for previous exams online.

  • Naps are a good thing!

Your brain is filling up with so much information and exam periods can be highly stressful. Minimize potential stress or anxiety by getting a good night of sleep. Without a good night's sleep, you could find it hard to concentrate, take in information and add to worries. Getting a full 7-9 hours per night and going to bed at a reasonable time will get you on the right road to boosting those grades.

GCSE grading system (numbers to letters)

gcse numbers to letters grading system
GCSE grading system

The grading system now consists of numbers, rather than the typical lettering system. These new GCSE grades are from 9-1. With 9 Being the highest score and 1 the lowest (not including U for ungraded). A score of 9, 8, and 7 are equivalent to an A* and A.

The following image shows a visual representation of the letter to number translation.

We hope this gave you a good understanding of how GCSE exams in 2022 will be graded, The new numbers from letters grading system, and everything you need to know so you can feel the most prepared. Remember to head to our website for other articles to help you pass your exams and for additional help and resources.

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1 commento

"now need a minimum of a 4 to of passed that exam". Ouch. That doesn't inspire confidence. You mean "now need a minimum of a 4 to HAVE passed that exam"

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