GCSE Resits & Appeals: The Complete Guide

With an expected rise in the number of GCSE resits and appeals this year, this is your step by step guide to improving your grades.
GCSE Resits & Appeals: The Complete Guide
By Carli Allan
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Exam boards are expecting a record number of GCSE resits and appeals against GCSE grades after a fall in the number of top scores this year.

There is nothing more disheartening than a lower grade than you expected – particularly if plenty of hard work has gone into pursuing that grade and everything pointed towards achieving it.

If you want to retake a GCSE, to either meet a college course requirement or simply to improve your grade, you can do a resit.

If you think that your exam results are wrong – whether you need specific grades to get a college place or because you feel an injustice – you can ask the school or college to request a review from the exam board. 

GCSE Resits

You can retake GCSE English language and maths in November. For all other subjects, you need to wait for the next summer series in 2024.

The deadline for applying for a November resit is Wednesday, October 4 2023. You will receive your results on Thursday, January 11 2024.

If you achieve a lower grade in your resit, you can choose to use the higher of the two grades.

GCSE Appeals

If you're thinking of appealing your grades, here's how to go through the appeals process - and what to consider.

1.    You won’t be able to submit a request for a review of the result yourself. You'll need to contact your school, college, exam board or the national careers service exam results helpline (0800 100 900). They will advise you on your options (remember it's in your school's best interest that results are a fair reflection of a student’s abilities, so if they really feel that the grade is accurate then it’s worth listening) and request that the relevant exam board reviews the marking of the exam entry. 

2.    The school or college can also request the exam paper so that the student/teacher can check/understand how the grade was calculated. This is a good option for personal satisfaction but would delay the process of securing a university place if it is dependent on a particular grade in the subject.  

3.    There is a deadline to submit appeals by – Thursday, September 7 2023 for a priority review of marking and Thursday, September 28 for the standard review. 

4.    At this stage, it’s definitely worth considering a few key factors before deciding to go ahead with an appeal. 

  • Firstly – which subject are you asking to be remarked? English literature and humanities subjects are largely essay-based with subjective marking; they are, therefore, more likely (although not guaranteed) to change than subjects like mathematics which are more dependent on precise answers and not on opinion. 
  • Secondly – you will receive a breakdown of how many marks away from grade boundaries you are along with your results so check this carefully. It is more likely that a paper will be remarked in your favour if it is just one mark below the grade you want than if it is several marks lower.
  • Thirdly – although you’re looking for a higher grade remarking can result in a lower grade too, so be careful if you are only a few marks away from the lower boundary mark!

5.    There is a cost associated with remarking exams, with each exam board varying slightly. Check what you will be asked to pay and expect a figure between £44 and £50 per paper if opting for a standard remark or between £52 and £59 if you speed up the process and choose the priority option. 

6.    Getting the results of a remark can take some time which can be fairly stressful, particularly if you are relying on it for a college place. If this is the case, explain to the college that you are waiting on an appeal and give them an idea of when this will be complete; they may agree to hold your place until a review decision has been made. 

Your exam board will aim to process your appeal as soon as possible, but it will depend on the number of appeals your exam board has to process. On average, it takes approximately 20 days for a new result, or 15 days if you opt for the faster priority service.  

7.    And it doesn’t end there. Following a reassessment of grades, if your school still believes that there has been an error in marking then there is a 30-day period during which further appeals can be made. To do this takes time, dedication and a really strong conviction that the result is unfair – it certainly isn’t a decision to be made lightly. 

8.    If you still don't get the grade you hoped for after the marking review then you can choose to resit the exam. Obviously this means delaying a college place as resits will have to be taken in the autumn (English or maths) or in the following summer exam series. 

The process listed here applies to England. For detailed information about appeals in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, click here.

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