"...New grading system is being phased in from 2017 onwards, getting your GCSE grades explained..."

The results are in! GCSE grades explained

By Luke Scrutton

GCSE results can be somewhat bewildering, and as the new grading system is being phased in from 2017 onwards, getting your GCSE grades explained is even more of a necessity if you want to make informed decisions concerning your child’s future.


Current GCSE grades explained

Forming part of the UK’s National Qualifications Network, GCSEs are currently graded on a Level 1 or 2 qualification basis.

  • Grades D to G (or, under the new system, 3 to 1) are classed as Level 1 qualifications
  • Grades A* to C (or, from 2017, 9 to 4) are classed as Level 2 qualifications.

The latter, A* to C grades (Level 2 qualifications), are much more desirable; often the only ones considered as passes and frequently insisted upon by both educational institutions and employers.

Grades U, Q and X mean:

  • U – Standing for ‘unclassified’ or ‘ungraded’, the U indicates that a pupil failed to achieve anything worthy of credit, so no grade was awarded.
  • Q – This indicates that the exam board requires clarification and should be contacted by the school.
  • X – An X indicates that either only part of a course was completed or key elements (like coursework, for instance) were missing and an appropriate grade could subsequently not be awarded. An X may also indicate that offending material (typically hate speech) was found within exam papers by an examiner.

Both Q and X are typically temporary grades that will be replaced with regular A* to G or U (9 to 1 or U) grades once the issue necessitating these grades is resolved.


Future GCSE grades explained

The new numerical grading system will be phased in over 4 years, with the first exams (2017) under the new system coming into play for mathematics, English language and English literature only. A timetable showing which subjects will be affected is available at Gov.UK.

Under the new system, a ‘good pass’ (formerly a Grade C) would be a 5, which will be comparable to a high C or low B, so getting a good pass will be more difficult. Grade 1 will be the lowest grade and grades 9 to 7 will replace the current A* and A grades (with grade 9, which is often referred to as an A**, expected to be achieved by only the top 3% of pupils).


What to do if grades are low

If your GSCE grades were ‘below par’ and you wish to re-sit them, or if you are preparing for exams in the coming year/s, you can make sure you get the results you want or need by getting extra tuition with a private tutor. We here at Genie Tutors are dedicated to helping pupils get the grades they desire. You can find a tuition centre near you here, or you can get in touch with us to have your GCSE grades explained in more detail and/or discuss your options by requesting a call-back here.


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