The GCSE Grading System Explained | Aim High Private Tuition

The GCSE Grading System Explained

If exams weren’t already stressful enough, now you have to think about a new numbered grading system. Most parents would have been familiar with GCSE grades being in between an A* to G. with C being in the middle.

But now the scale has changed to numbers between 1 to 9 when 1 is equivalent to a grade G (the lowest grade) to grade 9 being an A** ( yes, a grade higher than an A*).

Luckily, we’re showing you everything you need to know about GCSE grading in 2023 and what exactly the examiners are looking for! We hope this makes studying more efficient and your child can walk out of that exam knowing, and feeling like they’ve crushed it!

What do the students need to know?

What is a pass?

According to BBC News, students require a minimum of a 4 grade to pass. 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 (think of it like a low grade C or a C minus).

If you can’t get a minimum of grade 4 in Maths and English then you will be required to re-sit these exams in college/sixth form.

But of course, that’s the minimum, Most of the students we tutor at Aim High Private Tuition aspire to get grades well above those.

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What is required for sixth form or colleges?

Many sixth-forms and higher education institutes require  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 mainly based on how students perform in exams with fewer coursework projects throughout the years to make up the final grade. Students receive a final number grade between 1 to 9  based on their performance in summer exams.

The reason for the change from the letter grades (A* to G) to the numbers (1-9) of the GCSE system was to bring England closer in line with other 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 are intended to be harder in order to identify the students that are on course to achieve a grade 9.

Having a lot more content to cover and harder questions to answer in order to get the top grades means that we find that many children need extra support beyond school which is why they use services like Aim High Private Tuition. We provide help from our expert tutors and will help to boost their GCSE grades by a minimum of 1-2 grades in half the time.

GCSE grading system (numbers to letters)

The grading system now includes 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 above image shows a visual representation of the letter to number translation.

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

How to improve grades?

If you are worried about your child’s grades or are looking for a way to improve them, Aim High Tuition can help you! Head to our homepage and contact us, you’ll be able to see how we can help students jump up 2 or more grades in half the time with the help of our expert teachers and methodology.

Improve your grades

Here are a few tips for students on how to improve your grades,

Ask for help

If there is something that 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 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 resources 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 rather than later, or even worse, 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. Find some past papers online and have a go! This could highlight the types 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. Minimise 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 your 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.

Get some private tuition with the help of our experts in Maths, English and Science at Aim High Tuition. Our teachers are subjects specialists and they will guide you through the learning process and ensure you secure the best possible marks in you GCSEs.
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