GCSE results are in!

First of all, congratulations to the thousands of pupils receiving their GCSE results today. Now that some GCSE papers in England are being graded numerically on a scale from 9 to 1 it can be tricky working out what the results mean. There is lots of help online from the AQA. They have put together some postcards and videos to explain how it works. For a quick breakdown you can use the chart below which shows how the new GCSE grades compare with the old.

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How the grading system works

New exams have been developed and are being phased in over a number of years. This year’s students were the first to sit exams in the new GCSES in English (literature and language) and maths. Another 20 subjects will have 9 to 1 grading in 2018, with most others following in 2019.

Contrary to what you might expect, 1 is not the highest grade, 9 is. However, 9 will be awarded to fewer pupils than A* is currently. In fact, three number grades, 9, 8 and 7, correspond to the current top grades of A* and A. This is designed to give more differentiation at the top end. A grade 6 is a bit higher than the old B grade. And – unlike the current system, under which a C is seen as a “good” pass – the new system has a “standard pass”, a grade 4, and a “strong pass”, grade 5.

The rest of the UK

This year also marks a divergence in qualifications between the nations, with candidates in England, Wales and Northern Ireland now all studying different exams.

In Wales, exams in English, Welsh and maths (six GCSEs in total) have also been toughened, but the qualification is still taken in units. New GCSEs in other subjects are being phased in.

In Northern Ireland, pupils are generally sitting old-style GCSEs in all subjects this year, but changes are ahead.

Scottish students already study completely different qualifications.

What Next?

Now that the results are in and the celebrations are in place (we hope) it’s time to consider the options. And – there are plenty, UCAS can give a great insight for those wanting to stay in education, but also sites like career pilot can offer some great advice. Whichever path is taken P&B wish you all a bright and prosperous future.