Understanding Your GCSE Results


So you’ve just received your GCSE results and you don’t understand what all the numbers mean?  I get many parents calling me on results day trying to get their head around their child’s GCSE results.  The grades are easy enough to understand, after all, a C grade is a C grade, and that’s all that matters right?don't understand GCSE results slip

But what if you didn’t get that grade and want to know exactly how far off you were?  Because if you were only 2 marks away from a C grade, it might be worth getting the paper re-marked.  Or if you want to re-sit the exam in November, you’ve got a better chance of passing if you close to a C grade.

Most schools in Luton follow the AQA examination board in English, so I will use AQA as an example to explain how you can find out grade boundaries.

UMS POINTS Versus Real Marks

Grade boundaries are the marks needed to achieve a particular grade.  For example in the GCSE English Language Foundation paper, there are a maximum 80 marks.  If a student gets 56 out of 80, then that’s a grade C.  Grade boundaries based on raw marks differ depending on whether the student has done a foundation or higher paper.

If you want to see an example grade boundaries based on raw marks, see this document.  The English grade boundaries are on page 8.

However, on your results slip, you will NOT get raw scores.  You will get UMS points.  So when looking for grade boundaries based on the numbers on your results slip look for UMS points grade boundaries.  “The Uniform Mark Scale (UMS) is a way of turning the raw marks achieved in a unit in a particular sitting into a mark that can be used to compare with those achieved in other series.”

Grade boundaries based  on UMS scores are published when exam results are out.  However, these documents are usually a collection of the grade boundaries of 100’s of exams.  Rather than searching these documents page by page, make sure that you know your course code.  Open the document, press CTRL F and type in the course code, for example “4707” and it will take you to the results you are looking for.

The UMS grade boundaries for AQA are here.  So it’s that simple.  One of my students got a UMS score of 104 in one of his English exams (4 points away from a C grade), so he will be re-sitting the exam in November.  He doesn’t want to take another year to get his GCSE, especially when he was so close.

If you need to get some help for your GCSE’s, just give us a call. 01582 402225

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One comment on “Understanding Your GCSE Results

  1. Pingback: So You Didn’t get a “C” in English and Maths GCSE…. | Kip McGrath Luton Tutor's Blog

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