Every year thousands of GCSE pupils decide to appeal against the mark they were rewarded. And with the system and grading system changing this year, it’s expected that the figure will increase. So, if you want to appeal and improve your GCSE mark what are the steps that you should be taking?

The final mark that you’re awarded has a big impact on your future opportunities, including further education and career prospects. In 2015, over 60,000 GCSE marks were changed following an appeal and in 99% of cases the mark was revised upwards. The number of inaccuracies within marking is expected to increase this year, as markers get to grips with the new system and numerical grades being awarded. English, for example, which can be difficult to mark as there are typically no correct answers, is predicted to see ‘unreliable’ grades awarded rise from 30% to 45%.

The good news is that you do have a chance to appeal grades that are awarded if you don’t believe they fully reflect your abilities. You need to follow a set of steps in order for your mark to be reviewed.

  1. Speak with your school – Unless you’re a private candidate, you should first speak to your school about the mark that you have received. Your teacher will be able to offer guidance on whether appealing is a good step for you considering your predicted grades and abilities.
  2. Make an appeal – In most cases when making an appeal, your school will act on your behalf, giving you their support. You will need to pay a fee to cover the cost of an appeal ranging from £20 to £60, although some schools cover this charge. The fee will only be reimbursed if your appeal is successful.
  3. Result enquiry – Your result will then start the enquiry process. This can range from simply checking clerical procedures to make sure simple mistakes have not occurred to fully reviewing the marking of your paper.
  4. Results – You’ll then receive the result of your appeal. You should hear back within a few weeks, giving you time to assess your next steps regarding college if necessary.

If you want to appeal your GCSE mark for exams sat in June 2017, you will need to make an enquiry by 21 September 2017.

What do I do if my appeal wasn’t accepted?

If your appeal wasn’t accepted and you need to improve your grade to move forward with plans you have two options:

  1. Appeal to Ofqual. If the outcome of your appeal suggested that your mark was fair but you’re still unsatisfied with this, you do have the option to appeal further. You will need to make an appeal to Ofqual within 14 days of getting the result of your review.
  2. Decide to resit. If the review of your grades wasn’t successful, don’t panic. Resitting your exams can mean you can still achieve your goals and bring your grades up in line with your expectations.

If following an appeal of your GCSE marks you’re now resitting an exam, one of the key steps to improving your mark is understanding where you went wrong. Sometimes, simple exam techniques can mean you miss out on vital marks and identifying where you’re dropping points and how they’re awarded can make a big difference.

Working through practice exam papers that are then linked to tutorials that demonstrate what you need to do to score top marks, such as those featured on School Exams, can reduce the number of points you’re missing.