GCSE Grading information for Students

Frequently asked questions for students

Can I compare my grade in a reformed GCSE to my grade in an unreformed GCSE? 

The new 9-1 grade scale is not directly equivalent to the current scale. However, there are three grade comparison points: 

  • The bottom of grade 7 is equivalent to the bottom of grade A.
  • The bottom of grade 4 is equivalent to the bottom of grade C.
  • The bottom of grade 1 is equivalent to the bottom of grade G. 

While the two grading scales are not directly comparable, what we can say is that a grade 4 is broadly equivalent to a low to medium grade C, the threshold for a level 2 qualification. A grade 5 is broadly equivalent to a high C to low B. Also, fewer students are expected to get a grade 9 than previously got an A*.

What does it mean to get a grade 4 in English and maths this year? 

A grade 4 means you have achieved a standard equivalent to a level 2 qualification which should facilitate progression to level 3 study. You will not need to resit your English and maths if you have achieved a grade 4.

What will I need to progress to A level study? 

This will vary according to different subjects and different institutions but schools and colleges are likely to ask for a similar grades (eg 4 and above if currently C and above; 5 or 6 and above if currently B; 7 if currently A) to pursue a particular subject at A level.

What will universities ask for? 

Entry criteria to different universities will vary as they are able to set their own criteria. We expect that most universities will ask for a 4 where they would have required a C and most will ask for an 8 where they might previously have asked for an A* at GCSE.

Do I need a 4 or 5 in English literature or language and maths if I want to become a teacher? 

If you want to train to teach, you will need to demonstrate:

  • a standard equivalent to a GCSE grade C / grade 4 in mathematics and English to teach at secondary level
  • a standard equivalent to a GCSE grade C / grade 4 in mathematics, English and a science subject to teach at primary level