Appeal to the examining board

If you're not happy with an exam result and you think it may be incorrect, it's important to first talk to your school or college about making an enquiry about a result. You could still appeal later on, if you're unhappy with the outcome of the enquiry.

Enquiries about results can be requested for individual exam papers and can include:

  • a clerical re-check - this includes a re-check of all clerical procedures leading to the issue of a result
  • a review of marking - a review of the original marking to make sure that the agreed mark scheme has been applied correctly
  • access to scripts – this could be a photocopy of the original script, an electronic version of the script or the original script
  • post-results review of moderation

Students can’t make enquiries directly with their examining board. Everything has to go through the school unless you are a private candidate, for example if you’re home schooled, self-taught or a mature student.

You should discuss the possibility of enquiring about a result with your teacher, as they will be able to advise you based on their knowledge of your ability in the subject and your predicted grade.

It may also be a good idea to have a look online or speak to other people in your year who took the same exam to see if the marking overall was lower than expected for a particular paper or subject.

2018 A-level deadline for enquiries about results

A-level results are published on Thursday 16 August 2018.

If your university place is dependant on your A-level results, the deadline for enquiries about results (also called an EAR) is Thursday 23 August 2018 for results which are university dependant.

If your A-level results are not university dependant, you have until Thursday 20 September 2018 to make an enquiry about a re-mark.

Results day and university clearing 

If you haven't got the A-level grades you were expecting, take a look at our Which? University clearing guide for top tips and advice.

Is it worth appealing a grade further?

In 2015, around 28,500 A-level grades were changed following an appeal. In 99% of cases, the grade was re-marked upwards.

However, new rules on re-marking were introduced in spring 2016, which include marks only being changed if an examiner has made an error in applying the mark scheme or adding up the marks.

This would mean that if there was a difference in academic judgement between the original marker and a second examiner carrying out a re-mark, the original mark would stand. 

In previous years, the examiner carrying out the re-mark could give a new mark based on a difference in judgement.

Stage one & two appeals process

If no errors have been identified after you enquired about your result but you still think there may be a problem with your grade, there is opportunity to appeal further. 

Appeals can be submitted in relation to:

  • enquiries about results (EAR) outcomes
  • malpractice decisions
  • access arrangements and special consideration
  • sanctions imposed on centres
  • assessment decisions for verified qualifications

The appeals process focuses on whether an awarding body has applied its procedures consistently and followed them properly and fairly and/or whether they have not applied the mark scheme properly for AS, A-level and Project qualifications.

Once you've spoken to your teachers about whether it would be possible to submit an appeal, it is then the responsibility of your school or college to lodge an appeal with the examining body - called a stage-one appeal. 

This will normally result in a re-mark or re-moderation by the awarding body. 

If you, your school or your college are unhappy with the outcome of the stage-one appeal, they can lodge a secondary appeal - called a stage-two appeal - with the awarding body.

Appeals must be made within two calendar weeks of receiving the outcome of the first enquiry about results.

Appeal costs

Enquiries and appeals into A-level results vary with different exam boards, but it's usually between £20 for a simple clerical re-check to £60 for a complete re-mark.

Check with the relevant exam board for exact costs.

Many schools cover the full cost of the enquiry if your mark is very close to a higher grade, so check with your school to confirm.

If you're a private candidate, you will need to pay these costs.

If your grade is changed following a re-mark, the relevant exam board refunds any charges.

Appeal to Ofqual

It's possible to make an appeal to Ofqual - the exam board regulator - if you’re still not happy with the outcome of the appeals process review resulting from making an enquiry to your examining board. 

An appeal needs to be made within 14 days of getting the result of a review.

You will need to speak to your teacher or exams officer at your school or college to make an appeal to Ofqual.

If you're a private candidate you can apply to Ofqual directly.

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