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Exam results 2018: now you can find out what your examiner really thought

Students can now freely access more information about their exam results under the GDPR

For anyone who received an unexpected exam result this summer, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) lets you find out more about why things went awry…

Upon request, exams boards must provide marks, examiner comments, and appeals panel minutes. This applies to results for GCSEs, A-level, Highers and university exams.

The GDPR was implemented towards the end of May 2018, so the right to request all of this info only currently applies to exams taken this summer – but it will also apply to future exams.

Which? University – course and university profiles, and advice on making the right higher education choice for you.

How do I get my hands on the info?

Write to the institution that marked your exam/s, either by email or post.

If you make your request by email, make sure you don’t delete it. It’s worth having a copy of what you’ve sent, and a record of when you sent it.

If you want to send your request by post, search online for the address – or ask your school or university.

How long will it take?

For results that have already been published, you should expect a response to your request within a month.

If they haven’t yet been published, you’ll wait for up to five months of the date of the request, or 40 days from when the results are published – whichever is earlier.

What are the exceptions?

You don’t have the right to access copies of your answers to exam questions for free, or for your paper to be remarked, under the GDPR.

You may be able to see a copy of your exam answers, but at a price. AQA charges £11.30 per script, while OCR charges £11.35, according to their websites.

And while GDPR lets you see panel minutes if you appeal a grade, there are separate procedures for appealing it in the first place:

What else can I do if I’m unhappy with my exam results?

Other than appealing results, there are a few other options that may be open to you if you’re not happy. It’s worth bearing in mind that these tips are more relevant for school (rather than university) students:

  • Resit an exam Remember that you can no longer retake specific A-level modules – you’ll have to retake the whole exam for the year.
  • Repeat a year If you’ve stumbled in a few areas but don’t want to compromise on your ambitions, you might want to consider learning from your mistakes and giving everything another go.
  • Take a gap year This could give you the time you need to reassess what you want to do, but it could be expensive. Find out how universities view gap years.
  • Consider something different A higher or degree apprenticeship could be the best post-school choice for you.

Find out more by taking a look at what to do if your exams don’t go to plan.

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