How are GCSE percentage grades set?

Here, we explain what is the GCSE pass mark, and the pass mark for GCSEs. Plus, gcse grades, gcse percentage grades and gcse grades percentages, GCSE grades in percentages, gcse grades as percentages, gcse grades percentage and GCSE percentage grades.


How are gcse pass marks set?

THE 2024 GCSE pass marks calculations

  • Each GCSE exam board has only slightly different pass grade boundaries each year. Typically this is somewhere between 30% – 50%.
  • This is because the GCSE pass mark depends on that year’s overall student performance. A set % must fall within each grade boundary, including roughly the same percentage each year who pass.
  • The same annual standardisation statistical calculations are conducted for each GCSE exam.
  • So let’s assume for one year more students do badly than is usual. Now that GCSE’s pass mark needs to be lowered.
  • Otherwise there would be too small a percentage of GCSE students who achieve a pass grade.
  • Similarly, if more GCSE pupils do better for a different GCSE exam, then the pass mark is increased.

What’s new for the 2024 GCSEs?

The exam board Edexcel plans for the first time in their 2024 English GCSE exams to offer these English GCSE students on-screen GCSE exams. This is for both GCSE English language and GCSE English literature.

This impacts approximately 125,000 Edexcel GCSE English pupils in both English GCSE subjects.

When is the 2024 gcse results day?

GCSE query?

Rob Williams

Then ask Rob,  our in-house  expert GCSE specialist. Ask any LNAT question by emailing An Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, Rob Williams is a Chartered Psychologist with over 25 years of experience working and designing tests. Rob has consulted for many of the top school entrance test publishers, including the ISEBCambridge Assessment ; Hodder Education, and GL Assessment.




What if my GCSE 2024 grades are not sufficient for 6th form admission?

Yes, you’ve several positive options if you missed your GCSE grades.

You should still contact your chosen a sixth form. alternatively, here’s some sixth form alternatives, including apprenticeships.


Appealing your gcse marks

  • The exam boards will publish details of the deadlines for seeking reviews of marking or moderation, and appeals, on their websites.
  • Exam boards may charge fees for reviews of marking or moderation if your grade does not change.
  • You can request a priority review of marking if you are depending on the outcome of a review to secure a higher education place. Exam boards will aim to complete priority reviews by 7 September, which is UCAS’ advisory deadline for higher education providers to hold places open for students.
  • If you and your centre still have concerns after a review of marking or moderation, the review decision may be challenged through the exam board’s appeals process, while decisions about reasonable adjustments, special consideration and malpractice can also be taken into account.


Comparing 2023 GCSE performance to 2022 GCSE marks

For example, one high performing London secondary school explained its overall 2022 GCSE performance thus:

Our Year 11 students excelled in their 2022 GCSE exams. These were the first formal public exams in two years. We remain one of the most high-achieving comprehensive schools in West London.

  • GCSE grade 7 and above 56% (Regional average 32%) of all GCSE Results
  • Achieving grade 4 and above 95% (National average 73%) of all GCSE results
  • GCSE grade 5 or above in English 93%
  • Achieving Grade 5 or above in Maths 86.


TwGCSE trends

1. A significant drop in top GCSE grades 2022

The GCSE and A-level results from 2021 were the highest on record, with a particular leap at the top end in terms of the proportion of As and A*s awarded at A level.

  • Approx. 1 in 5 of GCSE entries achieved an A* grade.
  • Whilst, more than two in five (44.3 per cent) were awarded an A or A*.
    28.5% of GCSE entries were awarded a grade 7/A or above, while 7.4 per cent scored the top grade of a 9.

2. A-level grades’ bigger changes than 2022 GCSE grades

In the 2021 results:

  • it was A-level grades, rather than GCSEs, where we saw the most significant changes.
  • A-levels saw an increase of A/A* grades to 44.3 per cent from 25.2 per cent in 2019. But at GCSE, the number of grade 7/As only rose to 28.5 per cent in 2021, up from 20.7 per cent in 2019.

Hence the predicted 2022 A-Level top grades’ drop from 9.55 percentage points compared with just 3.9 percentage points for GCSE top grades 2022.

Top GCSE Exam board guidance

Each GCSE exam board’s pass mark % each year is similar. Even though this ball park figure does change – across all the GCSE exam boards – eacg year.

For example:

  • AQA exam board’s pass mark was 70 / 160 in 2022 which is 43%. Whereas, back in 2019 it was 48%.
  • Edexcel exam board’s pass mark examples are 77 / 160 in 2022 which is 48%. Whereas it as 51% in the 2019 GCSE year.
  • OCR exam board, 67 out of 160 marks were needed for a pass in 2022. This was 42%. This was very similar to 2019, where 43% of correct marks were needed.


What are the new GCSE pass marks? Hands using laptop with mathematical formulas.


Review your own GCSE exam board’s specific GCSE guidelines

Check out the other grade boundaries for 2022 and 2019 on the OCR website, if you click here and here.

Below is each GCSE exam board’s own GCSE exam taking guidance. Hence you will find further boundary setting info for from each of the main GCSE exam boards: OCR GCSE boundary setting, AQA GCSE pass marks, Pearson GCSE pass marks, EdExcel GCSE grade boundary calculations and Cambridge GCSE pass marks.

Our jobs after GCSE YouTube video

Equivalence of 2024 GCSE grades to old GCSE grading system

  • GCSE grade A* is now a GCSE grade 8 / GCSE grade 9;
  • A grade GCSE is now a GCSE grade 6 / GCSE grade 7;
  • GCSE grade B is now a GCSE grade 5 / GCSE grade 6;
  • C grade GCSE is now a GCSE grade 4 / GCSE grade 5;
  • GCSE grade D / grade E GCSE is now GCSE grade 3;
  • E grade GCSE / GCSE grade F is now grade 2 GCSE;
  • GCSE grade G / GCSE grade F is now a GCSE grade 1; and
  • U grade GCSE remains the same U grade GCSE.


Happy students gcse passmark

GCSE pass marks issue?

Rob WilliamsAsk ROB any gcse pass marks question by emailing

An Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, Rob Williams is a Chartered Psychologist with over 25 years of experience working and designing tests.
Rob has worked for the school entrance test publishers ISEB and GL – as well as the leading global psychometric test publishers including SHL, Kenexa IBM, MBTI, CAPP and SOVA Assessment.

What are GCSE high tariff exam questions?

These GCSE exam questions have the greatest mark allowance.


Key GCSE Pass Grade Principles – Case Study

A case-study is always useful. Especially to explain how Government guidelines are being interpreted. So, here’s our state secondary school case study of  interpreting the GCSE Pass Grade guidelines 2021.

  • Teacher-assessed grades. So NOT estimated or predicted grades.
  • Overall grade is the “best-fit”. Thereby delivering an overall – almost holistic – outcome.

Our Case Study – GCSE assessment evidence

There  are several parts to the total evidence base:

    1. Mock exams are included.
    2. Plus, teacher judgment of assessed work across each GCSE course.
    3. As well as core assessment tasks


‘Normal years’ GCSE pass grades calculations

 The new GCSE pass grade is a GCSE Grade 4. This replaces the old GCSE C grade


  • GCSE Grade 7 approximates to the ‘old school’ GCSE grade ‘A’.
  • The new GCSE Grade 4 is similar to the ‘old school’ GCSE Grade C.
  • GCSE Grade 3’s may want to resit their GCSE at the next opportunity.
  • Strong passes – classified as Grade 5, or higher – are now key measures for schools with pupils taking the new GCSE exams.With the greatest weight given to assessment nearest the end of the GCSE course.
  • As there are no public exams this year, there will be no “national” grade boundaries for 2021.
  • Grade boundaries vary from year to year according to the composition of papers and the exam board’s moderation of standards after marking of scripts has taken place.
  • In making decisions about grade boundaries, heads of department will draw on historic grade boundaries from 2017-19 as they relate to the assessment materials used or adapted, and on the exam boards’ published grade descriptors, in order to ensure that the school is conforming as closely as possible to normal grade standards.

Are GCSE entries increasing year on year?

Let’s analyse the data for the 2021 GCSE entries. In comparison with the 2020 GCSE exam entries.

So, overall the 2021 biology GCSE entries were up 3 per cent. What about other 2021 GCSE subjects?

  • Firstly, the 2021 chemistry GCSE and 2023 physics GCSE entries were up by 4%.
  • Secondly, 2021 Geography GCSE entries increased by 4 per cent.
  • Thirdly, the 2021 English Literature GCSE entries increased by 2%.
  • 2021 GCSE Food preparation and nutrition GCSE entries increased by 5 per cent.
  • Finally, the 2021 GCSE business studies entries were up by 4%.


Our top tips for passing your GCSEs

Passing your GCSE exams relies upon using good GCSE revision strategies. For example:

  • Focus on focused and consistent revision GCSE practice papers sessions. The best approach is to make revision notes on cards. Then to go over what you’ve written on your revision cards.
  • Being confident – this is one of the most effective GCSE exam tips. Confidence tells your brain know that you can find the answers. For example, certain students prefer answering the tough questions first and then the easy questions.
  • Ask for assistance. Your ego is your enemy, since asking for expert assistance during your preparation phase is a smart thing to do. One should be open to all kinds of suggestions and using those tips to their benefit will bring in better results.


Summary of how GCSE grades are determined

We have explained gcse grades, gcse percentage grades and gcse grades percentages in our posts focused on gcse grades and pass mark gcse.

We hope that our GCSE 2024 guide and extensive past GCSE Maths exam papers help you achieve all top 2024 gcse grades!


Hope that you found useful our guides to, what is the GCSE pass mark, and the pass mark for GCSEs. Plus, our explanations of gcse grades, gcse percentage grades and gcse grades percentages, GCSE grades in percentages, gcse grades as percentages, gcse grades percentage and GCSE percentage grades.