If you are about to do your GCSEs, you might already know that the grading system has changed. We’ve put together some simple guidance on what the changes are, and how they work.

From September 2015, the new grading system was introduced. Rather than alphabetised grading from A*-G (with A* being the highest), grading will be numbered from 9-1. In this case, 9 will be the highest grade, and rated even higher than an A*.

The idea behind the new grading is to provide more differentiation, especially among higher achieving students. The new grading system adds an extra grade. The table below shows how the new system compares to the old:

New number grading system Alphabetised grading structure
9
A*
8
7 A
6
B
5
C
4
D
3
E
2
F
1
G
U U

In the new system, a 4 and above is the equivalent of a C and above, so a 4 or above is a pass. Generally, a grade 5 (high C/low B equivalent) is considered a ‘good pass’ according to the Department for Education (DfE), and a grade 9 is even higher than the current A*.

For the most part, the DfE expects the same number of students to achieve a grade 4 and above as do now. In addition, having the extra grades means that students who achieve a high B but not quite an A have more chance of gaining a higher grade and having that slight distinction recognised.