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Making the final choice

How to appeal your A Level exam results

Unhappy with your grades? You may be able to appeal your A Level, BTEC or other exam results and get better marks. Read our advice on how.

exam papers for students

Requesting a review of your A Level results

If you believe your exam results are wrong, speak to someone at your school or college. This could be a personal tutor, exams officer or principal. They should be able to discuss your options and tell you about the appeals procedure.

You may decide to challenge an A Level, BTEC or another exam result if:

  • Your school or college made an error when sending information to the exam board
  • Your school or college believes the exam result is incorrect
  • You have proof of wrongdoing against you, such as discrimination

You won’t be able to submit a request for a review to the exam board yourself. Your school or college has to do this for you. If you sat your exams independently, speak to the centre that submitted your results.

The exam board will review your result and change the grade if they agree it’s wrong. It could be re-marked above or below the original grade. If the grade doesn't change, then you or your school might have to pay for the review.

Make sure to check any review deadlines with the exam board.

Appealing A Level results

If you asked for a review of your exam results and aren't satisfied with the decision, you can appeal to Ofqual (Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation). You must appeal within 15 days after getting a decision of your review.

You can’t appeal individually, so you’ll have to go through your school or college. They’ll have to show the overall grades awarded were lower than expected. This might be because they improved on historical results or performance, and so previous results no longer represent current students.

Ofqual will keep you informed of the status of your appeal. If it rejects your appeal, it'll explain why.

What happens to your university place

If you’re reviewing or appealing A Level results, contact your university or college and let them know as soon as possible. They may agree to hold your place until a review decision has been made. Keep them updated with any changes.

If your university can't hold your place, or the appeal is unsuccessful, you can apply to other institutions through Clearing. You can see what’s available in Clearing when waiting to hear about your results.

Resitting your exams

If you choose to resit your exams in the autumn after getting your results, you may not be able to start university in the same year. Some unis might offer January start dates.

Another option is to defer your place for a year, and resit exams in the autumn or summer.

How did the appeal process work in 2020?

Exams in 2020 were disrupted due to the coronavirus pandemic, so the process was slightly different. Students could choose to:

  • Accept their calculated grades
  • Appeal their grades based on a 'valid' mock exam result
  • Retake exams in the autumn

In England

Universities were told to keep courses open for pupils who were appealing, but each university responded differently.

For instance, City, University of London accepted applications based on current results and considered appealed grades for places that were still available when received. Others, including Edge Hill, offered places based on successful appeals or predicted and mock grades.

In Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland

Northern Ireland followed the same rules as England but said that for GCSE results they would accept teacher-assessed grades.

Scottish students had their SQA results upgraded from the original grades.

In Wales, students were awarded the predicted results given to them by teachers.

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