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GCSE grades and the grading system in general is still a bit of a puzzle to parents and students alike. The new GCSE grades are from 1-9 or 9-1 depending which guide you read. The new GCSE grades were first introduced back in 2015 as part of large change to the entire education system, which saw the removal of coursework from most GCSE’s and an updated curriculum with many topics dropping down from A Level.

The new GCSE grading system was introduced to help further differentiate children and their achievements in GCSE in a push to improve standards across the board. Regardless of what you think of the new GCSE grades they are here to stay, although you will still hear students, parents and even teachers converting the level’s back into ‘old money’ as it were so that people have an understanding of what each level means. The following questions are a collection of the most commonly asked questions surrounding the GCSE grading system

What is the new GCSE grade C?

To achieve the national standard, which use to be set at a grade C, students now have to achieve a grade 4 or 5. This in itself is confusing as a grade see is effectively a grade 4.5 with some institutions accepting grade 4’s and others requiring a grade 5 in maths and English.

Why is a level 4 in GCSE maths and English so important?

This grade has to be achieved to continue onto further education. Additionally, most employers want to see a minimum of a grade 4 in maths and English and some even set the standard at grade 5. Some Universities set the entry requirements at level at 4 but all the top universities, including the Russell Group, require a GCSE grade 5 in maths and English to even consider applicants. Therefore it is clear to see why GCSE grades are more important than ever and helping students and parents to understand them is crucial in conveying this message.

What is GCSE grade 9 and why do we have it?

The new GCSE grade 9 is effectively a grade above an A* and its purpose is to help further differentiate the students at the top end of the grading system, with fewer than 5% of students achieving the top grade. Level 8 is equivalent to the old A* and in the new style GCSE exams is very difficult to achieve. Universities are now looking at GCSE grades more than ever to help them decide between applicants because the top universities and most popular courses such as medicine are massively oversubscribed every year.

How do I achieve a level 4-9?

This question is asked all the time by students. How do I get a specific grade, or how do I improve on my predicted grades? Well the short answer is plenty of practise but it is important that it is the right type of practise. Because effective revision techniques aren’t taught in schools, many 15 and 16 year olds are ill-equipped when it comes to revision. At Maths Made Easy we try to make this as easy as possible by providing excellent GCSE Maths revision materials including maths flash cards.