2021 and 2022 exam changes

Your go-to place for exam changes and teacher support this year

Appeals for summer 2021

This page contains all the information you need on the appeals process for summer 2021 results, including late appeals.

Grounds for appeal

Students can appeal if they think that:

  • there was an error in the way the school or college followed or applied its procedure for determining their grade
  • the school or college didn’t make a reasonable judgement when deciding which evidence to use to determine their grade
  • the school or college didn’t make a reasonable judgement about their grade based on the evidence used
  • the exam board made an administrative error.

Students can appeal on a single ground or on multiple grounds. However, they can only submit one appeal per subject.

Schools and colleges must accept and process any requests for appeals from students (including private candidates) which were received before the 17 September deadline. Failure to do so could constitute malpractice.

No cost for appeals

There is no charge for submitting appeals.

The appeals process

If a student feels the grade they received is wrong, there’s an appeals process unique to this summer series for them to follow.

Stage one: Centre review

If a student feels their grade is wrong, they should speak to their school or college first to check if there was a mistake in determining or submitting the grade. This is known as a 'centre review'.

The centre review should check that the process has been followed correctly and that no administrative errors were made. It does not review the judgement of the grade itself (for example, re-marking students’ work).

If a centre review is requested on the grounds of unreasonable judgement, schools and colleges do not need to review their academic judgement at this stage. However, a centre review must still be completed to make sure there’s been no procedural or administrative errors.

Internal process for centre review

Due to the short timescales for centre reviews and the potential exam board appeals to follow, schools and colleges should:

  • have a clear and documented process for students to make appeals
  • share this process with students
  • be able to access the evidence used to support student grades.

We recommend using the appeals request template, consent form and evidence checklist included in the JCQ appeals guidance (Appendix B).

If a university place is dependent on the outcome, students should include their UCAS personal ID with the appeal request and notify the university as soon as possible.

Outcome of centre review

If a centre review finds that an error was made which impacted on a student’s result, the school or college can submit a revised grade – with rationale for us to consider – using our online appeals system.

For more information, read the JCQ guidance for schools and colleges on correcting errors in results (Appendix D).

Stage two: Exam board appeal

If the school or college does not find an error as part of the centre review but the student still believes that their grade is wrong, they can ask their school or college to submit a formal appeal on their behalf to the exam board. This is known as an 'Exam board appeal'.

If an appeal is submitted to an exam board, schools and colleges will need to supply the complete evidence in support of the student’s grade that was submitted.

Submitting an exam board appeal

To submit an exam board appeal, schools and colleges should use our special online appeals system for 2021.

Outcome of exam board appeal

The appeal will either be upheld or not upheld, wholly or in part (for example if you have submitted an appeal on multiple grounds).

Students should be aware that their grade could go up, down, or stay the same.

Deadline and late appeals

The deadline to submit appeals was 17 September.

If a student wishes to submit a late request for a stage one appeal (centre review), please consider whether there have been exceptional circumstances which explain the late request. If there are no exceptional circumstances you should not accept the request.

If you accept the late appeal request, please follow the appeals process above. Please note: as part of the request you’ll need to provide additional information explaining the reasons for the appeal not being submitted on time.

If, as a result of internal quality checks, you find an error affecting a student’s grade after the deadline, please submit the change request through our appeals system, along with the explanation of why the error has been found at this late stage.

We’ll consider the explanation for the delay carefully when deciding whether to accept any late stage two (exam board appeal) requests. We will not be able to accept any requests where an explanation is not given.

Next steps

Procedural review

If a student has completed the appeals process and remains concerned that the exam board hasn't followed their appeals process correctly, they may be able to apply to the Exam Procedures Review Service (EPRS) for a procedural review.

For further guidance, please check Ofqual's website.

Autumn exams

Students who would like the chance to improve their grade can sit the exam in autumn.

Find out more about the autumn exam series.

Vocational, Technical and other qualifications

Appeals for Vocational, Technical and other qualifications (VTQs) will follow a similar approach to GCSEs, AS and A-levels.

For Tech-levels and our Award and Certificate in Personal and Social Education (PSE), students will be able to appeal at unit level. Appeals should be submitted on Gateway.

For all other qualifications, appeals will be at subject-level only.

Where students have taken exams for our Functional Skills qualifications, the usual post-results services will apply.


Connect with us

Contact our team

Exams officers can contact our customer services team by:

Tel: 0800 197 7162

+44 161 696 5995 outside the UK

Our opening hours are:

8am–5pm Monday to Friday

Parents and students should contact their school or college in the first instance.

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