Guidance

Exam procedures review service

Ofqual's service for reviewing the decisions made by exam boards on appeals against GCSE, AS, A level and some vocational or technical qualifications results.

Applies to England

Ofqual can look again after an awarding organisation has decided a final appeal against your grade. We will consider whether the awarding organisation followed its own procedures correctly and whether it complied with our rules. We won’t review your work.

We cannot tell the awarding organisation to change your grade. Your grade will only change if the awarding organisation decides your grade was wrong and needs to be corrected. It is important to remember that a new grade could be higher or lower.

This guide is for qualifications awarded after 1 December 2021. If you got your results in August 2021 it is probably too late for us to look at your case. You should contact our Public Enquiries team if you think there is an exceptional reason why we could look at your August 2021 grade now.

What is the Exam Procedures Review Service?

The Exam Procedures Review Service (EPRS) is one of the ways Ofqual can look at the procedures an awarding organisation followed when it marked an assessment, moderated a teacher’s marking of non-exam assessment (NEA), completed any review of marking or moderation and when it determined an appeal.

We will look at any application which meets our criteria and decide whether the awarding organisation followed its procedures properly and whether it complied with our rules. We won’t look at your case unless you have completed every stage of the awarding organisation’s appeals process.

Who can apply?

Just like an application for a review of marking or moderation, or an appeal, most students can’t apply directly for an EPRS review. Instead, you should talk to your school or college and ask them to consider making an application for you.

Private candidates – who registered for their qualification individually and applied for a review of marking and an appeal without help from a school or college – can make their own applications to EPRS.

Our EPRS process is only available for the following qualifications, where they are regulated by us:

  • GCSE, AS, and A Levels
  • Technical Qualifications (part of a T Level)
  • Level 3 Project qualifications (EPQ)

We will only accept applications from schools, colleges, and other exam centres in the UK or from private candidates who completed their assessments in the UK.

We will only accept an application after the awarding organisation has made a decision at the final stage of its appeal process (often called a Stage 2 appeal decision).

We will not review your work and cannot change your grade, but we can ask the awarding organisation to look at your appeal again if we think it made a mistake.

How to apply – centre candidates

If you think the awarding organisation made a mistake which was not resolved through its reviews and appeals process you should talk to your school or college about making an application to the EPRS.

You should have this conversation promptly, because we might not accept an application which is made more than 3 weeks after the final appeal decision, unless there is a very good reason for the delay.

If your school or college agrees to make an application for you, it will need to email our Public Enquiries team at: public.enquiries@ofqual.gov.uk.

That email should set out:

  • the qualification (for example, GCSE or A Level) you want us to look at
  • the name and address of your school, college, or other exam centre
  • The date of the letter from the awarding organisation with your final appeal decision and the name of the awarding organisation

How to apply – private candidates

If you are a private candidate, you can make an application to the EPRS yourself when you have a final appeal decision. You should make your application promptly, because if you wait more than 3 weeks after the appeal decision you will need to tell us why there was a delay, and we might not accept your application.

If you want to apply to the EPRS you must email our Public Enquiries team at: public.enquiries@ofqual.gov.uk.

That email should set out:

  • the qualification (for example, GCSE or A Level) you want us to look at
  • the date of the letter from the awarding organisation with your final appeal decision and the name of the awarding organisation

The application form

If we can look at your case, we will send your school, college, or other exam centre (or you, if you are a private candidate) a link to an EPRS application form. Your centre, or you if you are a private candidate, must provide as much information as possible to answer the questions on the form. The form will set out the documents we need to receive with the application.

What will we do?

After we receive a completed form, we will decide what further information we need. We will get information from the awarding organisation and might ask you and your school, college, or other exam centre for further information.

When we have everything we need, we will decide whether we think the awarding organisation might have made a mistake.

If we don’t think anything went wrong

If we don’t think the awarding organisation made a mistake, we will write to your centre (or you, if you are a private candidate) and explain what we have looked at and why we don’t think anything went wrong. We will give you a chance to reply to our letter, and to tell us if you think we have missed something out or misunderstood something.

We will tell you how long you have to reply. If you don’t reply, we will close your case using the information we have. If you reply, we will decide whether anything you tell us changes our view about whether anything went wrong. We will either write to you explaining why our view has not changed or we will decide something might have gone wrong.

If we think something went wrong

If we think the awarding organisation might have got something wrong, we will write to them and ask whether they agree with us. If they agree, we would usually expect them to look at your case again.

If they don’t agree, we will consider whether any extra information they have given us changes our view about whether or not something went wrong.

If we still think something went wrong, we will invite your centre (or you if you are a private candidate) and the awarding organisation to a meeting with us, to talk about your case. We will make a final decision after the meeting. We will explain how the meeting will work when we set it up. The meeting will usually be held remotely.

If our final decision is that the awarding organisation has got something wrong, we will explain what we think went wrong, and why, in a letter. We will send that letter to your centre (or you if you are a private candidate) and to the awarding organisation.

Our rules say the awarding organisation must ‘give due regard’ to what we say in our letter. This means the awarding organisation must read what we say, and think about any recommendations we make, and it must decide what to do next. This might mean looking at your appeal again.

We cannot tell the awarding organisation to change your grade. Your grade will only change if the awarding organisation decides your grade was wrong and needs to be corrected. It is important to remember that the new grade could be higher or lower.

How long does it take?

We will look at cases as quickly as we can.

We will aim to make a first decision no later than 4 weeks after we have all the information we need about your case.

A first decision is either writing to your centre (or you if you are a private candidate) to explain that we don’t think anything went wrong or writing to the awarding organisation to ask if they agree something went wrong.

If we need to hold a meeting your case might take longer to finish.

More information

If you would like more information about the awarding organisations’ appeals processes this year, you might find these documents useful:

Guidance on appealing against a GCSE, AS or A level grade or the result of a qualification

Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ): GCSE, GCE Post-Results Services Information and guidance to centres for examinations taken in November 2021 examination series.

Published 6 August 2021
Last updated 14 February 2022 + show all updates
  1. Updated for autumn to winter 2021 to 2022

  2. First published.