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, Northern Ireland and Wales

You can ask us to look at how an exam board dealt with your appeal against your grade. We will consider whether the exam board followed their own procedures correctly and also if they did what is required by our rules, but we won’t look again at your work.

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

What is the Exam Procedures Review Service?

This year, the Exam Procedures Review Service (EPRS) is in place for students who are concerned about how an exam board managed an appeal against their grade.

The EPRS is an Ofqual process to look at the procedure an exam board followed. We will not review your work and cannot change your grade, but we can ask the exam board to look at your appeal again if we think the exam board made a mistake when it issued your grade, or when it considered your appeal.

We will only look at your case if all the following are true:

  • you have a final appeal decision from the exam board
  • your teacher-assessed grades (TAGs) were decided by a school, college or other exam centre in the UK
  • the grade was for a GCSE, AS, A Level, Advanced Extension Award (AEA), or Project qualification regulated by Ofqual

How to apply

If you think the exam board made a mistake you should apply as soon as possible after you get a final appeal decision from the exam board. 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. The subject line of your email should say ‘EPRS application’.

In your email, you should tell us:

  • the qualification you want us to look at (for example GCSE, AS or A level)
  • the name and address of the school, college or other centre which decided your teacher-assessed grades
  • the name of the exam board
  • the date of the letter from the exam board with your final appeal decision

We will decide whether we can look at your case through EPRS. If not, we will tell you what you could do next instead.

If we can look at your case, we will send you a link to a form. You must answer all of the questions on the form. You will need to tell us what you think went wrong. This must be one of:

  1. A mistake made by the exam board when it issued your grade. For example, the grade you received on results day was different to the final teacher-assessed grade accepted by the exam board from your school or college.
  2. A mistake made by the exam board when it corrected your grade after your centre review or your appeal. For example, your grade was changed after a centre review, or an exam board appeal, but the new grade was different to the grade the exam board said you would get.
  3. The exam board did not deal with your appeal in the way it said it would in the JCQ Appeals Booklet or on the exam board’s own website. For example, the exam board did not ask a subject expert to look at the work your teachers used when it decided your ‘academic judgement’ appeal or it looked at the wrong procedure when it decided your ‘procedural error’ appeal.
  4. The exam board did something which our rules don’t allow, or did not do something which our rules say they must do.

You can find our rules for this summer on our website.

You will need to:

  • tell us as much as you can about what you think happened and what you think should have happened instead
  • send us a copy of the exam board’s letter explaining its final appeal decision in your case
  • give us permission to ask your school or college, and the exam board, for information to help us with your case

This year, you can apply to the EPRS yourself – you don’t need to ask your school or college to do it for you – but if you would like their support it might be useful to talk to them first.

What will we do

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

When we have everything we need, we will decide whether we think the exam board might have got things wrong.

If we don’t think anything went wrong

If we don’t think the exam board made a mistake, we will write to you 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 by that date, 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 exam board 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 you and the exam board 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. You will be able to bring a parent, carer, or a teacher, to the meeting, which will be held remotely, for example using Teams or Zoom.

If our final decision is that the exam board has got something wrong, we will explain what we think went wrong, and why, in a letter. We will send that letter to you and to the exam board.

Our rules say the exam board must ‘give due regard’ to what we say in our letter. This means the exam board 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 exam board to change your grade. Your grade will only change if the exam board 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 four weeks after we have all the information we need about your case, although it might take us longer.

A first decision means either writing to you to explain that we don’t think anything went wrong or writing to the exam board 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 exam boards’ appeals processes this year, you might find these documents useful:

Published 6 August 2021