What does Mark Equivalent mean on GCSE Exam Results?

GCSE results are extremely important for you. You not only need your A-levels but also for getting into your chosen Universities. Therefore you must know everything related to your GCSE results including the mark equivalent. Your GCSE grades were based on two different grading systems: the old one and the new one.

The mark equivalent is nothing but it depicts what is your current grade when compared to the older grade. Further, we have discussed mark equivalents in detail.

What does mark equivalent mean on GCSE exam results?

The current grading system is different from the old grading system. Mark equivalent simply refers to how the new GCSE grades compare to the old A*-G system. It has no impact on your grade and is not another grade for the same subject. In fact, it is used to make it much easier to comprehend the results. It can be considered your GCSE score or mark because it is an alternative version of your 9-1 grade. Finally, the mark equivalent is the grade you received in the old grading format. It enables you to evaluate your number grade to a  familiar letter grade.

What was the Old GCSE Grading system?

The initial grading GCSE system was the one in which the final grade for your GCSE, is graded in the form of A*-G. This system was changed by the education department in 2015. With the introduction of the new system, the highest possible grade is A**. 

What was the new GCSE Grading system?

The new GCSE system is the one in which you are graded numerically. You are graded as 9-1 with the highest grade being 9. This grading system was established to see the potential for rewarding students. Although to get a 9 grade in your GCSE with the help of a new grading system. You will need to do a lot of hard work to achieve the highest grade in it. This system will help you to know how much potential you have and will help to measure all the students according to their caliber. 

How do the new GCSE grades compare to the old ones?

The following table shows the old grading system compared to the current grading system-

9Higher A*
8Lower A*
7Lower A
6High B
5Lower B or High C
4Lower C
3D or high E
2Lower E or high F
1Lower F or G

What do you do with the mark equivalent?

Your mark equivalents are not needed to be registered anywhere. Though it is the official part of your results and is there for your better understanding of your results. This means that the mark equivalent helps you to compare your GCSEs score in the current and old grading systems. It helps you to understand your Uniform Mark Scale (UMS).

The UMS is the marking standard for all the students in terms of different marking schemes to make sure that you are being marked fairly. Mark equivalent is generally given in the form of the old grading system. This is important for students who do not understand the current grading system. 

What do P, M, and D mean in your GCSEs result?

When you get your GCSEs results, you see P in the endorse column. This means that you have passed your GCSE. There is nothing to worry about. You may also see M and D in the endorse section. The M is the merit and the D reflects the distinction in your exam. When you do better than the passing grades you are eligible to get the merit and will see M on your result. Merit is usually given to you if you have scored between 5-7. However, when you do extremely good performance i.e score above 7 you get distinction in the exam. Having distinction means that you have aced the exams with much more than the average score.  

What is the passing grade for GCSE?

According to the new grading system (1-9), the standard pass grade for you is 4. However, 5 is considered a strong pass for the GCSE. Although technically the passing grade for GCSE is 4, you must try to aim to get a grade of 5. This is important as most of the universities will look for you to have at least a grade of 5 for a single GCSE. Above 5 you get eligible for getting merit and distinction.  

Why were the grades changed?

The older system of grading does not help to determine the ability of the students. As the older system does not require much hard work, it was easy for the students to achieve an A*. However, with the introduction of the new grading system, you will have to work hard to get a 9 for you. According to the government, the new system will help you to get clarity on your level of study.

How are BTECs compared to GCSEs?

Your BTECs are totally different from your GCSEs. Your BTECs are more practical than your GCSEs. Thus it is hard to compare your BTECs with GCSEs. However, if we compare 2-level BTEC to a GCSE, it is equal to 7 GCSE. However, there is no such comparison between both.


GCSEs are very important in your life and thus you must know everything related to its results. Your GCSEs result is basically dependent upon two systems – current and old. In the old grading system, you get grades on the basis of the alphabet (A*-G). Whereas in the current system you will get the numerical grading system (1-9). The mark equivalent during the GCSEs helps you to compare your results within both the grading system. 

William Christie
Latest posts by William Christie (see all)