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GCSE English Grade Boundaries – Language & Literature All Boards


Lead Academy

7 Mins Read

We all know how difficult every second can get on results day for GCSE candidates. While many students get tense thinking about the GCSE English grade boundaries, wondering if they will pass.

On the other hand, a handful of students worry about missing the highest grade.

According to the newly introduced GCSE grading system, students must secure a standard pass in GCSE English. Otherwise, they might face difficulties meeting higher education entry requirements, such as colleges and universities.
Here is everything you need to know about the GCSE English language grade boundaries!

Stressful male student keeps head down on desk, feels tired and overworked

GCSE English Grade Boundaries Release Date

Nowadays, the GCSE grade boundaries list for each exam board is released when the GCSE results are published. GCSE English learners can also access this list on the same day.

However, GCSE grade boundaries were previously released days before the GCSE results day. Unfortunately, this would create tension among students and parents; as a result, this is not practised anymore.

The list of each awarding body is usually available on the website for both students and teachers. A separate list of GCSE Mathematics, English Language and English Literature GCSE Grade Boundaries is generally available too.
Students can also download the grade boundaries of previous years, if available, to get an idea.

Who Provides the GCSE English Grade Boundaries?

In total, five awarding bodies offer GCSE English qualifications in the UK. These are –

  • Edexcel
  • AQA
  • OCR
  • WJEC
  • CCEA.

These five exam boards provide students with English grade boundaries every year posted on their website. However, this list might not be given every session if the exams are not held due to some unavoidable circumstances. Or if the subject is not offered for a particular session.

GCSE English Grade Boundaries

A- level result sheet with marks

All five boards offer both English Language and English Literature for learners. Among these two subjects, the government enforces the English Language, a compulsory subject for all students. On the other hand, although most schools offer English Literature, it is not mandatory.

The awarding bodies provide grade boundaries for both English Langauge and Literature, but they might not be the same every year.

GCSE Grade Boundaries for English Language

Since the English Language is a compulsory subject for learners, it is offered in almost every session. Hence, regardless of the GCSE exam board, both January/June and November sessions will have English Language grade boundaries unless no examinations are held.
The English Language has two papers – Paper 01 and Paper 02, but more English Language varieties have been recently offered, such as the English Language 2.0 (Edexcel).

Moreover, CCEA now offers four types of papers for the English Language –

  • Writing for purpose
  • Speaking & Listening
  • CA: Spoken & Written English
  • Personal / Creative Writing

The maximum marks of the papers combined are different for each board. The grade boundaries list mostly shows the combined marks of both papers, although some exam boards even provide each component grade boundaries along with combined

GCSE Grade Boundaries for English Literature

Since English Literature is optional, it is only offered in some sessions. English Literature is mainly offered for the Spring/Summer session. Grade boundaries for English Literature are provided along with the list of other subjects.

Just like GCSE English Language, English Literature also offers mainly two papers – Paper 01 & 02. However, the WJEC exam board is a bit different in this case. Instead of providing two papers, it offers three papers.
These are –

  • Study of Prose
  • Study of Drama & Poetry
  • CA: Shakespeare

For your convenience, we have compiled a list of the GCSE English literature grade boundaries for each exam board for the past four years (2019 – 2022). It also gives you an idea of how grade boundaries have changed over the years.

Edexcel GCSE English Grade Boundaries (2019 – 2023)

The table illustrates the Edexcel GCSE English Language Grade Boundaries for each year and every session offered by Edexcel and also the maximum marks of the GCSE subjects.



AQA GCSE English Grade Boundaries (2019 – 2023)

The table illustrates the grade boundaries for each year, every session offered by AQA, along with the latest AQA GCSE English Language Grade Boundaries 2022 and the maximum marks of the GCSE subjects.


OCR GCSE English Grade Boundaries (2019 – 2023)

The table illustrates the grade boundaries for each year, every session offered by OCR, and the maximum marks of the GCSE subjects.


WJEC GCSE English Grade Boundaries (2019 – 2023)

The table illustrates the grade boundaries for each year that is from 2019 till WJEC GCSE English Language Grade Boundaries 2022 for each year, every session offered by WJEC and the maximum marks of the GCSE subjects.


CCEA GCSE English Grade Boundaries (2019 – 2023)

The table illustrates the grade boundaries for each year, every session offered by CCEA, the latest CCEA GCSE English Language Grade Boundaries 2022 and the maximum marks of the GCSE subjects.

Here is a downloadable link for all exam boards of GCSE English Grade boundaries –GCSE English Grade Boundaries (2019 – 2022)

How to Calculate Your Grade From Grade Boundaries?

Usually, each component has an equal weighting factor. Students can add up the marks of each component, and you get your total marks. Then comparing with the grade boundary list, you will get to know what grade you got.

For example, below is a picture of the OCR GCSE English Langauge grade boundary for June 2022:

GCSE English language marks distribution

Say, in Paper 01, you scored 45 marks and 38 marks in Paper 02.
Your total marks is 45 + 38 = 83.

Now, if your target is supposed to be Grade 5 for a strong pass, you need at least 78 out of 160. Anything below 78 would result in Grade 4. However, since your total is 83, you have successfully achieved a grade of 5.

However, if the weighting factor of each paper were different, the procedure would have been different. For example, you can check for more details about grade calculation.


How many marks do you need to pass GCSE English 2022?

According to, students usually need to achieve a grade of ‘5’ for a strong pass and ‘4’ for a standard pass. Although, many government school students strictly need to secure a ‘5’ in their GCSE English to pass.

What is the pass rate for GCSE 2023?

The pass rate for GCSE 2023 has not been officially released yet, as the exams are still ongoing. However, it is expected that the pass rate will be announced by the examination board once all the results have been processed and analysed.

Will there be exams in 2023?

Yes, there will be exams in 2023. The examination board has confirmed that GCSE exams will still take place in 2023, following the usual schedule and format.

How many GCSE papers are there in 2023?

In 2023, there will be a total of 20 GCSE subjects. Each subject typically has one paper, with some subjects having multiple papers depending on the content and requirements of the course.

Do 2023 grade boundaries get a formula sheet?

During the pandemic, GCSE candidates were provided with a formula sheet as an exam aid to ease the pressure of memorising tons of formulae. Nevertheless, the Government and Ofqual have declared that formula sheets will still be provided for the 2023 examinations but only for GCSE combined sciences, physics and mathematics.

How many times can you resit GCSE English?

Only some subjects allow you the student for a resit. However, you can resit GCSE English as many times as you want. It would be best if you achieved a minimum grade of ‘4’ to pass.

What jobs can you get if you fail your GCSEs?

According to, not all industries require you to have a university degree or to have a GCSE certificate. Some jobs that do not require GCSEs yet have high pay is – prison officer, sales executive, customer service officer, firefighter etc.


As troublesome as it may be for students to worry about their GCSE English grade boundaries, all you can do is make sure you study hard before the examinations. Since the English Language is compulsory in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, candidates should try their best to achieve a good grade without needing to retake it.

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