To begin with, let us point out the obvious: exam results matter. Massively.
And thus, when your results are not what you had expected, remarks are an option to consider.
So what exactly is a remark?
A remark is basically a review of the marking carried out by the examiner. This review ensures everything is as it should be and that the candidate could not receive a mark higher than that he or she has already been awarded.
What kind of remarks are there?
There are two main type:
1. Clerical Check.
This simply means someone is employed to review your exam paper and add up all the marks awarded by the examiner. These are cheaper to request and less likely to uncover more marks.
2. Review of Marking.
This involves an examination of your script to check it was consistently marked according to the mark scheme. In most cases, this doesn’t actually mean your script is completely remarked – this is only if the exam board decides a particular marker keeps getting things wrong.
Since multiple-choice tests are machine-marked, a review of marking service isn’t available, nor is it for internally assessed aspects of the exam like coursework.
Upon receiving the results of a remark, if you and your school were to disagree with the result and wish to challenge it, there is another process for this: an appeal. An appeal is also possible if your school refuses to request a remark for you.
Weighing up the odds – is it worth the hassle?
As with anything, there are pros and cons to getting an exam remarked. The biggest pro is, of course, the possibility of achieving a better grade. However, there are other factors too that must be considered:
• Yes, your grade could go up. But it’s a risk. It could just as well stay the same or… god forbid, go down. Although few remarks lead to a downgrade, the possibility is still there. That’s why when requesting a remark, you must sign a form to show awareness of such a possibility.
• There is a fee charged per paper – varying from £30 upwards (depending on the exam board). However, this fee is refunded if the remark leads to changes in your grade.
• Once you’ve decided to request a remark, it’s pretty much a waiting game. Getting a remark takes time and it’s difficult for some to make plans during this – especially if a position at a University or Sixth Form hangs in the balance.
How do I know I’m eligible for a remark?
Well first things first, discuss your marks with your teacher. Since they are the ones interacting with you in class and are aware of the standard you are working at – as well as knowing what the exam was like – they are likely to be able to take the call in an unbiased way. They are also able to check your current mark against the grade boundaries to see whether a remark is worth a shot. For example, if you were only a couple marks short of the grade above, a remark is more worthwhile than if you were say, fifteen marks off.
Is there any way I can be sure whether remarking is the right choice for me?
The short answer is: yes, there kind of is. Your Exam Centre is allowed to ask for a copy of your marked script. This could be an actual copy, a photocopy or even an online scan. Upon receiving your copy, your teacher can check the mark scheme to see whether you might be able to earn a few more marks – marks which could give your grade the desired nudge. This, in turn, could help you decide whether remarking is really for you.
Please note: if the marked paper is not available online, it is unlikely you will be able to swiftly access the script. In such cases, you will not get them in time to request a priority review of marking.
But how do you get a remark?
Get into contact with the Centre at which you sat your exam. After that, the Exam Centre should be able to contact the exam board and sort things out. Of course, the process itself may differ slightly depending on the exam board you sat – whether it is AQA, OCR, Pearsons (Edexcel) or so on.
Please do remember however that if your school is discouraging you from a remark; it is important to consider their advice carefully. Results day can be an emotional time for many and it’s easy to get carried away, but please remember that your school is more experienced in this matter and their reason for discouraging you is unlikely to be baseless.