Challenge to Exam Grade – A Levels

The parents of an A-level student
Legal Team
  • Louise O’Driscoll
  • Shannon Keenan
Contract Type
Legal Service


We were instructed by parents who wished to appeal their son’s A Level grade. The mark he received in his exam meant that he did not achieve the overall grade he expected and as such, he lost out on his place at University as the matter had not been resolved by the start of the academic year. 

Associate solicitor, Louise O’Driscoll, assisted the client with drafting up representations to the exam centre. The appeal was successful, resulting in the examiner increasing the student’s mark sufficiently to place him in the top grade boundary and giving him the grade which he needed for his University course

The challenge

The student receiving a top mark in his economics exam was critical to him securing a place at his chosen university to study Law. His parents had already taken the appropriate steps to contact their son’s school and request further information and the exam script. The team were therefore able to review the examiners marks and how the overall mark had been arrived at.

It became clear upon examination of the exam script that there had been an administrative error but neither the school nor the exam board were prepared to acknowledge it to the clients before the team became involved. This was deeply frustrating to the student and his parents and caused unnecessary delay and emotional upset.

The client had never had cause to engage in litigation before and were daunted by the prospect. The school appeared disinterested and showed little enthusiasm towards resolving the issue despite the clear failings on the part of the exam board being pointed out to them.

Our client was frustrated at those involved not taking the matter seriously and so looked to the team to inject fresh energy into the matter and to articulate the appeal coherently and forcefully.

Complicating factors

The case was of particular interest as it highlighted how simple administrative mistakes can have such a huge impact and have life altering consequences. If a student suspects that any error with the marking of their papers, they should consider obtaining copies of the scripts, mark scheme and have them reviewing as the judgement of the school/exam centre/exam board is not always accurate, as was shown to be the case here. The errors identified could have so easily been avoided and it is hoped that lessons will be learned by those involved to ensure that students are not caused such injustice in the future.

The solution

A full letter of representations was drafted and sent off to the exam centre in accordance with the appeals procedure. The centre then sent this off to the board who, upon reading the representations, agreed to have the paper remarked by a senior examiner. The examiner increased the students mark sufficiently to place him in the top grade boundary thereby giving him the grade which he needed for his university course.

The team was there to support the student and parents every step of the way. The matter was dealt with expeditiously, professionally and communication was maintained throughout the journey to reassure the student that he was in good hands.


If you need help with a similar matter, contact our eduction solicitors today or visit our guide on how to appeal your A-level grades for more information about the process.

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