How hard is it to get a grade of 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4 in your GCSEs?

Getting a good grade in your GCSEs is very important to get into a good college and university. Students often wonder how hard it is to get a grade of 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4 in their GCSEs. This article has been written to give students a realistic idea of how challenging and difficult it is to get a certain grade in your GCSE.

According to the new U.K. grading system for GCSEs, the highest possible grade is a 9. A grade of 9 is considered more highly and difficult to achieve than an A* in the former grading system.

How hard is it to get a grade of 9 in your GCSEs

Getting a grade of 9 in your GCSEs is extremely hard to achieve but not impossible. Getting a 9 in your GCSEs is difficult because you need to have a complete understanding of the subject matter of your specification, be able to solve the tough questions in your exams, and submit a almost flawless exam.

A grade of 9 in your GCSE signals exceptional proficiency in the subject. Around 5% of students are able to achieve this high level of academic achievement in their studies. The new grading system allows universities and colleges to handpick the brightest and most competent students for competitive fields such as Medicine and Engineering.

Examiners design the GCSEs in such a manner that students can easily solve a considerable amount of the exam as long as they have a basic understanding of the syllabus and can regurgitate the facts from their textbooks.

Although examiners want to test a basic level of proficiency in the GCSE exam, they still want to distinguish between candidates who can apply their prior knowledge in unfamiliar contexts and those who can’t. Examiners do this by sparsely placing questions that require critical analysis and thinking outside the box.

You must answer the majority of these tricky and tough questions in the exams to have a shot at the elusive 9 grade in your GCSEs. Attempting the difficult questions is not sufficient, you need to get most of the questions right in the exams. A nearly flawless paper is a prerequisite to get a 9 in your GCSEs. Examiners will have a high cut off so that few students end up with a 9.

To get a 9 in your GCSEs be prepared to sacrifice a significant amount of your social life and hobbies and maintain a solid study routine unless you are a genius, in that case, you can study like everyone else and still get amazing grades.

Is it Possible to get all 9s in your GCSEs?

It is definitely possible to get all 9s in your GCSEs but it will prove to be a Herculean task. Every year less than 1000 students manage to get 9s in all their GCSEs. You need a fair amount of luck along with a thorough understanding and proficiency in all of your subjects to get a 9.

How hard is it to get an 8 in your GCSEs?

Getting an 8 in your GCSEs is also significantly hard to achieve. This is because an 8 is a competitive grade that examiners give to students who are proficient in the subject and have very few mistakes in their exams. However, getting an 8 in your GCSEs is slightly easier than getting a 9 or an A*.

According to the new grading scale, an 8 is slightly harder to achieve than an A* but easier to achieve than an A. The new grading scale allows colleges and universities a more thorough understanding of the student’s academic performance.

Getting an 8 in your GCSEs is an uphill task. You must diligently prepare for the subject and cover the entire specification. There will be a greater margin for error as compared to a grade of 9. However, the examiners will still be strict and you need to do really well to get an 8.

Is an 8 a good GCSE grade?

An 8 is a really good GCSE grade. An 8 in your GCSEs is highly respected by colleges and universities. An 8 is a good grade such that it will not provide any hindrances in your academic future. However, competitive programs like Medicine and universities such as Oxbridge may prefer a student with more 9s in their GCSEs.

How hard is it to get a 7 in your GCSEs?

Getting a 7 in your GCSEs is moderately hard. A 7 is equivalent to an A in the former GCSE grading system. You can make a few mistakes and still manage to get a 7. Getting a 7 in your GCSEs is not too difficult as long as you revise the subject matter regularly and have a good understanding of it.

A significant number of students manage to get a 7 in their GCSEs. You do not need to do an exceptional amount of studying. As long as you pay attention in classes, revise the subject content regularly, practice using the past paper questions, getting a 7 in your GCSEs should not be particularly difficult.

Examiners will have lower grade thresholds and allow students to make more mistakes when awarding a grade of 7. In order to get a 7 in your GCSEs, examiners will not expect you to have in-depth knowledge, strong critical-thinking skills, or submit a nearly flawless exam.

Is a 7 a good GCSE grade?

A 7 is a good GCSE grade but not a great one. Universities and colleges will give preference to students with an 8 or 9 especially in competitive fields such as Medicine. Luckily for most colleges and university programs, a 7 is a good enough grade to be considered a competitive applicant.

How hard is it to get a 6 in your GCSE?

Getting a 6 in your GCSE is reasonably difficult. At this point, examiners will only expect you to have a basic understanding and be able to regurgitate the facts from the textbook. Getting a 6 is not hard at all and you should easily manage to get a 6 in your GCSE if you don’t make a significant number of mistakes.

 how hard is it to get a grade of 6 in your GCSEs?

Examiners become quite lenient with their grade thresholds when awarding students grades 6 and below. Even if you study half-heartedly throughout the year and up your game as you approach your exams, getting a 6 in your GCSE should not be too hard.

Although a 6 is a good GCSE grade it will hinder you from many competitive colleges and university programs. Having a shot at the top-tier universities becomes increasingly unrealistic unless you have absolutely stellar A-level grades.

How hard is it to get a 5 in your GCSE?

Getting a 5 in your GCSE is not hard at all. In fact, a 5 is considered a strong pass and it is quite easy to achieve. You can get a 5 in your GCSEs even if you mess up or skip several questions in the exams. A basic understanding of the syllabus will be sufficient to get a 5 in your GCSE

Although getting a 5 is relatively easy; it is not considered a competitive grade. It shows colleges and universities that you have only done the bare minimum to pass your GCSE subjects. Colleges will not allow you to study difficult subjects like A-level Further Maths with 5s in your GCSEs.

By putting in a bit more effort and revising regularly you can easily turn a potential 5 into a 6 in your GCSEs. A 6 is much more respected and is considered a lot more competitive than a 5.

How hard is it to get a 4 in your GCSE?

Getting a 4 in your GCSEs is not hard in the slightest bit. Getting a 4 in your GCSE is extremely easy and is considered a standard pass. A 4 is the lowest grade you can get in your GCSE if you want to pass the subject.

A 4 is very easy to achieve, however, it is only considered a borderline pass. You can get a 4 despite making several mistakes, skipping many questions, and having a weak understanding of the syllabus.

Ideally, you want to aim for a 6 or higher in your GCSEs. This is because if you fall short a 4 is still considered a pass albeit a standard one.

4s in the majority of your GCSEs will severely decrease your chances at a good college or university. If a college does accept you they may ask you to take extra classes, limit yourself to three A-level subjects, and submit additional practice questions every week.

A-levels are significantly harder than GCSEs and if you end up with 4s in your GCSEs then passing your A-levels will be an extremely difficult task unless you seriously up your game.

Adding It All Up

We will use the GCSE AQA Maths 2019 Grade Boundaries to get a better idea of how hard is it to get different grades.

Subject TitleMaximum Marks987654321
Mathematics Tier H240206171136105744327

The table above shows the number of marks you need to get the different grades. The table should be used as a guideline as other subjects follow a similar pattern. The number of marks needed for a 9 is almost twice the number needed to get a 6. The table shows that it gets increasingly easier to get lower grades.


Passing the GCSEs with a 4 or 5 is very easy but these grades are not considered competitive. Students should aim to get a 6 or higher in their GCSEs. This way if they don’t do well then they would have still passed. If they manage to get a 7, 8, or 9 then it will make them competitive applicants for colleges and universities