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Examination explained

How are exams marked? What’s a grade boundary? How long does it take to create a question paper?

To inform GCSE and A level students about the basics of examining, OCR have produced a new set of factsheets, which cover some of the key stages involved in examining academic qualifications. Written in jargon-free language, a glossary is also available which provides simple definitions of what can be mystifying exam board terminology. Much of this is applicable to any exam situation and students will find them very helpful.


The Cambridge approach

The Cambridge Approach is a set of principles that everyone involved in creating and marking our exams follows – from deciding what should be assessed to grades being awarded. It’s been put together to ensure all our assessments have one key aim: to promote educational excellence and high quality learning…


Creating a question paper

When a student turns over the paper at the start of an OCR exam, that question paper has been nearly eighteen months in the making. So what goes into producing a question paper?



Download: Marking

The vast majority of our marking is now done by examiners looking at scanned copies of scripts on a computer screen. OCR’s marking is carried out by over 14,000 examiners, all of whom receive high quality training and monitoring. Our marking teams are made up of principal examiners, senior team leaders, team leaders and examiners…


Your results

Download: Your results

Once the scripts have been marked, the senior examiners come together once again to decide grade boundaries. This process is called ‘Awarding’. A grade boundary is the minimum mark that a student must attain to receive a particular grade. These are set each year so that there is consistency over time and between the units of each specification…


Exam to results timeline

Download: Timeline

There are many processes between a question paper being created and a student receiving their results. This timeline offers a quick guide to what’s involved.



Download: Glossary

The assessment process, from putting together question papers through to students receiving the grades, is a complex one…

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