Here’s how to grade boundaries for AQA GCSE English Language yourself. Figuring out how to convert a mark into an actual grade can be very confusing! We’ve broken it down here for you so that it’s clearer and more manageable to see how you’re doing on practise questions and papers.

Here are a few things to remember:

  • The old system of grading (A*-U grades) has now been replaced by levels 9-1.
  • Level 9 is the highest and almost nobody gets it; it is the equivalent of an A** grade. A Level 8 translates roughly to an A*; Level 7 to an A and so on. For a “C” grade, this is now split between a Level 4 (low C) and a Level 5 (high C).
  • You should aim for a Level 5 as a minimum example of a high grade; some further education courses do accept Level 4s instead of 5s so double check your course requirements if you’re unsure about the grade you need.
  • For English Language, Paper 1 and Paper 2 are equally weighted, so you have to get good marks on BOTH papers to secure your overall grade. Question 5 on each paper is the most important question – make sure you’re good at it!

Thanks for reading! If you’re stuck on English Language and need some help, you can try out our full online video courses here:

AQA GCSE English Language Paper 1

AQA GCSE English Language Paper 2

We’ve made a full breakdown of each paper, including top mark example answers, a clear process to follow for each question and lots of practise extracts and mock papers so that you can feel fully confident going into the English exams!


Each year, the boundaries differ a little because of something called ‘scaling’. This means that they may change by one or two marks up or down, depending on the difficulty of the exam. If you want to secure a grade, make sure your practise questions are in the middle of that grade level – don’t just scrape a L8 and expect to get a L8 in the exam, for example. You need to be confidently and regularly hitting the mid to high point of your target level to be sure of receiving that grade in the exam.

AQA GCSE English Language Paper 2, Question 2 Answer + Feedback from an AQA Examiner


Use the “PERCENTAGE” column to track your grades! You can figure out what level you’re working at for each question by converting your mark into a percentage.


You receive a 5/8 for Language Paper 1, Question 2. This converts to 62.5%, using the table below, it shows that you are on a L6 grade for this question.

You receive a 28/40 for Language Paper 2, Question 5. This converts to 70%, using the table below, it shows that you are on a L7 grade for this question.

Total: 160 (80 marks per paper)


9 127 79.4 %

8 117 73.1%

7 108 67.5%

6 97    60.6%

5 86    53.8%

4 76    47.5%

3 56    35%

2 36    22.5%

1 16    10%