On August 10, Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) announced the results for this year’s May/June A Level examinations, leading to a loud uproar from students who believed that the marking was unjustified. Students have said that their devastation stems from the fact that only a few students have achieved A or B grades while many only managed to get Cs, Ds, Es, and Us.

This year, Cambridge examinations were disrupted in Pakistan following the May 9 and 12 riot, leading to a shut down across many areas and cities. The riots also resulted in the cancellation of three whole days of examinations.

While students believe that the CIE grading criteria has been unfair and that the papers should be taken again, Cambridge International on August 13, published an official statement to address the controversy.


Responding to students, the CIE stated that this year’s marking has returned to the pre-pandemic 2019 standard. This means achieving, for example, an A grade, would mean getting an A grade in 2023. “Students all around the world have seen this return to the 2019 standard,” the statement said.

The grading has been done on the basis of the components given. CIE has acknowledged the disappointment of students in Pakistan but it has also offered reassurances of its fairness and reliability of grading for the missed exams.

The anger, however, has refused to cool down. On Tuesday, several students went out on the streets of Lahore and Karachi to protest against the “unfairness”.

The students demanded retakes so they could improve their grades.

Institute of Business Administration (IBA) has taken into consideration that many students have not been able to achieve the grade they could have otherwise. According to IBA’s Registrar Dr Asad Ilyas, the number of students who cannot meet their usual admission standards is more than double this time. Henceforth, the university will also reconsider their admission requirements for this year to be fair to the students.

Nonetheless, A Level students apply to universities across Pakistan and around the globe, and with the grade they have been granted this year, their chances of getting into prestigious universities have lowered.