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    AS, A2 and UMS Marks Explained

    Linear A Levels have no UMS system but for our remaining modular A Levels finishing in Summer 2018 (Design Technology, Government and Politics, Home Economics and Maths) the following explains the way marks are converted into grades. Linear subjects do not have a common marks/grading system.

    AS, A2 and UMS Marks for Modular Subjects Explained

    The terminology of public examinations, most especially AS, A2 and UMS marks, is often a source of confusion.  We hope that these notes will aid your understanding.

    AS, A2 and A Levels (modular A Levels)

    AS levels are taken as a stand-alone qualification, or as the first part of an A Level course. AS Levels are completed at the end of the Lower Sixth year;  A2 exams are added on to an AS Level at the end of the Upper Sixth year, making up the full A Level qualification.  AS and A2 examinations are taken in June.

    Uniform Mark Scale (UMS) for Modular A Levels

    Uniform marks are used for the few remaining modular A Level examinations.  Each course comprises a number of units;  each AS or A2 unit is marked and the raw mark is then scaled to a common unified scale. This is the mark that appears on the Statement of Results as the UMS.  The common unified scale ensures that whilst, for example, the question paper for Politics Unit 3 will be different each time, the value of the paper will be consistent from year to year. Hence the certification grade boundaries are fixed.

    The UMS grade boundaries for each unit depend on the total possible Uniform Mark for that unit. The grade boundaries are summarised in the table below: 

    AS and A2 Unit Grade Boundaries

    Grade Awarded/
    UMS Mark:
     60 80 90 100 105 120 140 150
     a  48 64 72 80 84 96 112 120
     b  42 56 63 70 74 84 98 105
     c  36 48 54 60 63 72 84  90
     d  30 40 45 50 53 60 70  75
     e  24 32 36 40 42 48 56  60
     u <24 <32 <36 <40 <42 <48 <56  <60

    Note that:

    • On results paperwork, the grades for individual units are shown in lower case, as in the table above.  When the results from the units in a course are combined, the overall grade is shown in upper case.
    • At AS (Lower Sixth results), when the units' UMS marks are combined the total is either 200 or 300 for each subject*.
    • At A2 (Upper Sixth results), when the units' UMS marks are combined the total is also either 200 or 300 for each subject*.
      (* Chinese adds up to only 100 at AS and 100 at A2)

    AS Grading

    At AS students should focus on the UMS score rather than the raw grade.  UMS scores (out of 200 or 300) at AS represent 50% of the total marks available for the A level as a whole.  Thus. although a candidate with 159/200 UMS points will be awarded a grade B at AS and one with 161 a grade A, there is really no difference in their prospects at A2.  However, it is more significant when deciding between subjects to continue at A2 if a candidate obtains a low grade B of 141/200 and a high A grade of 180.

    A Level Grading

    The grade boundaries for the overall subject grade are shown in the table below. In order to work out an overall A Level grade the AS units and A2 units are added together and the mark compared to the grade boundaries below: 

        AS Grade Boundaries A2 Grade Boundaries
      Maximum UMS Mark 200 300 400 600
    Grade Awarded  A 160 240 320 480
     B 140 210 280 420
     C 120 180 240 360
     D 100 150 200 300
     E   80 120 160 240

    Note that:

    • In all subjects (except Maths and Further Maths) the A* is awarded at A2 level for candidates who achieve an A grade overall and 90% or more UMS marks in their A2 units.
    • For Maths, A* is awarded for an A grade overall and 180 or more in C3 and C4.
    • For Further Maths, an A* is awarded for an A grade overall and 270 or more in their three best A2 units.

    If you have any questions relating to Public Examination results please email Mrs Heather Turnbull