A-Level results and grades explained: Is a D or an E a pass? | The Sun

TENS of thousands of students pick up their A-level results each year on results day.

Students all over the UK will be hoping to have been awarded the grades they need to land a place at their chosen universities.

Is an E or D a pass at A-level?

An E or D is still a pass at A-Level – but it will result in lower UCAS points.

A pass is indicated by one of six grades, A*, A, B, C, D or E, – where A and A* is the highest grade and E is the lowest.

In order to meet the pass criteria, you must get an E grade or above on results day.

If a student does not pass, it will show on their results sheet as "Not Classified" or similar.

What is the Uniform Mark Scale and how does it work?

Grades are converted to marks on a scale called the Uniform Mark Scale.

It is the tool used by exam bodies to smooth out any variations in levels of difficulty of exams and coursework.

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If you had a relatively low score on an extremely tough exam, the UMS counterbalances it so you end up with a score that's relative to how hard your exam was.

This ensures that results are comparable between exam series and subjects.

Your Provisional Statement of Results shows both the "raw" and the "uniform" marks.

For example, one year a candidate may only need 62 raw marks to get an A grade (80%), but another year 62 marks may only be equivalent to a B grade (70%).

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What are UCAS points?

UCAS points, or Tariff value, translates your qualifications into a numerical value that can then be compared to other courses and totalled up alongside your other A-levels and qualifications.

The UCAS points system is often used by universities for their entry requirements.

Most UK qualifications have a UCAS Tariff value, which will vary dependent on the qualification size and your grade.

The higher the grade, the greater the number of UCAS points earned.

The points apply to loads of different types of qualifications and how many points you get per grade.

You can calculate your UCAS Tariff points here.


  • A* – 56
  • A – 48
  • B – 40
  • C – 32
  • D – 24
  • E – 16

AS Level

  • A – 20
  • B – 16
  • C – 12
  • D – 10
  • E – 6

What happens if I fail an exam?

If you've opened your results and you haven't received the pass marks you were hoping for – don't panic.

There are several options if you fail a test or don't do as well as you had hoped.

And remember that if you were very close to achieving the required grades, you might still have been accepted by at least one of your university choices.

The first thing to do is check with your choices to see if you have a place anyway, or have been offered a different course based on your grades.

You can also look into Clearing options.

Free appeals can also be made by students who feel they were unfairly marked or there has been an error in their grade calculation.

This can be done via their school, which will then contact the relevant exam board.

Those applying to higher education who did not attain the offer they accepted as their first choice must appeal by a particular date – so make sure you check any deadlines with exam boards.

You might decide that you’d rather hold off on university and take another crack at getting the results you wanted – and you can do this in a couple of different ways.

If you want to retake the course in the exact same way as you previously did – you can enrol to resit at your school, sixth form or college.

However, if that option doesn't suit you, you can also enrol on an online course – which will give you a lot more flexibility as you’re not confined to a classroom and set timetable.

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When it comes time to sit your exam, you'll still sit it at a school or college on the same date as all other students – however, you'll need to book your place yourself.

It's important to keep in mind any additional costs that may be involved as a result of re-sitting your A-levels – as you will be entered as a private candidate.

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