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Tips for getting high UMS in A levels? Watch

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    (Original post by jneill)
    I note that says: "Uniform marks and grades are reported for each unit, as well as for the overall qualification."
    Exactly - they haven't re-written it yet, you have to extrapolate to the new system but that's true for most documents at the moment and it isn't always possible.

    There are an awful lot of grey areas at the moment. My most recent list of queries about all this to the Exams Officer support at an exam board resulted in a reply which started "Golly, that's a lot of information you're after. You'd be best off speaking to another team."
    ..and that's from the exam board I've found to be the most helpful on this.
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    (Original post by Compost)
    Exactly - they haven't re-written it yet, you have to extrapolate to the new system but that's true for most documents at the moment and it isn't always possible.

    There are an awful lot of grey areas at the moment. My most recent list of queries about all this to the Exams Officer support at an exam board resulted in a reply which started "Golly, that's a lot of information you're after. You'd be best off speaking to another team."
    ..and that's from the exam board I've found to be the most helpful on this.
    Oh I see - so that's a useless document then (but interesting nontheless...)

    Any thoughts on that doc I linked that mentions GCSE performance being used for A-Level A* boundary setting? How do they plan to do that?
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    (Original post by Compost)
    If you are taking reformed A levels then UMS has been abolished. The current intention is that results issued directly to schools will contain only the overall grade.
    Not for maths yet
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    Definitely know everything on your course inside and out, and do every single past paper

    Also, you need to really understand everything and preempt possible questions, since especially at A2 you get a lot of 'suggest' questions, and papers can be really synoptic, so stay on top of stuff you've learnt in AS as well! (This is especially for science subjects) and get used to answering questions on completely new things, which usually link in some way to something you've learnt.
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    (Original post by Compost)
    The new A levels are linear qualifications. Just like other linear qualifications (e.g. GCSE Linear Math and IGCSEs) all that is automatically supplied to schools is a grade. Equally, just like other linear qualifications, there will no be UMS, just overall qualification grade boundaries which will vary with each exam season. This means that even if you do get the marks from your school, you probably won't be able to tell how well you did on individual papers compared to other people - getting 60 on both units could put you near the top on one paper and near the bottom on the other. (AQA issue indicative grade boundaries at a and c, but not all boards do.) (In case you think it will be different for these linear qualifications because, you want it to be, I have checked the results software and there is nowhere for a mark to be entered and I have asked AQA and Edexcel and they confirm it.)

    Schools will be able to download marks from the secure sites but this comes in a different form from each exam board and trying to collate that and then produce an accurate mail merge to provide individual results sheets for all candidates as well as everything else that has to be done in the 24 hours before results day may not be feasible. I'm grappling to come up with a workable plan for my school and this year we only have to worry about AS results. If you want to know marks you will probably have to specifically ask your school -either your teacher or exams officer, depending how your school operates.

    All this is more information that used to be available years ago, but for a generation brought up on knowing details of their marks I think it's going to be a nightmare. I have raised this in several places but I don't expect much is going to change before the summer.
    Oh no.. what does this mean for Cambridge applicants? Will we not be assessed on UMS?
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    (Original post by Someboady)
    Oh no.. what does this mean for Cambridge applicants? Will we not be assessed on UMS?
    Uni applicants are assessed on Y12 performance not Y13 (unless post A-level applicant), so it makes no difference.

    But Cambridge does still recommend Y12 to sit AS-levels (and therefore still have UMS) if at all possible.

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    (Original post by jneill)
    Uni applicants are assessed on Y12 performance not Y13 (unless post A-level applicant), so it makes no difference.

    But Cambridge does still recommend Y12 to sit AS-levels (and therefore still have UMS) if at all possible.

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    Sorry I don't fully understand. By A-levels, I thought it was inclusive of AS Levels? So UMS still exists for AS levels that have been reformed?
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    If there are no UMS marks how can you compare A-levels taken on different exam boards if the marks aren't standardised??? How would you know if an 82% on say OCR History was better or worse than an 82% on AQA History that year?
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    (Original post by ♥Samantha♥)
    If there are no UMS marks how can you compare A-levels taken on different exam boards if the marks aren't standardised??? How would you know if an 82% on say OCR History was better or worse than an 82% on AQA History that year?
    Some would say the boards aren't equally difficult at the moment either.

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    (Original post by Someboady)
    Sorry I don't fully understand. By A-levels, I thought it was inclusive of AS Levels? So UMS still exists for AS levels that have been reformed?
    Yes, there will be UMS, or at least unit marks, for AS-levels in reformed subjects. The wider issue is that many schools will not offer them.

    However Cambridge is very used to dealing with applicants without AS-level UMS (eg IB, Scottish quals, etc etc.) anyway.

    But it's likely they will be making some tweaks to how they handle 2017 cycle applicants onwards... watch this space.



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    (Original post by Someboady)
    So UMS still exists for AS levels that have been reformed?
    No.
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    (Original post by Compost)
    No.
    There will be marks though. Surely?

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    (Original post by Compost)
    If you are taking reformed A levels then UMS has been abolished. The current intention is that results issued directly to schools will contain only the overall grade.
    How would cambridge admissions work with no UMS?
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    (Original post by jneill)
    There will be marks though. Surely?e
    Same as for the new A levels and other linear qualifications -all schools will get automatically is grades but they will be able to get unit marks from the exam board secure sites if they go looking. However there is no easy way of collating them all and issuing them to students so students will probably have to ask if they want to know.
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    (Original post by DylanJ42)
    How would cambridge admissions work with no UMS?
    Some schools won't even bother with AS levels so the lack of UMS is a more minor issue. I suggest you look at what universities are saying about this - but it is only going back to how things were 20 years ago before AS levels were invented.
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    (Original post by Compost)
    Same as for the new A levels and other linear qualifications -all schools will get automatically is grades but they will be able to get unit marks from the exam board secure sites if they go looking. However there is no easy way of collating them all and issuing them to students so students will probably have to ask if they want to know.
    So it's not true to say they won't have marks, just that they will need to request them (eg if you are a Cambridge applicant).

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    (Original post by Compost)
    If you are taking reformed A levels then UMS has been abolished. The current intention is that results issued directly to schools will contain only the overall grade.
    this is going to make Cambridge applications exciting
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    (Original post by DylanJ42)
    How would cambridge admissions work with no UMS?
    See the posts discussing this very point above...

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    (Original post by jneill)
    See the posts discussing this very point above...

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    I just read this post and replied without reading the whole thread, whoops
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    (Original post by Compost)
    Some schools won't even bother with AS levels so the lack of UMS is a more minor issue. I suggest you look at what universities are saying about this - but it is only going back to how things were 20 years ago before AS levels were invented.
    I do wonder how the top top unis handled admissions without the A* grade
 
 
 
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