AAA, AAB, CCB...what does it all mean?

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TB272
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I know you guys have specific tests to take, just like we have the SAT's and ACT's in the US, but what are the offers from Universities based on? Do they always give you an offer, just with different grades? Why are there three grades? What determines if its AAA, AAB, or whatever other combinations there are?
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alex-hs
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The qualifications that most universities accept from home students are A-Levels. (Stands for Advanced levels, exams sat at the age of 18, and historically the complement to the O-Level or Ordinary Level, sat at 16. The O-Level was phased out in the late 80s I think though, and replaced with the GCSE, or General Certificate of Secondary Education.)

Anyway, most people will take 3 subjects at A-level, some will take 4, and the odd one or two (and they usually are odd!) take 5.

A-levels are graded A, B, C, D, E and U. Obviously A is better than E, and U pretty much means you got no marks.

Universities therefore as a rule will make an offer of three A-level grades, say AAB in any subjects. Sometimes they may also specify that one of the higher grades must be in a certain subject, eg mathematics.

To further confuse the issue, there is also the AS-level, or Advanced Subsidiary level. These are taken the year before A-Levels and count as half an A-level, in addition to making up the first half of the A-level course. Most people take four AS levels, and drop one, carrying on with 3 to the full A-level. The marks you get at AS contribute 50% towards your A-level mark. They're usually represented as lower case letters, ie a, b, c, d, e, u. For example someone's total marks at A-level may be BBDb.

Some universities don't make offers by grades, but by UCAS points. (UCAS is the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, the body through which undergrads have to apply for universities in the UK). Basically, an A is worth 120, B 100, C 80, D 60 and E 40. AS levels are worth half, so the above marks would make 310. Most of the 'good' unis ask for grades though rather than points, I suppose because it ensures quality over quantity.

Er, that was probably a bit long, but I think it'll give you the gist of it!
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anon53
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This is very detailed. There are lots of combinations for grades. As has been said, most Universities specify three A-levels, taken at the age of 18, in which students must achieve specific grades, determind by the University based on factors such as the type of course, the University reputation/location, the number of applicants applying, the candidates' ability and the quality of the course. The grades specified must be achieved in order to be accepted. However, the exam boards, who set and mark the papers, determine the grades that candidates achieve, not UCAS (see above for explanation of this). There are a number of grade combinations. Most require three grades, but they can be in any combnation and are based on the A-level pass grades of A-E. There are certain percentages that must be achieved for each grade e.g. An A is 80%, B = 70%, C 60% etc. Grade U is 0-39%. E is the lowest pass grade, requiring 40%. This is determind by the mark out of 600 where 480 (80%) = A, 420 = (70%) = B 360 (C), 150=D etc.

Hope this helps a little

Good luck
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khil
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Alex pretty much said it all, if not all lol!

I guess, for example, when I was applying, universities asked for BBB. My AS grades (which uni will look at) and my predicted grades (grades my teachers think I'll get at A2 - second year of A-Levels) are both taken into consideration when a uni decides whether to accept me. So because I got AAAC at AS, I then went and dropped AS Eng Lit, so I was predicted on only 3 subjects and was predicted AAB - I exceeded the minimal requirement of that university that was offering a minimal of BBB grades to enter that specific course. But for example, someone who has DDDD at AS and predicted CDD would mostly not apply for a course that is asking for BBB grades, for example. But one or two would apply even if their grades are below the minimal offer, for example when someone is below the minimal offer by only one or two grades. So if someone had grades CDD and the course offers BCC, that person might apply anyway but the chance of him getting in is lower than those who already have BCC or higher.

So one grade (represented by one capital letter) represents how well you did in one subject. Most unis require you to have 3 subjects to A2, hence there're 3 grades. But if an applicant has 4 A-Levels, say applying to a course whose minimal requirement was AAB, that person may get offered AAAB, for example, which means he needs his 4th A-Level to count as well. But they may only offer 3 grades as requirement even if you have 4 or 5 A-Levels. That depends on the uni itself. The offers on prospectuses are not fixed - the uni has the power to lower or raise the requirements according to the individual, but the prospectus basically gives you an idea of what is the typical offer, so most people will be getting that offer. But for example, for my course the typical offer was ABB, but I was offered BBB. For my bf and my friend, History's typical offer was AAA but one was offered AAA and the other AAB. Whether they lower their offers for you will depend on how much they want you, and in other cases if you really want you, they will give you an unconditional offer, which means you do not need to have specific grades to get in - even if you got EEEE (one grade from fail, which is U), you would still get in. But of course, if you get an uncon offer, the likelihood is you're excellent and will be getting high grades anyway.

And if a uni offers ABB, then it doesn't matter which subject you get your A in. However if a uni offers, for example, ABB with A in Eng Lit - then it doesn't matter if you got ABB but B in Eng Lit, you have still failed your requirements and therefore the university is entitled to reject you, but in some cases, unis will accept you anyway if you only miss by one grade. Whether they will accept you if you miss your minimal offer depends on how popular the course is. If the course is full and you miss your offer, you don't get in. If your course is in Clearing (which means the course is not full and it's trying to get people who have missed their offers for other unis to apply) then the priority vancancies go to students to whom they've made an offer, who has made that uni their first/firm choice, but missed it. However sometimes the course doesn't get into Clearing precisely because they didn't have enough people, so took on everyone to whom they've already made offers regardless of what they will actually get, and in so doing have filled up the spaces so the course is no longer in Clearing.

I don't think I've done very well explaining lol
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Girl_Learning
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(Original post by alex-hs)
The qualifications that most universities accept from home students are A-Levels. (Stands for Advanced levels, exams sat at the age of 18, and historically the complement to the O-Level or Ordinary Level, sat at 16. The O-Level was phased out in the late 80s I think though, and replaced with the GCSE, or General Certificate of Secondary Education.)

Anyway, most people will take 3 subjects at A-level, some will take 4, and the odd one or two (and they usually are odd!) take 5.

A-levels are graded A, B, C, D, E and U. Obviously A is better than E, and U pretty much means you got no marks.

Universities therefore as a rule will make an offer of three A-level grades, say AAB in any subjects. Sometimes they may also specify that one of the higher grades must be in a certain subject, eg mathematics.

To further confuse the issue, there is also the AS-level, or Advanced Subsidiary level. These are taken the year before A-Levels and count as half an A-level, in addition to making up the first half of the A-level course. Most people take four AS levels, and drop one, carrying on with 3 to the full A-level. The marks you get at AS contribute 50% towards your A-level mark. They're usually represented as lower case letters, ie a, b, c, d, e, u. For example someone's total marks at A-level may be BBDb.

Some universities don't make offers by grades, but by UCAS points. (UCAS is the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, the body through which undergrads have to apply for universities in the UK). Basically, an A is worth 120, B 100, C 80, D 60 and E 40. AS levels are worth half, so the above marks would make 310. Most of the 'good' unis ask for grades though rather than points, I suppose because it ensures quality over quantity.

Er, that was probably a bit long, but I think it'll give you the gist of it!



Hi

What does it mean when a University says AAB including Chemistry...does it mean you can get B in Chemistry but your other subjects have to be A grade?
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A Perfect Circle
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(Original post by Girl_Learning)
Hi

What does it mean when a University says AAB including Chemistry...does it mean you can get B in Chemistry but your other subjects have to be A grade?
It means Chemistry has to be a part of those 3 grades that they're asking for.

If you get a B in Chemistry, it means you need an A in 2 other subjects, but if you get an A in Chemistry, you just need an A and a B in 2 other subjects.
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Nix-j-c
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(Original post by Girl_Learning)
Hi

What does it mean when a University says AAB including Chemistry...does it mean you can get B in Chemistry but your other subjects have to be A grade?
yeah unless it specifies AAB with an A in chemsitry, you would only need a B in chemsitry for that offer.
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Girl_Learning
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(Original post by HSG1992)
It means Chemistry has to be a part of those 3 grades that they're asking for.

If you get a B in Chemistry, it means you need an A in 2 other subjects, but if you get an A in Chemistry, you just need an A and a B in 2 other subjects.

Thanks
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Girl_Learning
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(Original post by Nix-j-c)
yeah unless it specifies AAB with an A in chemsitry, you would only need a B in chemsitry for that offer.
Thanks
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alex-hs
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well this is a blast from the past...
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georgeio chand
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What does it mean if it says AA-EE?
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longdayatnight
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(Original post by georgeio chand)
What does it mean if it says AA-EE?
Can I ask where you've seen this?
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Loukas99
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If I fex. want to apply for engineering and they require ABB including maths and a second science, and if we suppose I have a B in maths and a B in the 2nd science, can the A grade be a subject that has nothing to do with engineering and science? Physical education for example for example?
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Arg146
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Higher : BBBB does that mean u need 4 higher B’S
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