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We publish grade thresholds after each exam series. A grade threshold is the minimum number of marks that a candidate needs to obtain a particular grade in a paper or in a subject. Before reading the grade threshold document, there is some important information you need to know about how we set the thresholds.
How do we set grade thresholds?
A grade threshold is the minimum number of marks that a candidate needs to obtain a particular grade in a paper or in a subject. These thresholds are decided after each examination has been taken and marked. The aim in each year (or examination series) is to set each threshold in just the right place to ensure that it is no more difficult and no less difficult to obtain that grade than it was in the previous year.
To fulfil that aim we have to lower the thresholds from one examination to another if we find that the questions in a paper have been more difficult than last time (or raise the thresholds if we find the questions have been easier). This is to be fair to candidates from one series to another.
How to interpret our grade threshold tables
The table in the grade threshold document shows the thresholds taken in a particular examination series for each paper or other component that we marked (so not for teacher-marked components, for example).
The table also shows the thresholds used for the options available. An option is a permitted combination of papers or other components that make up the overall qualification. In the simplest cases, we can just add up the component thresholds to get the option threshold.
Sometimes it is more complicated:
Marking and grading
Assigning grades to candidates' work is a complex process. We have put together guides to show how we ensure that all candidates taking our exams receive fair and accurate results.