UMS explained! - Toot Hill School

UMS explained!
What are A-levels worth?
• Most A-levels are made up of
four units, with a grand total
of 400 UMS marks available.
• Six-unit A-levels are out of
600 UMS marks
• Two-unit A-levels are out of
200 UMS marks
The best way to understand UMS is
with an example!
• Let's imagine a four-unit A-level,
with the first unit (we'll call it
Unit X) worth 30% of the
• There are 400 UMS marks for
the whole qualification (because
it's a four-unit A-level),
• So Unit X will be worth a
maximum of 120 UMS marks
(30% of 400).
Don’t progress to the next slide if you don’t
understand this!!
For ALL A-levels…
• Grade boundaries for UMS marks are fixed so
A = 80% of the maximum UMS
B = 70%
C = 60%
D = 50%
E = 40%
Lets continue with our example!
• For Unit X, this means that our UMS grade
boundaries are:
A = 96 (80% of 120)
B = 84 (70% of 120)
C = 72 (60% of 120)
D = 60 (50% of 120)
E = 48 (40% of 120)
go back two slides
and start again!
Let's say the Unit X exam is out of 80
• These are called raw marks.
• Once the exam has been taken
by everyone, a committee at the
exam board gathers to decide
what the grade boundaries for
this particular paper should be
• They take into account for
example how difficult it is
compared to earlier versions of
the Unit X exam
Are you sure you
Unit X
• For this exam, let's say the
committee decides that the
grade A boundary is 60 out
of 80 and the grade E
boundary is 36 out of 80
(remember, these are raw
• The other grade boundaries
are spread evenly between
these two points.
We now convert the raw marks to UMS marks, because we
know where the equivalent grade boundaries lie…
If you took the exam and got 60/80, this would give you 96 UMS, because 60
happens to be the raw mark grade A boundary set by the committee, and 96 is the
uniform mark grade A boundary for this unit.
If you got 55/80, you would get 86 UMS (grade B).
If you got 45/80, you would get 66 UMS (grade D).
• Because the raw marks
are converted to UMS
marks, it means
different students'
grades can be
compared side by side,
with a particular UMS
(and ultimately grade)
representing the same
level of achievement
no matter when the
unit was taken.
UMS conversion for different exam

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