Grade Boundaries

Grade boundaries are the minimum number of marks needed to achieve each grade. Whilst exam papers are written to the same level of difficulty, they do vary each year. Grade boundaries ensure that whenever the exam is sat, students receive the same grade for the same level of performance.

For unitised specifications, grade boundaries are expressed on a Uniform Mark Scale (UMS). UMS grade boundaries remain the same every year as the range of UMS mark percentages allocated to a particular grade does not change. UMS grade boundaries are published at overall subject and unit level.


For linear specifications, a single grade is awarded for the overall subject, rather than for each component/unit that contributes towards the overall grade. Grade boundaries are published on results day.


The 'notional' grade boundaries for each component are also available from 8am on publication of results days.. Component boundaries are 'notional' and intended only as a guide, they are not official grades.

National level statistics are compiled and published by The Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ), a membership organisation comprising the seven largest providers of qualifications in the UK.