A level higher grade than A*?

(25 Posts)
laundryelf Sun 09-Oct-16 11:53:36

I don't understand what this means, I thought the highest A level result students can get is A* but university website states;

"The typical A-Level offer is is A*AA in the Arts and Humanities and A*A*A in the Sciences, and, while we will certainly make offers at this level, we are also likely to pitch some offers a grade higher than this or stipulate A* grades in certain subjects. In practice successful l applicants tend to exceed the typical offer in their final exams by one or two grades."

How can applicants exceed the offer if it's already at A*?

OP’s posts: |
Couchpotato3 Sun 09-Oct-16 11:56:27

Well if the typical offer is A*AA, or A* A* A, they could make it higher by asking for A*A*A*, couldn't they? There is no higher grade than A* currently but unis can ask for more of them. I think that's all it means.

JedRambosteen Sun 09-Oct-16 11:57:01

They mean more A* grades in the 3 grade 'basket', not higher than A* in any individual subject.

laundryelf Sun 09-Oct-16 12:09:14

Thanks Couch and Jed. So sounds like DS probably needs A* in all four A levels he is doing if he wants to get in to this university.

OP’s posts: |
RafaIsTheKingOfClay Sun 09-Oct-16 12:19:32

Not necessarily.

He would only need 4 A*s if that's what they offered. If they offer A*A*AA, then it wouldn't really make much difference whether he actually gets 4 A* or A*A*AA in the end, just that he makes his minimum offer.

Needmoresleep Sun 09-Oct-16 12:23:14

It is possible to have offers based on 4 A levels or more. We have heard of a few cases where Cambridge have asked for 4xA* and a couple of years back Imperial made an offer based on 5 A levels.

However I doubt they could do this to an applicant who has not had the opportunity to take more than 3 A levels.

InTheDessert Sun 09-Oct-16 12:28:21

Are STEP papers still a thing? They were one higher than an A'level, but taken at the same time (,so you might sit Chemistry A levels, and a chemistry STEP paper). They were part of offers for sciences for some people also - but again only if the opportunity was present.


Letseatgrandma Sun 09-Oct-16 12:29:12

Presumably they just meant AA*A rather than A*A*A like you've posted!!of course there's not currently a higher grade than an A* confused

Letseatgrandma Sun 09-Oct-16 12:30:38

Asterix fail there! I meant three A stars instead of 2

Kr1stina Sun 09-Oct-16 12:35:03

Some candidates sit more than 3 A levels. Others sit other qualifications , not A levels ( I know, isn't it shocking, they are letting non English kids into English universities )

hellsbells99 Sun 09-Oct-16 12:51:00

Why the sarcasm Kr1stina?

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Sun 09-Oct-16 13:30:32

I think the give away that that's not remotely relevant to this thread is the phrase 'the typical A-level offer' at the start of the quote from the website.

Kr1stina Sun 09-Oct-16 16:26:47

It is relevant if you understand that your child is competing against applicants from all over the world, many of whom will have higher qualifications than A* A* A* at A level.

The top universities and the most highly ranked courses can afford to be fussy. I know it's tough but it's supply and demand.

heateallthebuns Sun 09-Oct-16 16:34:24

Could even be cut and paste from another courses requirements that they didn't amend properly!!!!

raspberryrippleicecream Sun 09-Oct-16 17:11:10

That may be so, but it is A level grades that were being discussed, not international qualifications.

STEP still exists for Maths,mostly CambridgeI think, but unis like Warwick include it as an alternative offer

curryandrice Sun 09-Oct-16 17:15:46

Some schools also do pre-U rather than A level

hellsbells99 Sun 09-Oct-16 17:34:01

Op - from DD2's school this year, she has friends that have gone to Oxford, Cambridge and Durham (as well as some to London ones). All have those have been given offers based on 3 A levels and the top offer has been 1A star and 2 As - which was the same as DD2's offer but not to any of the above universities. 1 girl's offer to Manchester was 2 A stars and 1 A (which was the standard offer). 1 girl on a gap year had her UCL offer based on 4 A levels but that was because she had already sat 3 last year and was doing further maths on her gap year - and applying for a maths degree.

hellsbells99 Sun 09-Oct-16 17:36:35

What helps is if their predicted grades are very high e.g. 3 A stars but their offer will often be the standard one particulalry if they are 'only' doing 3 A levels.

hellsbells99 Sun 09-Oct-16 17:37:20

* particularly *

Needmoresleep Sun 09-Oct-16 17:55:52


"This website refers to typical offers. One of the strengths of the Cambridge admissions system is its ability to assess all applicants individually, and all Colleges may modify offers to take account of individual circumstances. This means that some applicants may be set lower/more challenging offers than those listed on these pages/in the course entries, and some offers may specify grades to be achieved in particular subjects."

Imperial too talks about standard minimum offers.

For example physics:
For 2017 entry the minimum entry requirements to study Physics at Imperial College London are to achieve grades of A*A*A in three full A Levels - including A* in Mathematics and A*A in Physics and another subject (excluding General Studies or Critical Thinking). This is the most common offer but we reserve the right to vary the offer in some circumstances, for example where one or more A Levels have been taken a year early.

Or computing:
Standard minimum offer for Computing courses are A*AA or A*AAA overall, to include:

A* in Mathematics
Grade A in two or three further accepted A-levels (Further Mathematics is highly recommended - see table below for further guidance)
A typical offer can often include STEP papers.

And yes Cambridge do give out some 4A* offers. And Imperial offers do vary, even amongst pupils from the same school applying for the same subject. (And no...it was not obvious why.)

peteneras Sun 09-Oct-16 18:09:17

Some parents with DC doing the pre-U instead of A-level would have you believe the top pre-U grade is "higher" than the A*.

If you believe that, then you'd believe anything. . .

user1474361571 Sun 09-Oct-16 18:44:43

Some parents with DC doing the pre-U instead of A-level would have you believe the top pre-U grade is "higher" than the A star.

I am not a parent, but an academic. IMO top grades in pre-U subjects and IB HL subjects are not directly comparable to the A star, and can indeed represent higher level work than A star at A level. (IB doesn't have the same breadth as A level but in some subject areas goes deeper.)

D1 at pre-U is not viewed as having an equivalent at A level. However, only a handful of courses would distinguish in any way in admissions between D1/D2 and A star - one example being maths courses which in any case look in considerable detail at UMS at AS/A2 level before interviewing/making offers.

enolagayits0815 Mon 24-Oct-16 09:56:36

What is the significance of one or more Grades being in bold please ?

raspberryrippleicecream Mon 24-Oct-16 10:26:47

It's where people are trying to put in A* and not putting in spaces. * A * without spaces gives an A in bold. So for strings of A* it's difficult.

titchy Mon 24-Oct-16 16:19:25

Bold is not significant. Unfortunately to make something bold on threads you surround it with asterisks. Which means often instead of typing Astar (with the asterisk symbol instead of star) you type A and bold the rest of the sentence by mistake!

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