Student Absence Line: 01666 829759

t f y

Student Absence Line: 01666 829759

D60 9407 D61 1586 D60 9506 DV1596 001 IFS pic

What is meant by UMS

Students » Sixth Form » What is meant by UMS

What is meant by UMS?

This is a frequently asked question and any of your subject teachers should be able to give you an answer in the context of their subject.

When you receive any examination results you will get an overall grade plus a breakdown of how you did in each unit or module that you completed as an exam or coursework. The unit scores will be given as UMS marks.

AS level is marked out of a maximum of 300 UMS marks (200 points for 2 Unit AS Levels).

A level is marked out of 600 UMS marks for 6 unit courses and 400 UMS for 4 unit courses.

Your grade for A level is actually worked out from your total AS + total A2 (A2 being the modules you sit in Year 13).

It is very difficult to explain what the UMS scores mean without first illustrating how AS and A level grades are generated.

Look at the table below for an AS level with 3 units:

Grade

%

UMS

A

80

240

B

70

210

C

60

180

D

50

150

E

40

120

U

 

   

To get an A grade in an AS level subject you needed to have got 80% of the marks available to you when all of the marks from all of the papers are added together (and coursework - if you have to do any).

There are 4 main exam boards - AQA, OCR, Edexcel and WJEB. In AQA biology for example, Unit 2 is marked as a raw score out of 85. It may be completely different for biology with a different exam board. That doesn't matter because the raw scores for every unit you sit for a subject are converted into UMS marks. This is true of any paper whether it is marked out of 60, 85 or 105. Someone who gets 80% of the marks right will get 240 UMS out of 300 (on a 3 unit AS level, regardless of the exam board) and will get an A grade.

The table below shows how A level grades are worked out for a 6 unit A level:

Grade

%

UMS

A

80

480

B

70

420

C

60

360

D

50

300

E

40

240

U

 

   

Notice that you still need to get 80% to get an A grade and that you need to get 480 UMS marks out of 600 (maximum).

The scores that you get at AS level are combined with the scores that you get in your A2 papers (that's one of the reasons why AS levels are so important).

So a student could get:

1

2

3

4

5

6

=

Grade

75

80

80

95

80

80

75+80+80+95+80+80=490

A

The numbers 1-6 represent units or examinations. Units 1-3 are the AS level units. Notice that the student scored 75+80+80= 235 UMS marks.

235 gave the student a grade B at AS level. This student clearly improved in Year 13 since units 4-6 represent the A2 modules. The grand total of 490 UMS at A level was worth an A grade.

It is worth noting that an A* grade is also available. A student needed to get an A grade at AS level then a UMS average of 90% or higher in their A2 units.

Oh and by the way, just because I illustrated this with a student who got a B grade at AS level and then an A grade at A level doesn't mean I'm suggesting that you take it easy in Year 12. It is clear here that 'points make prizes' but also if you are applying to university in Year 13 then admission tutors will only see a B grade so to them you are a B grade student. Working hard in Year 12 is important!

It is also worth noting that university and college tutors will see the UMS marks that you got for each unit as well as the final grade. For example, they will know if you did badly in one exam paper but made up for it in a piece of coursework. I have even known a university to insist that a student gets a certain number of UMS marks in an AS level retake before confirming their place at the university.