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 Post subject: UMS and all that
PostPosted: Wed Apr 17, 2013 9:45 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2010 2:45 pm
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I wonder if helpful teachers, or parents who have gone through this before can help.

DD did some AS modules in January. For one of her subjects she got a C, but was just 2 marks off a B. She wants to retake it as she would like to have a B (or even an A) for this module, as "every little helps". I have been trying to explain that the effort would be better put into the next module and that it's not the grade that matters, but the UMS marks, so if she got a high B or an A in the second module it could pull her AS grade up to a B. Is that correct? Will the universities know that she got a C for that module or will they just know her overall AS mark? Are the UMS marks the carried forward to the A2s and somehow combined? Can someone explain the system to me, or point me in the right direction? I'm trying to advise DD for the best, but I don't really know my facts!

Thanks in advance :D


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 Post subject: Re: UMS and all that
PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2013 12:28 pm 
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This is my own understanding as a Mum recently looking with DC what will be needed for her chosen course:

The UCAS form has spaces for either the individual module grades or the individual module scores, only one or the other can be entered. This is optional and can be left blank. In that case only the overall AS score will be entered.
However some courses at some Universities require individual module scores (Cambridge) or grades to be included, so if this is the case for your daughter, it may be worth trying to improve the high C module grade.

I think that UMS over all of the AS and A2 units are added together to give a final score, so at this point individual module grades don't matter, except for A*.
Overall UMS needs to be the equivalent of 80/100 for an A, 70/100 for B, 60/100 for C but the actual score/total varies according to how many modules there are for a particular subject. Maths has 6 modules so final A level scores will be out of 600 and 420/600 would be an overall B grade for example.

Finally, for an A*, the overall score across all modules when added together has to be an A i.e. 80 UMS equivalent and in addition the A2 modules have to add up to the equivalent of 90/100. So in theory it could be possible to get a B grade at AS but an A* overall if the A2 performance is very high.

It's not exactly the simplest system ever designed!


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 Post subject: Re: UMS and all that
PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2013 2:18 pm 
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yep - the final grade depends only on the total UMS over all modules over the two years so getting a couple more UMS to push the grade up to a low B over a high C wouldn't be a major advantage to the final grade
BUT

in any case is it still possible to enter for a re-sit for the summer exams?

it may depend which subject it is - in some it is possible to get a significantly higher mark when re-sitting without a huge amount of extra work simply because the student has 'moved on' over the last few months, or indeed they may just have had a bad day. Presumably if DD took the module early it was to reduce the pressure now but if they re-sit they will still only be taking the standard number of modules so it shoudl be do-able?

Is there a helpful member of staff you can discuss this with?
By the time DCs are in sixth form even I :) am wary of not letting them make the final decision (unless it is plain stupid) as they are the ones who will have to live with the outcome.


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 Post subject: Re: UMS and all that
PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2013 8:30 pm 
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I would advise DD to speak to her teacher.
I would also look carefully at the raw marks required for each grade / UMS if that's possible.
Sometimes, scoring as little as 6 or so more raw marks can push you up as much as 10 UMS marks. For some subjects however to push up 4 UMS marks you need to score an additional 10 raw marks. So, worth checking. :D There are very many variations of scoring bewteen subject and exam board. It's not so simple a decision. And to add, it changes from year to year of course - no crystal balls - but experienced teachers have a good idea of requirements.

That said, if your DD feels she can achieve better without jeopardising her second lot of AS exams then it is worth considering. There are plenty of tales about getting to A2 exams and the end result is a grade for university missed by 2 or 3 UMS marks!

A levels, to a point, is about accumulating as many UMS marks as you can. It ultimately is about the final grade. A2's are harder, marked more strictly etc. My own DD got good A level grades only because she went into the final A2 exams with good UMS marks attained in her AS exams. She had a buffer - and jolly well she did too! :D

I'm a parent - not a teacher, so offer an opinion based on my experiences as a parent, and do advise you or your DD speaking to her school. It does depend on subject / exam board / raw marks, what other exams she has, and is she likely to get more UMS marks?
Best wishes


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 Post subject: Re: UMS and all that
PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2013 8:43 pm 
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Raw marks can be calculated from the UMS - guides are on the exam board website.

For example for AQA:
http://www.aqa.org.uk/exams-administrat ... rks-to-ums

This converts 'the other way' but with a bit of guessing you can get the raw mark.

I would advise caution about too many resits as it's more important to get the 'new' exams done well.


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 Post subject: Re: UMS and all that
PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2013 8:46 pm 
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Thank you all. She has made the decision not to retake this module. They feel her efforts would be better spent getting as any marks as possible out of the next module & not "dilute" her revision time retaking something that she may not do much better in. She has a retake for another subject which is far more important. Of course, if she misses out on something by a couple of marks we will be kicking ourselves next summer, but I think it is the right decision for now - she is struggling a bit with all the pressure at the moment & I think this will help take some of that pressure off.

Just seen your post G55 - that is what the school have advised too. I have a copy of her paper so we know both the raw score & the UMS. Now we need to withdraw her from the retake. I don't know if we will get a refund at this stage, but that's not important really.


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 Post subject: Re: UMS and all that
PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2013 9:01 pm 
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Remember Unis can see the marks so if she misses by a few UMS she may well still get a place.

Quite a few Unis dropped offers by one grade last summer as they need to fill their places!

Sometimes taking an 'easy' AS module can be worth it alongside A2s but you will be able to judge that in September. Do remember that there are no January modules from now on though.


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 Post subject: Re: UMS and all that
PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2013 9:10 pm 
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Quote:
Quite a few Unis dropped offers by one grade last summer as they need to fill their places!


Fingers crossed for 2014 :D


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 Post subject: Re: UMS and all that
PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2013 9:28 pm 
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And it's worth bearing in mind that the grade your (our) DC gets is more than likely the one that is right for them - despite what we / they may otherwise think at times. :D
I only say because my niece resat a B graded module in Jan, for a medicine application, to push her A level (retake) up to the required A overall instead of the B she got overall - extenuating circumstances in Y12 and Y13. Anyway, she got a B - again and 4 rejections.
She's got an unconditional for a Bio Med / Science type course, and is (now) very happy and excited about her course and the pathways it opens up for her! :D
Also she is currently in Thailand / SE Asia / Australia (until August) and having a great time! :D
All ends up well usually, just maybe a bit different than originally planned. :D


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 Post subject: Re: UMS and all that
PostPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2013 9:22 am 
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Wise words, as ever, Belinda :)


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