General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) graded A* – G. Qualifications Wales approved


GCSEs were introduced to mark student achievement at the end of compulsory education at age 16.

They are also used as an indicator of the most appropriate post-16 progression route for a student.

GCSEs are sometimes used as an entry requirement for post-16 study.


The full range of GCSE grades A* – G spans Levels 1 and 2 of the Credit and Qualification Framework for Wales: Grades A* – C are Level 2; grades D – G are Level 1.

Single award and short-courses are graded A*, A, B, C, D, E, F, G.

Double award qualifications are graded A*A*, A*A, AA, AB, BB, BC, CC, CD, DD, DE, EE, EF, FF, FG, GG.

Attainment that is insufficient to lead to the award of a certificate is reported as unclassified – U.


Qualifications Wales approved GCSEs may use question papers which are targeted at either a single tier covering grades A* – G or two tiers of grades A* – D and C – G. This varies from subject to subject.

In GCSE Mathematics and GCSE Mathematics (numeracy), there are three tiers:

  • Higher A* – C
  • Intermediate B – E
  • Foundation D – G
Further information

Five grades at A* – C, generally including English language and mathematics, is regarded as an appropriate benchmark for Level 3 study.

The National Welsh Baccalaureate will be taken by all students in state schools aged 14 – 16 from September 2016. It will include a Skills Challenge Certificate which is equivalent to a GCSE.

The vast majority of applicants from Wales will present with GCSEs graded A* – G. However, there will be a small number who present with some GCSEs graded 9 – 1.

Universities and colleges with applicants across the UK that use GCSE grades in admissions will need to consider the differences between a 9 –1 (9-point scale) and A* – G (8-point scale) model.

Further information can be found at Qualifications Wales website:…