Thursday, May 24, 2012

What does "Grade Threshold" mean?

The minimum marks required to obtain a grade is known as grade threshold. For example, if at least 35 marks are required to obtain grade A then the grade threshold for A is 35.

Similarly, CIE publishes grade thresholds for B and E grades. The thresholds for C and D are obtained by dividing the mark interval (range) between the thresholds of B and E into three equal divisions. For example, if grade threshold for grade B and E are 30 and 18 respectively. Then the interval of 12 is divided into 3 divisions of 4 marks each. Now, the grade threshold for C and D are computed as 26 and 22 respectively. If dividing the interval by three results in a fraction of a mark, then the threshold is normally rounded down. This increases your chances of getting a better grade.

The threshold for A* grade is calculated using the difference between A and B as a starting point. However, A* grade does not exist for General Paper since it is an AS level subject.

The thresholds for the syllabus are determined first by adding together the thresholds for the components taken by the candidate. A reduction may be made at the higher grades depending on the correlation of the papers. If the maximum raw marks for the components are not in the weighting/relationship specified in the syllabus, a weighting is applied to arrive at the overall thresholds.

According to Cambridge International Examinations (CIE), grade thresholds are published for all GCE A/AS and IGCSE subjects where a corresponding mark scheme is available.

Sample Grade Threshold

To provide you a sample view of grade threshold provided by Cambridge, I have cropped the table from a Grade Threshold file (It is available in pdf format at

Grade Threshold of General Paper

Here's a link to a comprehensive grade threshold file, provided by Cambridge.

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