Universities | Pearson qualifications
Progress to university


Pearson Edexcel sets the standard for worldwide recognised qualifications aligned to the British educational system and accepted by universities worldwide.

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Progress to University

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Our qualifications are taken annually by over 100,000 students in over 80 countries. This section provides guidance and targeted support for further education and university admissions teams, credit evaluators and Ministries of Education, to ensure our students make the best progress into the study and employment destinations of their choice.

  • All Russell Group universities in the UK (including Oxford and Cambridge) accept Pearson Edexcel International A levels (IAL).
  • UK universities accept Pearson Edexcel IALs as equivalent to GCE A levels on a grade for grade basis for admission.
  • All Group of 8 universities (Go8) in Australia accept Pearson Edexcel IALs.
  • Pearson Edexcel IALs are recognised by US universities including: Yale, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth College, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and California Institute of Technology (Caltech).
  • Pearson Edexcel IALs are recognised by top Canadian universities including: University of Toronto, University of British Columbia and McGill University.
  • Pearson Edexcel IALs are recognised by universities across Asia including: University of Hong Kong, University of Tokyo, Chinese University of Science and Technology and the National University of Singapore.
  • The new GCSE and International GCSE 9-1 scale offers universities greater detail about student performance.

Pearson Edexcel International A levels (IAL), GCE A levels, International GCSE, and GCSE qualifications are part of our iProgress offer, which offers a consistent learning journey from 5-19 for students and educators around the world.

We have created new university facing guides to support your evaluation and admission of Pearson Edexcel students. These factsheets outline the key features of their qualifications and provide practical information about our grading, results statements and certificates.

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UK NARIC is the designated national agency for the recognition and comparison of international qualifications and skills. It performs this official function on behalf of the UK government. The following reports confirm the comparability of our international qualifications to the UK curriculum in terms of content, demand and university admission: 

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A number of GCE A level and AS level reforms were introduced by the UK Government in 2015. To support our international HE stakeholders, we’ve put together a simple grid to highlight the changes and explain how these align to our International A level suite of qualifications. 

  Edexcel GCE AS levels Edexcel GCE A levels Edexcel International AS level Edexcel International A levels (IALs)
Structure Modular structure until 2015.

From 2015, all exams taken at the end of a one year AS level programme and will have a linear structure.

Standalone qualification and  no longer contributes to GCE A level grades.

Modular structure until 2015.


From 2015, all exams taken at the end of a two-year A level programme and will have a linear structure.

Modular and flexible structure.

All units examined.

International AS contributes 50% to the IAL grade or is a stand-alone qualification.
Modular and flexible structure.

Equivalent in size, level and demand to GCE A level (see UK NARIC benchmarking report).
Assessment Mix of coursework and examinations until 2015.

100% examination only from 2015.

May/June examinations only.
Mix of coursework and examinations until 2015.

100% examination only from 2015.

May/June examinations only.
No coursework (100% examination).

October, January and June examinations.
No coursework (100% examination).

October, January and June examinations.
Grading A-E A*-E A-E A*-E
Regulator Regulated by Ofqual. Regulated by Ofqual. Regulated by Pearson. Regulated by Pearson. 

Pearson Edexcel examinations take place at various times of the year, depending on the type of qualification: 

Students receive our results in the form of a Candidate Statement of Provisional Results (CSPR). These results are provisional until the certificates are printed as a student may choose to ask for a review of the marking of their paper. Students also can opt to improve their final A level, GCSE and International GCSE grades by resitting all papers of the qualification (please note, some non-exam assessments can be transferred). Students studying for an IAL can resit individual units due to the flexible and modular nature of the qualification. If students have taken a resit examination, this will not be indicated on the CSPR.

Students are issued an overall subject mark and associated grade for their qualification on their CSPR. IAL and GCE A level results will be issued on separate CSPRs which will be labelled with results for the relevant qualification. 

Each IAL and GCE A level qualification has a unique code of 4 or 5 characters, which will be listed on the CSPR alongside the subject. You can always tell which qualification a student has taken, especially when they have taken a mix of IAL/A level or GCSE/International GCSE. If the qualification code starts with:

9 - it is a GCE A level

8 - it is a GCE AS level

Y - it is an International A level (IAL)

X - it is an International AS level (IAS)

W - it is an individual IAL unit/module

4 - it is an International GCSE

1/2/3/5 - it is a GCSE

International AS and GCE AS level grades are awarded on a 5-point scale of A to E. IAL and GCE A level grades will be awarded on a 5-point scale of A* to E. If students don't get enough marks to pass with an E, they will be awarded a U which means 'Unclassified’.

Want to know more? Visit our dedicated results pages for IAL and GCE A levels which include helpful FAQs. 

International A level results explained

GCE A level results explained

Grade Boundaries and distributions

We publish grade boundaries for each Pearson Edexcel qualification after the results are officially released to students. Results statistics summarise the overall grade outcomes of candidates sitting our examinations all over the world.

Universities may find it useful to review both sets of information for the appropriate examination period which will be listed on the student’s CSPR.

See Pearson Edexcel grade boundaries

See Pearson Edexcel grade statistics

9-1 grading

The UK government introduced a new GCSE grading scale in 2015 to raise standards and improve differentiation between learners. In 2017, the first GCSE learners in English and Mathematics received grades on a nine point  (9–1), rather than an eight point (A*–G), grading scale. To maintain alignment with the GCSE standard, Pearson Edexcel became the first awarding body to apply the new scale to all International GCSE subjects which will also be graded on the new 9-1 scale from August 2019 onwards.

We have put together detailed guidance to help you understand the new 9-1 grading and how it can be used to assess student performance:

9-1 grading scale explained

Results confirmation

Our students can now ask us to post or email their provisional results directly to you, following official release, so you can confirm their admission more quickly and be assured of the authenticity of their results.

The service is available for student requests until certificates are printed for the most recent examination period. For example, the August 2020 results-sending service closed on 30 September 2020 as final certificates were sent to students in October 2020. If you require a certified copy of student results after certificates have been issued, students can submit an online request so that a certified copy can be sent directly to you.

Access results-sending services for third parties, including universities

Over 500 individual universities have formally confirmed they accept Pearson Edexcel IALs on an equivalent basis to GCE A level for undergraduate admission. Admission to UK universities with IAL is the same as A levels and through the Universities and College Admissions Service (UCAS).

King's College London -  International A levels are accepted as equivalent to GCE A-levels on a grade-per-grade basis.

University of Sheffield - A level and International A level comparison.

A level and International A level comparison - University of Sheffield

International A-level  A*AA AAA ABB ABB BBB

IAL university recognition list

Do you already accept our IAL qualification?

Our schools and students use our IAL university recognition list (PDF, 0.3 MB) to know where they can apply for university. If you already accept our IAL and other qualifications for undergraduate admission, please download our recognition statement (PDF, 0.2 MB)  , complete and email it to progression@pearson.com. We will add your institution to the IAL recognition list, helping you become instantly more visible to our IAL students around the world.

Pearson works with some of the best minds in education – from teachers and technologists, to researchers and big thinkers – to bring their ideas and insights on big unanswered questions in education to a wider audience.

Read Pearson's exciting research in education


We work closely with universities around the world to increase understanding and acceptance of Pearson Edexcel qualifications for admission, and to boost your student recruitment. Please complete our sign up form to discover the various ways you can collaborate with us. 

More questions? Contact our Progression and Recognition Manager on progression@pearson.com

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