Results and certification Principal Learning results explained

Find out more about your Edexcel Principal Learning results, and read the answers to some frequently asked questions.  

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How is Principal Learning marked and graded?

Principal Learning is made up of units, which can be internally or externally assessed.

Internally assessed units are marked by your teacher and then moderated by us. Moderation involves your teacher sending a sample of work they have marked so we can check that they are marking consistently and at the same standard as other teachers.

Externally assessed units are usually exams, which are marked by our examiners.

Once your work has been marked, our examiners set the grade boundaries for each unit and you’re awarded a point score and a grade. When you complete the qualification, your school will tell us to ‘cash in’ your point scores, which means we’ll add them together to issue an overall grade.

The grading for Principal Learning is slightly different depending on the level you are studying:

  • Level 1 Principal Learning is graded A*-B
  • Level 2 Principal Learning is graded A*-C
  • Level 3 Principal Learning is graded A*-E

If you don’t get enough marks to pass with one of the grades listed above you will be awarded a U, which means ‘unclassified’.

In order to get an overall Principal Learning grade you need to have attempted and received a grade for each unit. You can still get an overall grade if you’ve received a U for a unit.

Frequently asked questions

The 'raw' mark is the actual mark you achieve on an exam or for your coursework.

Your point score is a conversion of your raw mark used to indicate how well you did in a unit.

In modular qualifications, units can be taken at different times throughout the course. Question papers and coursework tasks may vary slightly in difficulty from year to year. For example, a score of 53 raw marks in one paper for one exam session might represent the same level of achievement as a raw mark of 49 in the following exam session. By converting your raw mark to a points score, we ensure that these two raw marks receive the same value when contributing to the final grade. 

Your points score is calculated based on your grade and the size of the unit.

The size of each unit is determined by the number of hours of teaching required to deliver the course, known as Guided Learning Hours (GLH). You can find the number of Guided Learning Hours for your unit by looking at the table at the front of the course specification.

The example below shows that for Level 1 Business, Administration and Finance units 1, 2 and 4 consist of 60 GLH, whereas units 3 and 5 consist of 30 GLH.

Calculation of points scores

The tables below show how we convert your grade into a points score based on the level and size of your unit. 

Level 1

Grade Unit size in GLH
30 60
Max 4 8
A* 3 6-7
A 2 4-5
B 1 2-3
U 0 0-1

Level 2

Grade Unit size in GLH
30 60
Max 5 10
A* 4 8-9
A 3 6-7
B 2 4-5
C 1 2-3
U 0 0-1

Level 3

Grade Unit size in GLH
30 60 90
Max 7 14 28
A* 6 12-13 24-27
A 5 10-11 20-23
B 4 8-9 16-19
C 3 6-7 12-15
D 2 4-5 8-11
E 1 2-3 4-7
U 0-1 0-2 0-3

If you don’t take all of these units you can still cash in, as long as you were put forward for them all. For example, if you studied a unit but chose not to take the exam, you wouldn’t get a mark for that unit but could still get an overall grade. On your results slip this would show with the '#' sign, indicating that the grade for your cash-in is ‘incomplete’ (for example, ‘E#’).

Sometimes illness, injury or other personal circumstances can affect your performance during an assessment. In these cases, it may be possible to issue you with a calculated result or extra marks. This is referred to as ‘special consideration'.

If you think you may be entitled to special consideration, you should speak to the exams officer at your school or college. They’ll need to make a request on your behalf and send us any supporting documents to help us make a decision.

Special consideration isn’t shown on the statement of results you’re given by your school or college but is indicated on ResultsPlus Direct by a flag. If you don’t have access to ResultsPlus Direct, you’ll need to check with your exams officer whether special consideration has been applied.

Find out more about special consideration


We can correct errors such as misspelled names very quickly but you need to speak to the exams officer at your school or college to request any changes.

These requests must come from someone at your centre as we have no way of identifying students who call or email us. If we can’t identify you, we can’t make changes to confidential information.

When will you send my results to UCAS?

If you're completing a Level 3 Principal Learning qualification this summer and are a UCAS applicant, we'll send your results to UCAS the day before August results day. They collate your Pearson results with any other results you have from other awarding organisations and send these to the universities and colleges from which you've had offers.

There are a few reasons why UCAS may not have received your grades. See the table below for some common problems and their solutions. 



You're missing a grade

If your grade doesn't appear on your results slip, it may mean that your school or college hasn't asked us to add your module results together to produce an overall grade.

The exams officer at your school or college can resolve this by getting in touch with their Pearson Customer Service Account Specialist.

You have been entered for a late cash-in If your school or college got in touch to ask us to calculate your overall grade after we sent them your results you don't need to do anything - we'll send your results to UCAS within 24 hours of your grade being issued. UCAS will then update your application.

Your personal details don't match

Sometimes we're unable to update the UCAS results database because the details we have are different from the details on your UCAS application. Please check that the personal information is correct on your results slip and matches the information on your UCAS application. If it doesn't, ask your exams officer to update our records.

You've been issued a new grade after a review of marking If you've been issued a new grade, you don't need to do anything - we'll send your results to UCAS within 24 hours of your grade being issued and they will update your application.

Clearing is a UCAS service that matches students to courses that still have places available. It runs from mid-July until September and is a real option if you didn’t apply for university, or if you want to go but didn’t get the grades you needed.

For more information on whether you can apply through clearing, speak to your careers advisor or visit the UCAS website.

Lists of courses with places available are published on the UCAS website and in national newspapers after results day. Not all universities, colleges or courses have vacancies in clearing, but you don’t have to stick with the subjects you originally applied for – you may find something you are better suited to or that you are more interested in.

For more information on the clearing process, check out the UCAS website.

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