About O levels
The General Certificate of Education Ordinary Level (O level) was a qualification offered from 1951 until the introduction of the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) in 1986. You can find out more information about O levels below.
O level qualifications- What are they?
The O level qualification was developed to accompany the A level qualification, and allowed students to demonstrate their academic ability, as well as prepare themselves for an advanced level of learning.
O levels were exam based, and available in academic subjects.
The grading system for O level qualifications changed several times during the time that they were offered.
From 1951 until January 1975, O levels were pass/fail qualifications. This means that only passes were recorded on certificates, although unofficial grades may have been given.
You can see the unofficial grading systems that were used below:
Jun 1951 -
Jun 1959 -
Jun 1960 -
Jun 1963 -
Jun 1968 -
|Pass||47% or above||45% or above||1-6*||A-E and O grades*||A, C or E grades*|
|Fail||46% or below||44% or below||7-9*||F-H grades*||F or H grades*|
* Letter/number grades were not featured on certificates, and were therefore used as a guideline, rather than for certification purposes.
From June 1975 onwards until their withdrawal, O levels were graded on a 5-point scale of A-E, with A being the highest grade and E the lowest.
Please see below for the grading system for O levels from June 1975:
|From June 1975||Standard|
|The candidate has reached the standard of the former 'pass' at O level awarded before June 1975.|
|The candidate attained a lower level of the qualification, below that of the 'pass' standard.|
|E||The candidate achieved the minimum requirement to be certified for the qualification.|
|U||The candidate has not met the minimum requirement, and the subject will not be included on the O level certificate.|
O level exams were conducted by regional exam boards. These regional exam boards have since been merged, and O level records are now held by four exam boards: Pearson, AQA, OCR, and WJEC.
If you are needing to find out whether we hold the record of your O level qualifications, you can consult the table below to see which regions and regional exam boards that our records will cover.
|Regional Exam Board||Regions Covered|
|London and East Anglian Boards||
Counties: Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Middlesex, Norfolk and Suffolk.
London Boroughs: Berking, Barnet, Brent, Bromley, Croydon, Ealing, Enfield, Haringey, Harrow, Havering, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Kingston, Merton, Newham, Richmond, Sutton, Redbridge and Waltham Forest.
|London Regional/Metropolitan Boards|
|Middlesex Exam Boards|
Although our records may cover these regions, we cannot 100% guarantee that your school used these regional boards for your O level examinations, as there is always a possibility that they used another exam board.